News Thursday, NOVEMBER 12th, 1998

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Headlines:

Those were the main points, now the news in full.

Government - leakage

At its session on Wednesday, the Czech cabinet discussed a proposal that would prevent the leakage of classified information. It was submitted by Minister without portfolio Jaroslav Basta, and came in reaction to an August leakage of two secret cabinet agreements that dealt with the government screening directors of several strategically important enterprises. Mr. Basta's deputy, Tatana Holeckova, explained that his proposal envisages how to handle information marked as secret and confidential, and how to file it. On Tuesday, Foreign minister Jan Kavan admitted that he was the party who leaked information about an Islamic terrorist's presence in the Czech Republic, and his alleged interest in Radio Free Europe's broadcasts to Iran and Iraq from Czech territory. Some opposition deputies have called on Mr. Kavan to resign.

Kavan declined to reveal where his information came from, but after the cabinet meeting premier Milos Zeman told journalists this topic was not discussed by the government and defended Kavan by saying he had not harmed anybody - neither an individual nor an institution. There are speculations that Minister Kavan obtained the information about an Islamic terrorist from a foreign source.

Chopper - crash

There was another casualty at the site of a military helicopter's crash, on Tuesday, at Slatinice near the town of Olomouc. The crash left four soldiers dead, and on Wednesday the remains of the chopper exploded. A member of the rescue team was severely burnt on his face and the upper part of his body. He was immediatelly flown to the Olomouc hospital's plastic surgery clinic. The accident prompted the Czech army command to prepare changes in the concept of aviation traffic and training, with the aim of reducing the number of accidents, many of which occurred over the past few months. The Air Force Chief of Staff, Ladislav Klima, who promptly arrived at the site of Tuesday's crash, has forbidden the flights of all military planes for an indefinite period.

Estonia - parliament

A delegation from the Estonian parliament arrives in Prague on Thursday, to discuss with their Czech counterparts both countries' integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. The Estonian deputies will be received by representatives from both chambers of the Czech parliament and the Foreign ministry. Like the Czech Republic, Estonia is among the six hottest contenders for EU membership.

Elections

A pre-election campaign for senatorial and local elections ended on Wednesday. Czech citizens will vote for members of the upper house of parliament and local administration bodies this weekend in a poll seen as a test of support for a controversial agreement between the ruling Social democrats and their main rivals - the Civic democratic party. Analysts say, however, that the voting will have little impact on national politics or on financial markets. The polling stations will open on Friday afternoon.

Ruml - blackmail

A 17-year old boy has allegedly attempted to blackmail Chairman of the Freedom Union Jan Ruml, threatening to liquidate his entire family. According to the police investigating the case, the youngster wanted 1 million crowns. Mr.Ruml reported the boy's demands to the police and asked Interior Minister Vaclav Grulich for protection. According to unofficial reports, the young man was arrested at the moment he appeared to collect the money.

Slovakia - Czech Republic

Slovak deputy premier Pavol Hamzik and his Czech counterpart Egon Lansky met on Wednesday in the Moravian town of Zlin. The main topic they discussed was mutual support in the process of entering Euro-Atlantic structures. Mr.Hamzik told the CTK news agency that his country's priority was to become one of the primary contenders for EU memberhip, together with the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

Weather

Now a look at today's weather: it will be mostly overcast with occasional showers and morning mists. Daytime highs will range between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius.