News Tuesday, NOVEMBER 30th, 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.

Lansky resigns

The deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Egon Lansky has tendered his resignation, ending weeks of speculation over his departure. The Prime Minister Milos Zeman delivered Mr Lansky's resignation to President Vaclav Havel on Monday afternoon. The official reason for his departure was ill health, but Mr Lansky has been severely criticised for his handing of Czech preparations for EU membership, and could face prosecution for tax evasion in connection with an undeclared bank account in Austria.

Last Kosovo Albanian refugees due to return home

The last of some one thousand Kosovo Albanian refugees who were given temporary asylum in the Czech Republic are due to return home on Tuesday. The last eighteen refugees are due to arrive in Pristina later today. The Kosovo Albanians refugees, who were housed in temporary accommodation across the country, have been gradually repatriated over the last three months. The refugees were each given 1,000 German marks and several months' worth of medical supplies by the Czech government

Official resigns after signing petition

A senior Czech official has resigned from his post, after signing a petition by former student leaders calling for the current political elite to stand down. Vlastmil Jezek, the government-appointed co-ordinator of the Czech entry to the EXPO 2000 exhibition, said he was resigning to avoid accusations of hypocrisy. The petition, entitled "Thank You, Now Get Out", was published on November 17th, ten years after student-led demonstrations forced the demise of the Communist regime. It has since been signed by over one hundred thousand people, and a rally in support of the petition is to be held this Friday in Prague.

Roma flee Ceske Budejovice after skinhead assault

A dozen Roma families from the South Bohemian town of Ceske Budejovice have left the Czech Republic, following last Saturday's attack by neo-Nazi skinheads. Roma advisor Roman Slivka told the Czech News Agency on Monday that almost 70 Roma had left the city since the incident, in which a party of Romanies was attacked in a restaurant by a large crowd of skinheads armed with clubs and broken bottles. Mr Slivka said all of the Roma families intended to seek asylum in Britain or other countries. He said that the families had been planning to leave for some time, but that last Saturday's attack was the final straw. Almost two hundred Roma families requested asylum in Britain in October, claiming racial discrimination and persecution in the Czech Republic. The authorities in Prague say they are mostly economic migrants.

Thousands pack St Vitus Cathedral for Lux funeral mass

Thousands of people attended a funeral mass on Monday for the former Christian Democrat leader Josef Lux, who died last week at the age of 43. Among those taking part in the service at Prague´s St Vitus Cathedral were President Havel, Prime Minister Zeman and his Slovak counterpart Mikulas Dzurinda, while papal nuncio Giovanni Coppa read out a telegram of condolence from Pope John Paul the Second. Mr Lux resigned as head of the Christian Democrats last year after being diagnosed with leukaemia. He had recently undergone a bone marrow operation in the American city of Seattle, and was recovering well from the operation before suddenly falling ill with pneumonia. Mr Lux, a devout Catholic, leaves a wife and six children. He will be buried in the family grave on Tuesday.

Kavan arrives in El Salvador

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan arrived in El Salvador on Monday, after a four-day visit to Mexico. Mr Kavan received an invitation from the Mexican government for Prime Minister Zeman to visit the country next year. Mr Kavan ends his short trip to Central America with a visit to Nicuragua.


And we´ll end as usual with a quick look at Tuesday´s weather. And it will be another mostly cloudy day, with patches of fog in places. Temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 5 degrees Celsius in the daytime, falling to lows of minus 5 at night.

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