News Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 29th, 1998

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Welcome to the programme. I'm Alena Skodova and we start as usual with the news:

German elections - impact on the CR

The victory of Gerhard Schroder's Social democrats in last weekend's German parliamentary elections will have no negative impact on mutual relations between the Czech Republic and Germany. According to the Chairman of the Social democrat deputies club, Stanislav Gross, the opposite might be true. Gross told the CTK new agency on Monday that ties between Prague and Bonn are likely to improve and intensify, adding that international relations cannot be built on a mere party principles. Although Gross indicated that the problem of the Sudeten Germans might not be in the spotlight of bilateral relations in the future, he believes that disputable matters cannot not be resolved overnight. Czech president Vaclav Havel sent a congratulatory telegram to German Social democrat leader Gerhard Schroder and another one to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in which the Czech president thanked him for what he had done for the unity within Europe.

Zeman visits Brussels

Premier Milos Zeman's visit to the EU headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday is to demonstrate his party's unianimous support for the Czech Republic's EU membership. Mr.Zeman is meeting there with Chairman of the European Commission Jacques Santer and Chairman of the European parliament Jose Maria Gil-Robles, government spokesman Libor Roucek has told the CTK news agency. According to Mr.Roucek, the Czech premier's visit has been designed to underline the continutiy of the political dialoque between top Czech officials and the EU's supreme bodies. The Czech side wants to use the talks to informing EU representatives about our country's preparations for EU membership and discuss at a high level mutual relations and further prospects.

Kavan - elections - Slovakia

According to Czech Foreign minister Jan Kavan, the outcome and the course of last weekend's parliamentary elections in Slovakia give this country a bigger chance to get closer to the Euroatlantic structures. Kavan has told newspeople in Prague he welcomes the fact that the elections in Slovakia ended successfully for the democratic forces although - Kavan noted - it is still unclear who will form the new cabinet. Minister Kavan at the same time underlined the Czech Republic's preparedness to help speed up Slovakia's integration into the European Union and NATO, and expressed the hope that the problems enduring between the two countries since the split-up of Czechoslovakia back in 1993, and concerning mainly the division of the national property, will soon appear on the negotiating table.

Council of Europe - Romanies

A group of experts on Roma matters from the Council of Europe is in the Czech Republic on a 4-day visit. The group meets regularly for discussions about the Roma problems in Europe and it will hold its 6th session in Prague. The experts' visit included the controversial North Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem, where the councillors planned to build a wall deviding the Romany and non-Romany populations. Although they later abolished the plan, the case has appeared on the international pages of foreign newspapers. During their visit to the Chanov housing estate in the town of Most, the Council's experts showed interest in learning more about the living conditions of the Roma population and paid a visit to a local elementary school where Romany children form the majority of pupils.

Albanian detained

The police have intercepted, in the North Bohemian town of Varnsdorf another Albanian who took part in an armed conflict between Albanians and a local Romany community, during which a young Roma man was shot dead. The detained man is facing the charges of rioting, illegal posession of arms and attempted bodily harm according to Alice Kopecka, Director of the District Investigation Office in Decin. The investigator has proposed to hold the Albanian man in custody. Altogether eight persons are to face charges in the case, five of whom have been detained and one taken into custody. Following the conflict, a tense sitution prevails in Varnsdorf, where some 30 more policemen have been sent to patrol the the streets. Romany activists intend to lodge a complaint against the allegedly slow and inconsistent pace of the police investigation.

Weather

And finally the weather forecast for Tuesday: It will be cloudy to overcast with occasional rain showers and afternoon highs between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.