News Wednesday, MAY 03th, 2000

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.

Kavan to undergo security screening

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has decided to undergo security screening. According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Ales Pospisil, the decision is not in any way connected with pressures from the opposition for him to do so. The senior opposition Civic Democrats argued that Kavan should undergo the screening process given the government's intention to charge him with coordination of intelligence services. The Civic Democrats claim that it is necessary because Kavan will deal with classified information, but the ministry spokesman pointed out that the law does not require the foreign minister to undergo the security screening.

Senators to draft resolution on Belarus

Czech Senators Michael Zantovsky and Jan Ruml are preparing a draft resolution on the violation of human rights in Belarus. They will submit the resolution to both houses of the Czech Parliament. They say the main impulse was their visit to Belarus last week during which they could see that the local regime was not in line with basic democratic standards and showed signs of totalitarianism.

State budget plunges into the red

The Czech state budget balance worsened considerably in April. Whilst in March, the budget had a surplus of more than 8.4 billion CZK, in April it had a deficit of almost 4.5 billion.

Havel attends Richard von Weizsaecker's birthday celebration

Czech President Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar paid a brief visit to Berlin to take part in a ceremonial dinner to honour the former German president Richard von Weizsaecker on the occasion of his 80th birthday. The ceremony took place in the residence of German presidents, the Bellevue castle. Havel and his wife were the only foreign guests among three hundred prominent representatives from German public life. Havel and Weizsaecker have been close friends for many years.

Government's credibility improves after reshuffle

The recent government reshuffle has helped to improve the government's image in the eyes of the public, according to a survey conducted by the Sofres-Factum agency. Poll respondents described the new Interior Minister Stanislav Gross and Justice Minister Otakar Motejl as the most useful ministers, while prime minister Milos Zeman was seen rather negatively.

KPN confirms interest in privatisation of Czech Telecom

Dutch telecommunications company KPN has confirmed its interest in increasing its stake in Czech Telecom. The government intends to sell its 51-percent stake in Telecom at the end of this year or during 2001. KPN holds 6.5 percent of Czech Telecom shares and indirectly controls another 27 percent. The privatisation method for Czech Telecom has not been decided yet. The sale of the whole state stake to KPN is just one of possible variants being considered.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. We are expecting a mostly clear to partially cloudy day, afternoon highs should range from 18 to 22 degrees Celsius. And a brief outlook for the next two days --it should be partially cloudy with scattered showers, especially in the Southern parts of the country. The highest daytime temperatures should reach between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.