News Wednesday, APRIL 22nd, 1998

Radio Prague E-News, Date: April 22, 1998, Vladimir Tax

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

BIS rejects accusation of inefficiency

The Security Information Service (BIS) spokesman Jan Subert on Tuesday rejected criticism of BIS's performance and consideration about its possible dissolution raised by some MPs.

"The BIS is functioning, it is working in a professional manner, and it is fulfilling its missions and tasks," Subert told CTK.

He was reacting to a statement by chairman of the Chamber of deputies commission monitoring BIS activity, Social Democrat Jaroslav Basta, who claimed that time had come to dissolve the intelligence service.

Subert said that BIS had concrete results in the area of fighting terrorism, organised crime and in the protection of the Czech Republic's economic interests.

Czech Rep. idle in fighting racism - Helsinki committee

The Czech government does not pay enough attention to human rights, and is in violation of the International Convention on eliminating all forms of racial discrimination. This is the conclusion of an annual report worked out by the Czech Helsinki Committee. The committee representative, Radim Palous, stressed that this could complicate the Czech Republic's entry into the European Union.

According to the study, the Czech Republic lacks legislation for fighting racial discrimination, and racially motivated crime is not punished severely enough.

Another opinion poll shows drop in SocDem popularity

The latest opinion poll conducted by the Sofres-Factum agency confirmed the results of two other polling agencies: the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, who are most likely to win the early parliamentary elections, are losing support but are still the most popular in the polls. In April, they would have received 25.5 percent of the vote, three percent less than in the previous month.

The second strongest party, according to respondents, remains the Freedom Union with just under thirteen percent, followed closely by the Civic Democratic Party.

The poll showed that the pensioners party is gaining support: it would receive almost seven percent of the vote, half a percent more than the Christian Democrats.

OECD mission monitors Czech environment

A mission of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) started monitoring the environment in the Czech Republic and the relevant legislation on Tuesday.

Until April 28 the mission will hold talks with representatives of the public administration, industry and independent environmentalists, and study the fulfilment of the pledges made when the Czech Republic was being admitted to the OECD in 1994.

The mission has until the autumn to draw up a standard OECD report on the environment.

The Czech Republic became the 26th fully-pledged OECD member as the first post-communist state in late 1995. According to the OECD, it is among the biggest air polluters in terms of relative figures from among the present 29 member countries.

Tomograph finds no more inflammation - Kotik

No signs of inflammation were found in President Vaclav Havel's body during tomography on Tuesday, president's doctor Ilja Kotik told reporters.

The examination was performed after doctors found out and emptied an abscess on Monday which was responsible for Havel's higher temperature.

The abscess was only superficial, Kotik said, adding that such post-operational complications were quite frequent.

President Havel has had three operations at a hospital in Innsbruck, Austria, since last Tuesday.

Privatisation must go on - Kuehnl

The current government will continue with privatisation of energy distribution companies and coal mines, industry and trade minister Karel Kuehnl said on Tuesday. He stressed that the cabinet will do so despite the parliament's disapproval. He was referring to a motion passed by the chamber of deputies last week asking the cabinet to stop privatisation of strategic companies.

The minister said the government is responsible for state property and the economy and that it is not obliged to obey recommendations from the parliament.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 12 to 16 degrees Celsius. Thursday and Friday should see more sun and it should also be warmer: highest daytime temperatures should be between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.