News Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 07th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to the program. I'm Dita Asiedu, first let's take a look at the main headlines of the day:

You are tuned to radio Prague, those were the headlines, now let's take a look at the news in full:

FU / CD / Budget

The opposition Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats have stirred fears that there is likely to be a tough fight over next year's state budget. The two parties announced on Monday afternoon, that if the deficit is over 40 billion crowns, they will not give it their support. A member of the Freedom Union and Parliament's Budget Committee, Ladislav Korbel, told journalists that the budget is likely to reach a deficit of 95 billion by the end of the year. He dismissed figures recently released by the finance Ministry which indicate that the deficit would reach some 47 billion, saying that this does not include the loss of the Consolidational bank, humanitarian aid for Kosovo, and various measures designed to revitalise industry. A Christian Democrat MP Ladislav Sustr, echoed these opinions, later in the day. He said the high deficit was caused by mandatory expenditure, as laid out by the law. A Social Democrat MP, has assured journalists in the meantime, that as long as the Civic Democratic Party and the Social Democrats agree and approve the budget, then it should pass without any hitches.

Koukal / ODS / Change

Former Prague mayor and current Head of the Civic Democratic Party's Prague Organisation Jan Koukal, said on Monday, that he will be calling for changes to be made within the team which worked on the recent by-election campaign to the senate. This comes after the candidate for the Civic Democratic Party lost to independent Vaclav Fischer. Koukal expressed his disappointment at the mud slinging during the campaign, which only damaged the party's chances even more turning the Prague public away from the ODS candidate. He labeled the campaign "terrible" and "aggressive". The Prague branch of the party has called upon Chairman Vaclav Klaus to explain his behaviour and the distasteful adverts attacking Fischer which went up all over Prague, prior to the elections.

Uhl /Wall / Usti

Petr Uhl, government representative for human rights says he cannot believe that a notorious wall in the town of Ustni nad Labem which will separate a romany community from a residential area, will be ready by the end of October. This comes after the town mayor made the announcement on Monday, adding that unless some unforeseen complications arise, the affair, which has been the focus of much media attention will soon come to an end. He added that the wall which will cost 200 000 Czech crowns, will also be locked at night. Petr Uhl expressed his outrage on Monday at this new development saying that locking the gates at night, is a restriction on freedom of movement and that he still expects the plans for the wall to be cancelled.

This wall has caused much controversy in recent months, as human rights activists and members of the Romany community have accused the town council of segregation and trying to create a ghetto. The council on the other hand, says that the romanies, do not pay rent and create plenty of disturbances in the night, causing their neighbours in the residential area to complain. The affair has reached the highest level of concern, with the Czech Parliament preparing to discuss the issue during its October session.

Moravia / Loans / Collapse

Deputy Chairman of the Moravia bank, Pavel Vyvijal, said on Monday, the bank is demanding that clients who borrowed money and are not paying it back on time, return the loans immediately. The bank, which is on them verge of collapse has introduced this measure as part of its package enabling it to pay out all its clients. The bank has sustained heavy losses and there is speculation that it mismanaged large sums in the form of government aid. As part of its solution to avert bankruptcy, Moravia bank has also asked the Central bank, not to immediately demand its 750 million crowns. A spokesman, allegedly said that this move would seriously endanger the bank's chances of paying its clients.

Survey / Czechs / Bleak

A survey carried out in August has revealed that Czechs take a very dim view of the economic situation in their country. Almost three quarters of those asked said they considered the state of the country's economy terrible. Although 53 percent of Polish people and 49 percent of Hungarians think the same of their country's finances, Czechs in contrast, rate their material well being, fairly highly. People from the Czech Republic also told researchers that they see the economic future of the country in a similar poor light, and 18 percent of those approached expect their material standard of living to improve next year.

UN / Business / Burden

A spokesman for the United Nations said on Monday that the introduction of new European Union legislation regarding business competition is likely to be a heavy burden on central and east European states. Speaking in Prague, he said that organisations in these states, currently dealing with business competition, are under great pressure on the one hand, from domestic producers who want continued state protection and from international firms on the other. He said that these firms want to break through onto new markets and re-affirm their dominance.

The Czech government has recently started to place greater emphasis on adhering to the new legislation with a view to acquiring membership of the European Union. This has included moves such as stepping up the rate of privatization and price deregulation. A forthcoming conference in the Moravian city of Brno at the end of November will look at ways in which to align Czech business policies with those of the European Union.

Unemployment / Prague / Inrease

Newly published figures from Prague employment centers show that in August, the rate of unemployment rose by 3.4 percent. The report released on Monday, revealed that there are currently almost 22 000 people out if work in the capital. According to experts over 3000 of those unemployed are university graduates, who started job hunting at the end of the holidays. The report suggests that security agencies would appear to have plenty of vacancies available, while banks and law firms seem to be cutting down on positions.

Vetchy / Finland / Kosovo

Czech Defence Minister Vladimir Vetchy held talks with his Finnish counterpart Jan-Erik Enestam on Monday. The two discussed the situation in Kosovo and Finland's stance on European Security. Enestam, on the second day of a state visit to the Czech Republic, said international forces must stay in Kosovo longer than previously expected and stressed that the region must hold elections as soon as possible. Although Finland, is not a member of NATO, it has observer status in the West European Union and Enestam said on Monday that his government would like to see the European Union respond faster to international conflicts. He spoke of the need for an institution within the European Union, which would function as a security and political committee with military experts. The visiting Defence minister also expressed his desire to see the Czech Republic become a member of the European Union as soon as possible. Talks with Vladimir Vetchy were the beginning of Jan-Erik Enestam's official trip to the Czech Republic. On Monday he also met with Deputy Defence Minister Otto Pick and head of Parliament's Defence and Security committee, Petr Necas.

And we end as usual with a brief look at the weather:

Tuesday will see more of the warm weather we had over the weekend, with temperatures peaking at 25 degrees Celsius. There could be some cloud and fog in the early morning over Prague, but this will clear up as the day continues, making way for sunny skies in the afternoon.

I'm Dita Asiedu and that's the end of the news