News Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 01th, 1998

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Radio Prague E-News Date: September 1, 1998, Written/read by: Libor Kubik

Hello from Prague, I am Libor Kubik and here's the news.

GERMANY-CZECH-RUSSIA-KOHL

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl says fallout from the Russian crisis could spread into eastern Europe, hitting in particular would-be EU members Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

He said on Monday that Russia's economic and political problems could become dangerous. But he ruled out a snap summit of the G7 powers.

Here in Prague, the central bank said on Monday it saw no reason to react to the crisis but was closely monitoring the situation.

National Bank spokesman Martin Svehla said his country's survival without a dent was wishful thinking rather than foregone conclusion.

CZECH-MIDEAST-RADIO

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty will not start broadcasting to Iran from Prague on Tuesday as planned. The American station's spokeswoman Alena Fendrychova on Monday cited personnel and technical problems but said the station would try to commence its Farsi Service by the end of September.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty originally had planned to launch services to Iran and Iraq. But the Czech government decided that the station's funder, the United States, must first seek approval from Premier Zeman's cabinet.

A government spokesman said the original agreement with the previous Czech cabinet had mentioned only Iran.

Radio Free Europe is an international nonprofit organisation funded by the U.S. Congress.

Iraq on Sunday appealed to the Czech government to help maintain good relations with Baghdad and not to allow Arabic- language programmes to be beamed from Prague to Iraq.

Former Czech Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec expressed bewilderment over the incumbent government's position and asked Premier Zeman to state publicly whether he honours the decisions of his predecessors.

CZECH-LOTTERIES

A law on lotteries came into force in the Czech Republic on Tuesday.

The law excludes foreign capital even from consumers' competitions and prevents not only firms with foreign capital but also their daughter companies from organising lotteries and competitions in this country.

The controversial law has been criticised especially from abroad, since in the EU countries, consumers' competitions are a regular form of corporate marketing strategy.

CZECH-STREET-PARTY

The Prague Police were unable on Monday to establish the cause of the death of a young man during Saturday's ecological Local Street Party in the centre of the city.

Prague's deputy police director Jan Brajer said the young man could have died of intoxication but that the police had to wait for the outcomes of an autopsy.

Police made 14 arrests during the anti-establishment protest march. All but one detainee were fined and released. One youth is being investigated on the suspicion of assaulting a public figure.

CZECH-SLOVAK-MINISTER

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said on Monday that relations between his country and its eastern neighbour Slovakia should achieve an above-standard level.

He said in an interview to Slovak daily Narodna Obroda that Prague would work with any Slovak government to resolve issues hampering mutual relations. Chief among them are division of the former federal assets, the problem of Slovak gold, and problems associated with recognising each other's citizenship.

People in Slovakia go to the polls in September to elect a new parliament.

CZECH-1968-EXHIBIT

An estimated 70,000 people have seen an exhibition in Prague of documents and period press marking the 30th anniversary of the Soviet-led Warsaw pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

The two-week, open-air exhibition near the Malostranska Metro Station was organised and funded by the Artforum Association.

The organisers said that although almost a complete Czech Social Democrat cabinet saw the exhibit on its opening day, Artforum had not received a single financial contribution from any parliamentary club,

CZECH-WEATHER

Tuesday will be a mild late-summer day in the Czech Republic. The skies will be partly cloudy and we are expecting some scattered showers from the northwest. Afternoon highs between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius, but nighttime lows will drop to five to eight degrees.

And that's the end of the news.