News Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 08th, 1998

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Radio Prague E news Date: September 8th, 1998 Written / read by: Alena Skodova

Hello and welcome to the programme. I'm Alena Skodova and we start with a bulletin of domestic news:

Police - Sunday's explosion

The Prague police are already questioning a group of people in connection with Sunday's explosion in downtown Prague which slightly injured two foreign tourists. Karel Adamec, chief investigator in the case, told this to journalists at a special press conference held on Monday. According to Adamec, police have no evidence that the pipe bomb was the work of a terrorist group, and commenting on the theory of a mentally disturbed person being responsible, he told newspeople his team is closely cooperating with psychologists. Deputy director of the Prague police, Jaroslav Zeman, said his newly established team has been pursuing several lines of investigation, but declined to reveal what they were.

Explosion - Monday

An explosion, on Monday night, destroyed a Mercedes in Cetkovice near the town of Blansko. The car belonged to the attorney who is representing the owner of the Tesla Pardubice works, Miroslav Orel. Orel was taken into custody some time ago, charged with economic crime, and his own Mercedes, worth 5 million crowns, was blown up in May. "The two cases are probably closely linked," Blansko's police director Radomir Diblik told the CTK news agency, adding that the attorney has not offered any explanation for his car's explosion. His client's factory, Tesla Pardubice, though, produces the famous radar system Tamara, capable of locating the Stealth bomber, and its owner was blackmailed several months ago.

Budget 1999

The Czech government is still considering two options for the draft of the 1999 state budget, one balanced and one with a deficit of up to 15 billion crowns, the Finance ministry has announced. According to the ministry's spokeswoman, Jana Vargova, either option could prevail. A 15 billion crown deficit would be less than one percent of the expected gross domestic product. The social democrat cabinet has previously said it would allow for a budget deficit of up to three percent of GDP in order to support growth, infrastructure and education programmes. The cabinet must deliver the 1999 draft budget to the lower house of parliament for approval by the end of September, and because the government only holds 74 seats in the 200-member house of deputies, the debate is expected to be fierce.

Zeman to retire?

Czech premier and Chairman of the Social democratic party Milos Zeman has confirmed information reported by the press that 4 years from now, he intends to retire from active political life. He has said this in Ostrava, in reaction to a question from the CTK news agency. Zeman said that Czech politicians lack the art of leaving at the right time. "Politicians consider themselves to be irreplacable, but an irreplacable politician does not exist," Zeman stressed, adding that his planned retirement is meant as a challenge to other politicians. Zeman also explained that he wants another suitable person to ripen politically, and replace him as the chairman of the Social democratic party.

Consumer prices in August

The Czech Statistical Office will make public on Tuesday data on the growth of consumer prices in August. Economists generally expect a favourable development, with an inflation ranging between 0.1 and 0.4 percent. In July the consumer prices increased by 1.9 percent as compared to the previous month and by 10.4 percent when comparded to July 1997.

Weather

And finally a look at Tuesday's weather: we expect cloudy skies with occasional showers coming from the West, possible mists in the morning, and daytime highs between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius.