News Thursday, OCTOBER 01th, 1998

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Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm DL and we begin with a look at the main newsstories this hour

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail:

Cabinet - budget

The Social Democrat Cabinet is standing firmly behind its budget proposal for 1999, despite heated criticism from opposition benches. According to Czech law, the budget proposal will be implemented on a temporary basis even if it fails to gain approval at this point in time. A proposal from opposition deputy and former finance minister Ivan Pilip to amend the law to the effect that the Cabinet would have to respect the preceding year's budget /should the 1999 budget proposal not gain approval/ has been cold-shouldered by the prime minister. Zeman told newsmen Wednesday that "anyone with a degree in economy would recognize that the country could not hope to meet its NATO and EU commitments on those expenses."

Havel - energy

Attending a working Cabinet session on Wednesday President Havel refused to comment on a proposal for the construction of a nuclear power plant in the Ostrava region in the year 2010. The Czech head of state expressed amazement that anyone could objectively assess such a proposal in the absence of a long-term state energy policy. Havel said he had waited for nine long years for such a policy to be shown to him and that he was still waiting. Prime minister Zeman promised his Cabinet would produce a long term energy policy by March of 1999.

Farmers say no to subsidized imports

Farmers in North Bohemia have joined calls for the government to stop imports of heavily subsidized produce to the Czech Republic. On Monday the Czech Chamber of Agriculture said action was long overdue and threatened farmers would block border crossings to the Czech Republic and destroy the produce themselves if they had to. Farmers in Northern Bohemia are now threatening to block the E-55 highway if their demands are not met. This concerns in particular wheat and sugar imported at artificially low prices from Poland, Slovakia and Hungary and heavily subsidized fruit and vegetables from West European states.

Rail accident

Railworkers have worked around-the-clock to clear up the debris following Wednesday's de-railing of a freight train which blocked the main rail track from Prague to Ostrava. It is still not clear what caused the accident, in which 27 carriages were derailed, spilling their loads of cement, wood and coal. Nobody was injured in the accident, the damage caused has been estimated at around 12 million crowns.

Bomb threats made by 13 year old Police have discovered the source of 4 recent bomb threats made to Telecom headquarters. According to a police spokesperson a thirteen year old boy made the calls for fun, muffling his voice in order to sound older. With respect to the offender's age no charges have been filed but it is not clear whether the boy's parents will not be fined for the sustained financial losses.

The price of allergy suppressants to go up

People suffering from allergies will have to fork out more for their medicine starting October 1st. According to a new classification of medicaments issued by the health ministry, health insurance companies will contribute less to the cost of allergy suppressants. If this concerns you , expect to pay from 40 to 150 crowns more on your next visit to the chemists.

And finally a look at the weather: Thursday will be partly cloudy to overcast with occasional rainshowers and day temps between 13 and 17 degs C.