News Tuesday, NOVEMBER 10th, 1998

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

These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

Foreign Minister: admits sensitive security leak

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has admitted leaking a report suggesting that a terrorist from an Islamic country has recently been to the Czech Republic in order to gather intelligence about Radio Free Europe's new broadcasts to Iran and Iraq.

Mr Kavan says his information does not come from any official source and denies that he has put anyone in jeopardy or violated the law. He says he is not prepared to step down.

But according to some sources, the information about the movement of a terrorist on Czech soil was of a classified character.

Czech skinhead assaults Jewish soldier

A 17-year-old skinhead has attacked and seriously injured a 22- year-old serviceman of Jewish origin.

Czech Television said the incident occurred in a Prague restaurant on Saturday after the soldier admitted his Jewishness. The skinhead stabbed him several times. The victim of the attack is in hospital and his condition is stable.

The attacker has been accused of attempting to commit a racially motivated murder and taken into custody. Because of his young age he faces a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Inflation surprisingly low

The inflation decreased in October. The Czech Statistical Office announced on Monday that net inflation dropped 0.3 percent last month and reached 3.4 percent year-on-year, far below the Czech National Bank's inflation target of around six percent for the end of the year.

The consumer price index dropped by 0.2 percent and the annual rate was 8.2 percent. Analysts view this unexpected development as very positive, and see further room for interest-rate cuts.

More than half of Czech for NATO accession

Support for joining NATO among Czech citizens has reached the highest level since 1991.

According to the latest survey carried out by the Institute for Public Opinion Research, 57 percent of Czechs are in favour of their country's accession to NATO.

The polling agency said that support for accession to the Alliance grows with the level of education of the respondents.

Investment opportunities in CR

Government officials have presented investment opportunities in the Czech Republic to foreign investors. At a seminar organized by Credit Lyonnais Securities in London, Czech deputy premier for economic policies, Pavel Mertlik, said the government was working hard to make Czech market more transparent.

Mertlik said a reform of the banking sector was one of the key elements in the government's plan to attract more foreign investment.

As far as the bank privatisation is concerned, Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda pointed out that the priority was not to sell the banks to the highest bidder but to find reliable investors that would bring the banks to the European level.

No broadcasts to Iran & Iraq - Skromach

Deputy chairman of the Social Democratic Party Zdenek Skromach has called on the government to re-consider its consent to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts to Iran and Iraq.

Skromach argues that Iran has started boycotting dozens of Czech industrial companies, which may result in higher unemployment.

However, according to the ministry of industry and trade, Iran is the Czech Republic's traditional trade partner but its share of Czech foreign trade is not bigger than one tenth of a percent.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty started to broadcast to Iran and Iraq at the beginning of November. Iran has reacted by recalling its ambassador to Prague for consultations and terminating business contacts with the Czech Republic.

Romanian formin visiting Czech Rep.

Romanian Foreign Minister Andrei Plesu is visiting the Czech Republic. Czech Lower House speaker, Vaclav Klaus assured Plesu that the Czech Republic supports his country's integration into Euro-Atlantic structures.

Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said after a meeting with his Romanian counterpart that the Czech Republic is not considering the introduction of entry visas for Romanian citizens as yet, although the European Union considers it necessary.

Kavan said the Czech Republic will have to fulfil this requirement but will postpone it until shortly before entering the Union.

Meanwhile, the two countries will be looking for ways to curb illegal migration and organized crime.

Czech weather report

And now, let's take a quick look at the weather.

We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 7 to 11 degrees Celsius.

On Wednesday, it should much the same as on Tuesday, cloudy with showers, with temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.

And finally, let's just quickly take a look at some of the events we expect to take place today:

Lower House speaker Vaclav Klaus is leaving for Vilnius, Lithuania, for a meeting of chairmen of parliaments of the EU associate countries.

The Czech Statistical Office is to release information about some key macroeconomic indicators for September.

Members of the Commission for Equities will inform president Havel about the results of the commission's work over the first six months of its existence.

Czech Railways is organizing a public auction of luggage and other items that passengers have left in trains. The auction is taking place on the Prague Main Station premises.

And that's the end of the news.