News Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 09th, 1998

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Radio Prague E-News date: September 9, 1998, 0900 UTC written/read by: Libor Kubik

These are the main Czech stories this hour, now the news in more detail. Libor Kubik reporting.

CZECH-GOVT-POLL

Czechs are rather uneasy about the performance and future of their new, one-colour Social Democrat government of Prime Minister Milos Zeman.

The outcomes of a survey released on Tuesday by the Sofres- Factum polling agency show that those questioned are dissatisfied primarily by the high average age of the cabinet, the communist past of some of its members, the absence of women in top government posts, lack of credibility and professional abilities, and the government's failure to stick to its election programme.

In contrast to this, Social Democrat politicians Stanislav Gross and Petra Buzkova continue to lead the popularity charts compiled by the same polling agency.

The Social Democrats have been in power since the general elections earlier this summer.

CZECH-MINISTER-TV-APOLOGY

The Supervisory Board of Czech Television ruled on Tuesday that the public-service station should apologise to Foreign Minister Jan Kavan over a recent feature programme on his exile in Britain in the 1970s and 80s.

The programme quoted Kavan's contact in London, a Czechoslovak intelligence officer, as saying that Mr Kavan must have known that whatever he said in his presence would be passed on to the communist security organs.

The board's chairman Jan Jirak said the programme, broadcast in July, could be interpreted as an attempt to compromise Mr Kavan.

The programme's producer says his team stands by its story.

CZECH-EU-YUGOSLAVIA-SANCTIONS

The Czech Republic is likely to join the EU sanctions on flights by the Yugoslav national airline JAT over Belgrade's policy on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ales Pospisil said on Tuesday his office was awaiting formal request from the Union.

Under a decision made in Brussels, JAT and supplying carriers should be banned from flying to and from EU countries as of the next weekend.

CZECH-UNEMPLOYMENT

In economic news, the Czech Statistical Office says unemployment in the Czech Republic reached a record-high figure of 6.4 percent on the last day of August. The authorities say this was an 0.3 percent increase over July.

Labour offices registered over 320,000 jobless people -- 16,000 more than at the end of the previous month.

This projects into a 1.2 percent increase of the rate of unemployment over the same period last year.

CZECH-INFLATION

August's overall consumer price index was down 0.2 percent on the previous month, and up 9.4 percent over August 1997. The 12-month rate of inflation was 11.5 percent in August.

CZECH-ASTRONOMY

Astronomers from 33 countries today begin a conference in Prague to discuss a wide range of topics, including astro- politics, which is a science dealing with the political aspects of space exploration.

Other topics on the agenda include research of the solar system, astrophysics, relativist astrophysics and cosmology.

CZECH-TENNIS-NOVOTNA

Tennis -- and Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna on Tuesday became the first woman through to the U.S. Open semifinals in New York by breezing past Patty Schnyder 6-2 6-3.

The third-seeded Czech took 71 minutes to beat 11th seed Schnyder, who knocked off five-time Open champion Steffi Graf in the previous round.

CZECH-WEATHER

Finally, the weather report:

Wednesday will be a fairly mild day, marred by only scattered showers. Daytime temperatures will be from 21 to 22 degrees Celsius.

Thursday's weather -- and warm winds will blow into central Europe from the southeast. We are expecting nighttime lows between 11 and 15 Celsius, and daytime maxima from 23 to 27 degrees.

And that's the end of the news.