News Tuesday, NOVEMBER 09th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first the news headlines.

Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.

Zeman dismisses advert warning against doing business in CR

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has dismissed a full-page advertisement in two leading U.S. newspapers warning potential investors to think twice before doing business in the Czech Republic. The advertisement appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post on Monday, the day Mr Zeman arrived in the U.S. for an official visit. The advertisement was placed in the newspapers by the American firm CME, which is involved in a dispute over ownership of the Czech Republic´s largest commercial television station, TV Nova. The company claims Czech officials had violated a bilateral treaty on the protection of investments. Mr Zeman said after meeting President Bill Clinton on Monday that the American government had distanced itself from the advertisement.

Roma parents to take discrimination claims to European Court

The families of several Roma children in the North Moravian city of Ostrava are to turn to the European Court of Human Rights, after the Constitutional Court dismissed allegations of discrimination in the Czech education system. The families say their children were automatically placed in special schools for the mentally-retarded simply because they were Roma. Critics say Roma children are at an immediate disadvantage when they enter the school system, because for many Czech is not their mother tongue. An estimated 80 percent of special school pupils are Roma.

Russian mafia behind heating oil tax fraud - TV

Czech Television has claimed that the Russian mafia was behind one of the biggest cases of tax fraud in Central Europe. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia are believed to have lost billions of crowns in tax revenues from the fraudulent import of heating oil from Russia. Czech Television claims that a leading member of the Hungarian underworld identified the Russian mafia boss Semjon Mogilevic as being behind the fraud. Mr Mogilevic was once the owner of a Prague restaurant widely believed to be the local headquarters of the Russian mafia.

Stirin Affair - Hruby dismisses critical report

A former civil servant who claims an advisor to Prime Minister Milos Zeman tried to blackmail him into fabricating false evidence has dismissed a Foreign Ministry report accusing him of mismanagement. Vaclav Hruby, former director of the Stirin conference centre, says the report was used as a pretext to remove him from his post after he refused to fabricate evidence against the former Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec. Mr Zieleniec has been accused by Mr Zeman and the present Foreign Minister Jan Kavan of bribing journalists, but the two men have failed to produce any evidence to back up their claims.

Zeman downplays dispute between old left and "Third Way"

Prime Minister Zeman has downplayed the dispute between traditional socialist thinking and the ideology of the "Third Way", espoused by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his German counterpart Gerhard Schroeder. Speaking at the 21st Socialist International in Paris on Sunday, Mr Zeman said that the dispute was proof of healthy political pluralism on the left. The Social Democrat leader expressed optimism that the Congress would be able to agree on a resolution containing the best of both traditional left-wing and Third Way thinking.

German police arrest 90 suspected illegal immigrants on Czech border

German police apprehended more than 90 suspected illegal immigrants at the weekend after they crossed the Czech border into Saxony. The group is said to include citizens of Romania, Turkey and Afghanistan. According to EU law they will be returned to the Czech Republic.

Civil servant shoots himself during police questioning

A senior civil servant in the North Moravian city of Olomouc committed suicide on Monday morning during police questioning. The senior employee of Olomouc District Authority was being questioned by fraud squad officers when he produced a pistol and shot himself in the head. The man was reportedly the director of the Trade License Department.


And we´ll end as usual with a quick look at Wednesday´s weather. And it will be another overcast day with outbreaks of rain in places. Temperatures will reach a maximum of 8 degrees Celsius in the daytime, falling to a low of one degree at night.

I'm Rob Cameron and that's the end of the news.