News Wednesday, OCTOBER 07th, 1998

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.

Czech parties support NATO strike in Kosovo

All the political parties represented in the Czech parliament except the Communists have agreed that a military solution to the crisis in Kosovo is inevitable, Their MPs will support Czech participation in a possible NATO mission by providing a field hospital.

Zeman in Brussels

Czech Premier Milos Zeman will travel to Brussels on Wednesday instead of Thursday as originally planned. He is expected to meet with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. The reason for the change of plan is an informal meeting of foreign ministers of NATO member countries because of the Kosovo crisis. But neither the Alliance press department nor the United States diplomatic mission in Brussels were able to confirm whether representatives of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic had been invited to attend the meeting.

PSE not collapsing (yet)

The downward slide at the Prague Stock Exchange stopped late on Tuesday after a further plunge of all liquid issues in the morning. Even the shares of the Czech savings bank Ceska Sporitelna, which dropped 20 percent on Monday and another 17 on Tuesday, recovered slightly. Analysts are no longer describing the situation as a crisis but are still cautious in their predictions.

National Property Fund willing to help CP

The Czech National Property Fund is willing to help the troubled Ceska Sporitelna. The Fund's chairman Roman Ceska however failed to specify the amount of money the fund would provide. He recalled the existence of a letter of guarantee, according to which the state will help three banks, Ceska Sporitelna, Komercni and Obchodni, should they get into trouble.

Havel for Nobel Peace Prize

Czech President Vaclav Havel is among the five prospective candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. Norway's NTB news agency said on Tuesday that the other four hottest candidates are partners in the Northern Ireland peace deal, U.N. human rights workers, a Colombian children's "Peace Movement" and the international relief group Doctors without Borders. Norwegian media are said to be usually well informed about the likely winners of the prize.

Vaclav Havel, who has been a favourite for leading the 1989 "Velvet Revolution", the agency said, could also win since the Nobel Committee has often used the prize to back up commemorative dates -- and this year is the 30th anniversary of the Prague Spring reform movement, crushed by Warsaw Pact forces.

Shadow cabinet to discuss state budget

The Civic Democrat shadow cabinet is to meet on Thursday for the first time to discuss the state budget for 1999 compiled by the Social Democratic government. According to the shadow minister of finance Vlastimil Tlusty, the proposed budget deficit is the main reason why the Civic Democrats are reluctant to support the budget in the parliament. In Tlusty's opinion, the planned deficit cannot increase budget revenues in the future because the proposal does not include any growth-stimulating measures.

Interior ministry to fight piracy

An increase in cases of software piracy and illegal copying of audio and video recording has made the Interior Ministry outline a new strategy to fight this type of crime. According to the document, the number of piracy cases recorded by police has more than doubled since last year. The strategy suggests changes in the legislation in order to improve the protection of intellectual property.

Environmentalists protest against loan for Temelin

Several environmental organizations have voiced their protest against a multi-billion bank loan mediated by several German banks for the Czech energy giant CEZ which wants to use the money to fiance the completion of the controversial nuclear power plant in Temelin, South Bohemia. The environmental organizations claim that Temelin is the riskiest nuclear project in Europe.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. On Wednesday, the weather in the Czech Republic will be influenced by a low-pressure area. We are expecting a cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 13 to 17 degrees Celsius. Thursday and Friday should be much the same as Wednesday, cloudy or partially cloudy with showers, and highest daytime temperatures around fifteen degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.