News Tuesday, FEBRUARY 08th, 2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

Those were the main points, now for the news in more detail.

Zeman to brief Havel on cabinet reshuffle

Prime minister Milos Zeman is due to meet president Vaclav Havel on Tuesday to inform him of changes in ministerial posts. The ruling Social Democrats have agreed to a cabinet reshuffle in exchange for the senior opposition Civic Democratic Party's approval of the state budget for this year. Changes are expected at three to five ministerial posts, including the ministers of the interior, transport and local development.

Unions criticise government

Czech trade unions say they are dissatisfied with the government's industrial policy and insufficient measures against corruption. However, the trade unions praised the government's macroeconomic pro-growth measures. At their meeting with government ministers late on Monday, representatives of the Czech Confederation of Trade Unions criticised the government's programme for revitalisation of collapsing enterprises as ineffective. The unions complained about growing unemployment and employers not paying wages to their employees -- a phenomenon which has become widespread recently. They also criticised the government's anti- corruption campaign which, in their opinion, had produced no visible results.

Unemployment record high

Unemployment in the Czech Republic has risen again to record levels. The registered unemployment rate at the end of January reached 9.8 percent, compared to 9.4 percent in December. The number of people out of work now stands at more than half a million.

Havel congratulates new Finnish president on election

Czech president Vaclav Havel has congratulated Tarja Halonen on her election as the new president of Finland. Havel expressed his hope that the traditionally good relations between the two countries would continue. Social Democrat Tarja Halonen, a former foreign minsiter, is the first female president in her country's history, and will represent Finland for the next six years.

Chief rabbi requests more details on Jewish cemetery in Prague

The Chief Rabbi of Israel has postponed a decision on the fate of an ancient Jewish burial site discovered during construction work in Prague, and has asked the Czech Jewish community to provide him with further documentation. The Chief Rabbi is to decide on whether the graves, situated on land belonging to the Ceska pojistovna insurance company, should be relocated or left as they are. The company wants to build an underground car park on the site. This is the oldest Jewish cemetery in the Czech Republic, dating back to the 13th century. However, it was closed in the 15th century and has been damaged many times since then by construction work.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 7 to 11 degrees Celsius. The next two days should be much the same, cloudy with showers, with highest daytime temperatures around 5 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.