News Tuesday, NOVEMBER 16th, 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.

Chechen Foreign Minister appeals for humanitarian aid

The Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov has appealed to the Czech Republic to support international humanitarian aid efforts for the breakaway republic. Mr Akmadov made the appeal to a senior Foreign Ministry official during a meeting in Prague on Monday. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the ministry had not distanced itself from the visit, adding that Mr Akhmadov had been received as a legitimate representative of the Chechen administration. The spokesman stressed, however, that the Foreign Ministry fully respected the integrity of the Russian Federation. Moscow has expressed concern over the visit, while some have criticised the Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan for refusing to meet Mr Akhmadov.

Kavan tipped as successor to Lansky

Meanwhile Mr Kavan is being tipped as a replacement for the outgoing deputy Prime Minister Egon Lansky. Members of the ruling Social Democrat leadership told the Czech News Agency on Monday that Mr Kavan was the most suitable successor for the post of deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Prime Minister Milos Zeman announced on Saturday that Mr Lansky, who is currently convalescing at a spa, would step down once he returns to office. Mr Lansky will probably resign for health reasons, but observers say his departure is due to criticism from the European Union over Czech preparations for membership.

Lux improves slightly after week in intensive care

The condition of former Christian Democrat chairman Josef Lux has now improved slightly after a week spent in intensive care. Mr Lux was diagnosed last year with leukaemia, and recently underwent a bone marrow transplant in America. He was said to be recovering well from the operation before suddenly contracting pneumonia.

David to produce report to clear his name

The embattled Health Minister Ivan David is to produce a report which he says will disprove allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the ministry. Mr David was speaking to Czech Radio after talks with the Prime Minister Milos Zeman. The Health Minister has faced a storm of criticism in recent weeks, but has so far resisted calls for him to resign. Relations between Mr David and the media have deteriorated sharply, with the Czech News Agency, the country´s primary news source, claiming on Monday that the Health Minister had severed all communication with the agency. Prime Minister Zeman announced recently that the Chamber of Deputies will be asked to decide whether Mr David will stay on in the post.

Freedom Union defector joins Czech National Social Party

The former Freedom Union deputy Marie Machata has joined the right-wing Czech National Social Party, giving the party its first parliamentary seat since the 1930s. Mrs Machata left the Freedom Union in late October claiming the party had abandoned its principles and was failing to address real problems. There has been speculation that other right-wing MPs may defect to join the National Social Party, one of the oldest political parties in the country.

Man files charges over Stalin birthday party

A man in South Moravia has filed criminal charges against the hard-line Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, over a poster advertising a meeting to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the birth of Josef Stalin. Police say they have not decided yet whether to investigate the charges, as it remains unclear whether the meeting actually took place.

Former Ceaucescu bodyguard visits Zlin A former bodyguard of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu arrived in the South Moravian town of Zlin on Monday, to examine preparations for an international bodyguard tournament which will be held in the town next year. Florentin Manescu, who is president of the International Bodyguard Association, was shown around a sports arena and a firing range which will host the competition next year. Mr Manescu, who served as Ceaucescu´s personal bodyguard for six years, said the Czech Republic was an ideal location for a bodyguard training academy.

Police investigate fatal shooting at night club

Police in the West Bohemian town of Zatec are investigating an incident at a night club on Friday, in which one man was shot dead and another seriously injured. According to a police spokesman, an employee fired a pistol at three men who were trying to force their way into the club. The spokesman said the employee had been charged with grievous bodily harm.

Social Democrat M.P. fined for drunkenness in Chamber

And finally the Social Democrat M.P. Roman Turek, who was found to be drunk in the Chamber of Deputies last week, has been fined a month´s salary. Mr Turek has apologised and says the incident will not happen again. The chairman of the Social Democrats´ deputies group, Stanislav Gross, told reporters that Mr Turek had been celebrating his birthday. However, according to the Chamber of Deputies website, Mr Turek does not celebrate his birthday for several weeks.


And we´ll end as usual with a quick look at Tuesday´s weather. And it will be another mostly clear day, with temperatures reaching a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius in the daytime, falling to minus 2 at night.

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