News Tuesday, AUGUST 25th, 1998

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Radio Prague E news Date: August 25th,1998 Written/read by: Alena Skodova

Hello and welcome to the programme. We start with the headlines:

Those were the main points and now the news in more detail:

CONTROVERSIAL PRIVATIZATION PROJECTS

Controversial privatization projects and how the state property is dealt with - these are the main topics discussed on Tuesday in Prague by deputy premier in charge of economic matters, Pavel Rychetsky, and president of the Supreme Control Office Lubomir Volenik. Last Friday, the government decided to have all the controversial projects investigated, but Rychetsky is well aware of the fact, that the Control Office does not have full competence to do all the necessary work. According to Volenik, this should be done by respective ministries. The Social democrat cabinet intends to overhaul all suspicious privatization projects following its promise to combat illegal practices and bring into light possible corruption affairs in this field.

AGRARIAN TRADE

Agriculture ministers from the Central European Free Trade Agreement are meeting in Prague to tackle problems related to agrarian trade. Tariff obstacles still exist, according to Czech Agriculture minister Jan Fencl, although according to an agreement reached when CEFTA agricultural ministers met in Warsaw back in 1995, these barriers should have been removed by December 1997. Agriculture ministers from the Czech republic, Slovakia, Poland, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania are attending the meeting in Prague, and there are also guest delegations from Estonia and Bulgaria. The participants will discuss building up a common information database, and evaluate mutual agrarian trade over the past two years. On Tuesday, they will visit the horse breeding farm in Kladruby and discuss bilateral relations between individual countries.

CZECH SOLDIERS

A TU-154 plane has departed for Bosnia from the airport in Plana near the South Bohemian city of Ceske Budejovice, carrying 503 Czech soldiers from the Czech army 7th mechanized batallion. They will replace colleagues who had served in the international SFOR mission in this troubled area. The replacement mission started on August 17th, and will be completed on Tuesday. The Czech soldiers will work under lieutenant- colonel Jaroslav Prazan, in an area where Czech, Canadian and British soldiers serve together.

KAVAN / AMBASSADORS

Czech Foreign minister Jan Kavan has met in Prague with the majority of Czech ambassadors. Within the framework of the Czech diplomatic corps regular summer meeting, Mr. Kavan informed the ambassadors about his concept of Czech foreign policy. Also on the agenda of the five-day meeting: international trade problems, the presentation of the Czech republic abroad and re-organization in the foreign service. Minister Kavan told the ambassadors that our country would do its utmost to become an EU members between 2003 and 2005. The Czech Republic has 86 embassies, 18 general consulates and 7 permanent missions worldwide.

HAVEL / HEALTH

A consilium of doctors will decide on Thursday when they will remove President Havel's tracheotomy - a tube inserted into his windpipe to facilitate his breathing following post-operational lung problems. One of the president's physicians, Bohumil Limberk, told this to the CTK news agency on Monday. Recovering from intestinal surgery, president Havel currently spends his time walking around his room, working, studying and reading. According to Dr. Limberk, his state of health is satisfactory. However, the president has not yet been allowed to take a walk outside the hospital, first because the weather was hot, and now because it's relatively cold. Limberk also reported that although the president is receiving the same therapy, the amount of medicaments has been gradually reduced.

WEATHER

Rain is expected on Tuesday in the Czech Republic, and daytime highs between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.