News Tuesday, AUGUST 31st, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme. I`m Pauline Newman, first we start with a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to radio Prague. Those were the headlines, now lets take a look at the news in more detail.

Zeman - Srp - Lansky

Czech Premier Milos Zeman for the first time on Monday, expressed his disapproval over the scandal surrounding his partys candidate to the Senate Karel Srp. Mr Zeman said he is very bothered about the fact that Srp, who has been accused of collaboration with the secret police in the eighties, kept his positive screening certificate secret. The certificate if it had proved negative would have cleared Srps name.

During an interview for a private radio station, Milos Zeman, admitted that Karel Srp is one of his eleven advisors. During the interview, the Premier also spoke about the affair dogging his deputy, Egon Lansky. He stands accused of having broken the foreign accounts law, by opening an account in Austria, without the permisssion of the Czech National Bank. Mr Zeman, told the radio, that the law counts for everyone and that no-one is exempt on the grounds that they may be a politician.

Fischer - Klaus - reactions

Newly elected Senator Vaclav Fischer does not yet want to reveal how much compensation he will be demanding from Vaclav Klaus for last weeks mudslinging during the by-election campaign to the Czech Senate. Klaus who is the leader of the Civic Democratic Party, or the ODS, is facing charges that he launched slanderous adverts against Fischer, in an attempt to secure the seat for his candidate. A spokesman for Mr Fischer said on Monday that he would be demanding satisfaction equal to his position in the international world of business and for loss of reputation. Wall street has voted vaclav Fischer one of the tenth most successful businessmen in the world. A spokesman for the Civic Democratic Party has since told journalists that Vaclav Klaus will make a statement when he returns from a trip to Canada. Reactions to the campaign have varied.

Deputy Chairwoman of the Civic Democratic Party, Libuse Benesova, told journalists on Monday, that the by election campaign to the senate maintained all standards of decency and was not in any way, confrontational. Former Prague Mayor Jan Koukal, on the other hand, slammed the ODS election campaign as having been "agressive and inadequate".

Deputy Chairman of the Civic Democratic Party itself, Miroslav Macek told journalists on Monday, that the party has suffered as a result of what he called a "negative campaign". He believes that the ODS should sit down and examine the resons for failure. Zdenek Skromach, deputy chairman of the Social Democrats told reporters that Fischers pressing charges against Vaclav Klaus is merely a political gesture. Leaders of the Communist party have refrained from commenting, but have mentioned, that Vaclav Klaus and his party behaved badly and incorrectly in the run up to the by-election.

Mertlik - Budget - CNB

Finance Minister Pavel Mertlik said on Monday that the structure for the state budget would change after the year 2001. He said that these changes would be necessary regarding the forthcoming alterations to the Czech regional administration system. He was unable to say, though, how much of an effect these changes would have on national expenditure. This comes after a spokesman for the Czech National Bank, said on Monday that although the bank is willing to tolerate larger deficits for a certain amount of time, the government must give a clear signal that it will change the structure of the budget after next year.

Moscow - Prague - Visa

Moscow has so far not released any official statement on the Czech governments new proposal to impose visas on visiting Russians. According to the Czech Press Agency, CTK, an official reply is unlikely in the near future. However, an anonymous source has indicated that Russia may well reply, by also introducing a visa requirement for Czechs. According to the source, Moscow does not want this to have a cooling effect on Czech - Russian dialogue and understands that visas have been introduced with a view to the Czech Republics entry to the European Union.

Grulich - Kosovars - Asylum

Czech Interior Minister Vaclav Grulich announced on Monday, that people who fled from Kosovo and do not want to return to their homes, must apply for refugee status in the Czech Republic. He said that their applications would be processed in the same way as those of other people seeking asylum in the Czech Republic. He was speaking with reference to some 100 refugees who say that they have decided to stay after finding jobs and settling down in this country. According to Mr Grulich, the Kosovars change their minds almost every day as to whether or not they should stay or return home. He said that most refugees want to return, in order to start rebuilding their homes, before winter sets in.

Poll - Education - Excellent

An opinion poll carried out in June, shows that most people rate the Czech school system very highly. 63 percent of those asked, thought Czech secondary schools had very high standards and 49 percent believe that higher education in this country is easily on a level with western countries. The poll showed that people who vote for right wing parties, believe that children from rich and poor families have equal opportunities as far as education is concerned, while unemployed, blue collar workers or supporters of the communist party, told researchers, that education all depends upon how wealthy the family is.

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

Tuesday will see a ridge of high pressure moving over the Czech Republic, which means that the weather, will take a turn for the warmer. Although there will be some cloudiness, temperatures will range from 20 to 24 degrees Celsius. The night will be cooler however, with the possibility of rain and temperatures dropping to as low as 12 degrees Celsius.

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