News Tuesday, APRIL 28th, 1998

Radio Prague E News Written / Read by: Pauline Newman Date: 28.4.89

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm Pauline Newman, first let's start with a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to radio Prague, those were the headlines, now let's take a look at the news in full...

Tosovsky / Brussels

Czech Premier Josef Tosovsky is set to spend the day in Brussels, meeting representatives of the European Union and NATO. His first stop will be the European Commission, where he will hold talks with Chairman Jacques Santer. EU membership, trade issues, and Czech approaches to integration into the Union, will be the main points on the agenda.

Mr Tosovsky will also meet NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana. The two men will discuss the recent ratification of the Czech Republic's entry to the alliance and the forthcoming vote on the issue in the Czech Senate. Mr Solana is also expected to ask whether or not Prague intends to continue militarily supporting SFOR - II when a new operation gets underway this July.

The US Senate on Monday re-opened its debate on bringing three former Warsaw pact countries into NATO. Senate leaders predicted a clear win later this week, for admitting Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. US Defense Secretary William Cohen said that rejection of the three new members would send a damaging message to Europe.

Havel / Return

Czech President Vaclav Havel recovering in an Austrian hospital from emergency surgery on his intestine, should be fit to return to Prague in about a week.

The 61 year old president who has suffered from breathing difficulties and an abscess in his abdomen is awake and moving around.

Chief surgeon at the Innsbruck University hospital Eric Bodner told Reuters news agency that Mr Havel is sitting out of his bed, eating and talking. Asked when Havel could return home, he replied "In about a week, if there are no other problems". Bodner said the move back to Prague depended on when Havel and his aides felt was best. he said: "It's not a medical problem, it's a problem with social aspects. We must respect the President's wishes".

Sedivy / Britain

The newly named Chief of Staff for the Czech Republic, Jiri Sedivy is set to visit Great Britain on Tuesday, together with the commander of the Czech air force Ladislav Klima and other officers.

A defence Ministry spokesman told journalists that representatives of the Polish and Hungarian armies will be in Britain at the same time. He added that this will be a big meeting with representatives of the British armed forces.

Sedivy and his east European counterparts, will meet executives from British Aerospace, which is currently developing the Gripen, a plane the Czech army is thinking of buying. Other planes in mind are the American F-16,or F-18 and the French Mirage 2000. The visit is set to end on Thursday.

Macek / Zeman

Deputy Chairman of the ODS party, Miroslav Macek has decided to take the leader of the Social Democrats to court for slander. This comes after Zeman's remarks on Sunday that Mr Macek privatised his coupon scheme in 1992, thanks to the intervention of various politicians. "I am determined to take Mr Zeman to court" said Mr Macek on Monday afternoon, adding that he intends to "expose the Social Democrat leader for the liar he is".

The deputy leader of the ODS told journalists that Mr Zeman has overstepped the mark and that he will expect a public apology, rather than financial compensation.

On Sunday, Milos Zeman also accused the previous government led by Vaclav Klaus of not having kept its election promises and accused current Finance Minister Ivan Pilip of not investigating suspect cases of privatisation.

Train / Investigation

Czech investigators are looking into the runaway train which cruised 40 kilometres down the rail lines on Friday. A driverless train with only a woman aboard rolled some 25 miles through the Czech countryside, before rail staff finally managed to derail it. The passenger was unhurt.

The five carriage train began its runaway journey at the city of Brno, after the driver got out to go to the station building, having left the engine running and an automatic acceleration device accidentally engaged. Railway workers tried other ways to stop the train, which maintained a steady 40 kilometres per hour, but derailment proved necessary in the end.

And we end as usual with a brief look at the weather:

Tuesday will see a hazy start to the day, with clouds in western areas of the country. Temperatures during the day will range from 18 to 22 degrees celsius with a fair amount of sunshine in the afternoon.

I'm Pauline Newman and that's the end of the news.