News Tuesday, JUNE 09th, 1998

Radio Prague E-News Date: June 9, 1998 Written/read by: Libor Kubik

These are the main stories from Prague at this hour, now the news in more detail, read by Libor Kubik.


Czech Air Force planes were temporarily grounded on Monday after two MiG-21s collided in mid-air, narrowly missing a multi-storey block of flats in the South Bohemian city of Ceske Budejovice.

Eleven persons were injured in the accident. It was not immediately clear why the jets fighters collided in a foggy weather.

According to eyewitness reports, one plane slammed into the biggest housing estate in Ceske Budejovice, hitting a parking area. The other MiG also crashed but caused no damage.

Eight residents suffered minor injuries as did the two plane's three crewmen, who bailed out into safety and had to be treated in hospital.

Several storeys of one housing building and several cars were damaged. Czech Television said fire brigades turned out in force and took several hours to extinguish burning wreckage and a fire in the residential bloc.

Czech politicians demanded an inquiry, but Premier Josef Tosovsky said he was relieved the accident had not turned out worse.


Over one half of 800,000 public sector workers associated in 10 trade unions, took part in a one-hour warning strike on Monday morning throughout the Czech Republic. This according to the unions' crisis management team spokesman Petr Simerka.

Our correspondents say the strike had strong impact especially on transport, since road workers blocked motorways and slowed down traffic on hundreds of minor roads and at several border checkpoints.

Also on strike were teachers, state administration workers, doctors and nurses from some hospitals, clinics and ambulances as well as some orchestra players.

The National Library and the Prague Zoo were also closed for one hour.

The public sector employees have been demanding a 20-percent wage rise and say they are ready to effect tougher protest action if their demand is not met.

Government spokesman Petr Studenovsky says the cabinet is not scheduled to discuss the strike when it meets on Wednesday.

Union leaders said the strike was especially successful in the education sector, with work stopping in 87 percent of schools.


The Czech Republic's registered unemployment rate last month fell 0.1 percent over April and currently stands at 5.3 percent.

A few days ahead of early elections scheduled to begin on June 19, the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs says labour offices currently register about a quarter of one million people seeking jobs.

But our correspondent says the year-on-year rise in the number of registered job seekers was over 80,000. The Czech Republic has a population of some 10 million.


In our election briefs today, private TV NOVA has decided to reschedule its planned interview with President Havel from June 18 to Tuesday June 16 in compliance with the recommendation of the Central Electoral Committee.

The election-supervisory body said earlier that Havel's appearance in electronic media one day before early elections could constitute a breach of a 48-hour ban on campaigning immediately before the polling day.

Both TV NOVA and President Havel's office have expressed disagreement with the recommendation.

Four minor extra-parliamentary Czech parties on Monday called on Czechs to cast their votes in favour of smaller political entities, hitherto unrepresented in the legislature.

The four -- the Democratic Union, the Czech National Social Party, Civic Coalition, and the Independents, declared readiness to form a coalition ahead of the next Senate and communal elections.


Finally, the weather: We have been having a very rainy day on Monday here in the Czech Republic. The forecast for the night and much of Tuesday also speaks of torrential rains. Maximum daytime temperatures between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.

An outlook for Wednesday -- and colder air will penetrate into Central Europe from the north, but daytime highs should still be in the high twenties.

And that's the end of the news.