News Wednesday, MAY 05th, 1999

Hello and welcome to the programme. I´m DL and we begin as usual with a look at the main newsstories this hour.

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail:

Four people charged in connection with May Day disturbances

Four people have been charged in connection with the May Day disturbances in Prague. They were part of the 300-strong anarchist gathering which clashed with police at Narodni Trida and all four have been charged with assault of a civil servant and damage of private property. The police are said to be in the process of assessing video-tapes of the event in order to ascertain any violations of the law on the part of police as well as demonstrators. Their findings should be made public within a week.

ODS would win elections today

A public opinion survey has shown that if elections were to be held in the Czech Republic today the Civic Democratic Party of Vaclav Klaus would win them. The survey suggests that the Civic Democratic Party /ODS/ would gain 30,4 % of the vote , while the governing Social Democrats would get a mere 24,3%. The communist party would come in third with an approximate 14,4% votes. The Civic Democrats have shot ahead in popularity ratings as well, gaining 26,7% while the Social Democrats enjoy a mere 22,5% support. This is the first time that ex-premier Vaclav Klaus party has beaten its rival since its 1996 election loss. However, its relations with potential right of centre coalition partners still leave much to be desired and weaken the party's prospects.

Doctors find donor for Lux

Doctors say they have found a bone marrow donor for Josef Lux, the former Christian Democrat leader who retired from high politics after being diagnosed with leukaemia. They are now said to be undertaking a final series of compatibility tests before assessing the risks of a transplant. Lux himself has said the news has given him reason to hope he can beat this illness and return to a full life.

Prague Uprising -anniversary

Commemorative acts are taking place in several parts of Prague today to mark the 54th anniversary of the Prague Uprising against Nazi oppression, which was the culmination of a series of spontaneous protest actions . One of the main events is taking place outside the Czech Radio building on Vinohradska street, the site of some of the fiercest clashes of the uprising. Over 30.000 Czechs joined the effort to overthrow Nazi rule.

Zeman encourages arms producers

Premier Milos Zeman has emphasised the future significance of arms production for the Czech industry. Attending the IDET fair of arms producers, Zeman said that weapons production has a long tradition in this country and he was certain that in time it would do well on NATO markets. He rejected the claims of environmentalists who slammed the fair alleging it was a showpiece of firms who supported dictators in many regions of the world. This country has a very tight arms control policy indeed and we fully respect all UN Security Council arms embargoes, Zeman stressed.

Preparations underway for Cooperative Guard

Preparations are underway for the Cooperative Guard 99 military manoeuvres to be held on Czech territory beginning May 28th. A defence ministry spokesman said that the manoeuvres, which are part of NATO's Partnership for Peace programme, would involve French, Dutch, German, Belgian, Slovak and Polish and Czech troops. The first vehicles carrying military equipment to Vyskov, southern Moravia, crossed the Czech-German border earlier today. The Czech Republic has hosted similar manoeuvres in the past.

Pilsen celebrations

Although the annual veterans ride through Pilsen, to celebrate the towns liberation from Nazi occupation by US troops, has been cancelled this year for security reasons the organisers of the event say that in cooperation with the American centre in Pilsen they will provide a worthy replacement. Visitors will be able to view an exposition of civilian US vehicles including a twelve-seat Lincoln from 1978, a Chevrolet Master dating 1937 and a Pontiac Silver Street from 1946.

Accident health bulletin

The twelve year old girl who was one of 14 children hurt in a fairground accident last Friday is now reported to be out of danger. A four year old boy remains in critical condition and doctors fear for his life. Three other children remain hospitalised with spinal and other injuries. They were hurt in a seemingly freak accident when a centrifuge broke loose at full speed and collapsed onto a nearby merry-go round. Police experts who are investigating the cause of the accident say the results of an expertise will not be available for several more weeks. According to information brought by the media it seems that the centrifuge had needed fixing on the day before the accident happened.

Finally, a look at the weather:

Wednesday should be a fairly cool day with partly cloudy skies and day temp between 15 and 19 degs C . Nighttime lows between 8 and 4 degs.