News Wednesday, JULY 15th, 1998

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Radio Prague News, July 15, 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.

CNB intervention

The Czech national bank on Tuesday intervened twice on the money market to stop the crown's appreciation. The crown climbed to a record 17.58 per German mark on Tuesday morning, a level that experts claim is not sustainable and poses risks for the economy. After the Central bank announced the intervention, the crown dropped to 17.90 but it quickly started appreciating. In the afternoon, the bank intervened again, this time at the level of 17.75. The crown dropped to 17.85 but within an hour's time it recovered its original level. According to Central bank spokesman Martin Svehla, the Czech crown's exchange rate has been under the influence of external factors in the past weeks, for example developments in Russia.

Parliament/session

The newly elected chamber of deputies is starting its first session today. The session will last for several days and the main item on its agenda is electing its speaker, his deputies and deciding on the number and specialisation of parliamentary committees. There are five political parties represented in the lower house, in order of the number of mandates: the center-left Social Democrats, right-wing Civic Democrats, far-left Communists and center-right Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union.

2002 in EU

The main goal of the Czech Republic as well as the other five applicant countries is to become full members of the EU by the year 2002. This was agreed upon by the countries' chief negotiators during their current meeting in the Slovenian capital city, Lublan. The negotiators confirmed that during September their countries will be ready to submit their position documents to the EU. This will make it possible for the Union to start accession negotiations during Austria's presidency.

Bursik wants to discuss Temelin abroad

Czech environment minister Martin Bursik announced on Tuesday that he wanted to discuss the issue of the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia with his colleagues in Austria, Great Britain, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Minister Bursik said it was necessary to consult neighbouring Austria, which rejects nuclear power and is very concerned about the Czech project, but also France, whose economy is based on atomic energy. The minister will also address the European Commission secretariats for energy and environment.

People disgusted with election campaign

Most Czech citizens are highly critical of the campaign before the June preliminary elections. In an opinion poll conducted by the Sofres-Factum agency, more than half the Czechs asked -- 55 percent -- said they did not like the behaviour of political parties during the pre-election campaign. A quarter of the poll respondents described the campaign as disgusting. Most people also think that too much time and space in the media were devoted to the election campaign.

Bonn to make further payment to German-Czech fund

The Czech-German Future Fund is to receive a further ten million marks from Germany. On Tuesday the fund's director, Tomas Kafka, said that the money, along with funds previously pledged, will be used for projects that include compensation for more than seven thousand Czech victims of the Holocaust in World War Two. In addition to the money transfer from Germany, the Czech Republic is to supply a sum equal to about 4 million German marks. The fund was set up by Bonn and Prague late last year to provide compensation to Czech Holocaust victims who have not received any individual assistance from Germany since the war.

Czech weather forecast

And finally, a quick look at the weather. On Wednesday, weather in the Czech Republic will be influenced by a high pressure area from the West. It should be partially cloudy with afternoon highs between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius. Thursday and Friday should be mostly cloudy with occasional showers, with temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.