News Tuesday, DECEMBER 29th, 1998

Those were the headlines, now the news in full, read by AS:

Highest state attorney - recalled

Justice minister Otakar Motejl intends to recall the Highest State Attorney, Vit Vesely, from his post. The minister said he was dissatisfied with Vesely's work, and with the functioning of his office. Vit Vesely told the CTK news agency he had no comment about the minister's decision because he had not been officially informed of the reasons for this move. Former Minister of Justice Vlasta Parkanova, on the other hand, highly praised Mr. Vesely's work, saying that she respected him both for his working and personal qualities. She admitted, however, that minister Motejl has every legal right to recall the highest state attorney, and is held responsible for this move. The cabinet will deal with minister Motejl's proposal at its first session next year.

Screening law

The Social democrat government can probably count on support from the Communist party of Bohemia and Moravia for its stand towards the possible abolishment of the law on screening. Communist deputy Vojtech Filip told today's Pravo that his party believes the abolishment of the screening law should go hand in hand with the approval of an amendment to the law on classified information. The screening law stipulates that individuals who in the communist era collaborated with the secret police cannot hold posts in state administration. The Deputy Premier responsible for legislative matters, Pavel Rychetsky, told the paper that the screening law has been the target of criticism from the Council of Europe, the European Union and the International Organization of Labour and that the law on classified information will fully replace it.

Czechs - NATO

Every second Czech citizen agrees with his country's admission to NATO, which means, however, that their number is lower than it was in October. The Public opinion research institute has also revealed that while 52 percent of those polled displayed support for the Czech Republic's NATO membership, 30 percent replied that they were not at all interested in this problem. NATO membership was mostly supported by men - 56 percent, and university graduates - 74 percent. The lower the education, the less respondents favoured their country joining NATO. Voters for right wing parties also showed greater support for membership in the Alliance.

Higher telephone charges - protest

As part of their protest against a planned increase in telephone charges, a civic association which calls itself Citizens against higher telephone rates intends to turn to the Constitutional court in Brno. The whole problem arose when SPT Telecom announced a month ago that starting on January 1st, 1999, it would raise its prices. Local calls are to increase from 2,40 to 2,60 crowns per impulse--and the time between impulses is to be shortened by a minute, from three to two. Although the state owns 51 percent of SPT Telecom, it can do little to stop a price increase. It will, however, review its contract with this telephone monopoly.

Flue epidemic

People in the Czech Republic have been facing an epidemic of colds, tonsillitis and flu. In emergency health centres that were open during the Christmas holidays, some 80 people on average were treated each day, including small children. In Western Bohemia, however, the number of people down with the flu has dropped, which epidemiologists ascribe to school holidays. The head of the Regional hygienic station in Plzen said that now there are 940 ill people per 100 thousand citizens, but before it can be termed an epidemic, there must be some 1500 people ill.

Citizenship - strike

A 55 year old Czech-American, Jirina Fuchsova, has been on a hunger strike outside the Governmental office building in Prague. Her aim is to win back her Czech citizenship. Mrs. Fuchsova has been fighting for dual citizenship for Czech people living abroad for many years now. After a discussion with deputy premier Egon Lansky, who advised her to wait one more year, Mrs. Fuchsova rejected this offer, pointing out that she has already been waiting more than five years to get back her Czech citizenship.

Havel - Europe

Czech president Vaclav Havel is one of the ten most influential personalities in Europe, according to an opinion poll carried out in all 15 European union states by the British daily The Independent. The most important politician in Europe is - according to the results of the poll - British Prime minister Tony Blair. Havel finished ninth.

W Weather

And finally a look at the weather: it will be partly cloudy with morning mists and daytime highs will range between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.