Daily news summary News Monday, JUNE 12th, 2000

12-06-2000

CZECH-STORM-DAMAGE

A storm on Sunday night caused severe damage to a small community outside the West Bohemian town of Chomutov.

The mayor of Malkov village says millions of crowns' worth of property was damaged in a matter of few seconds. Roofs were blown away, trees and lampposts were uprooted by the rage of the elements.

Mayor Pavel Bursa said his community was looking for replacement accommodation for one family whose house was completely destroyed. An ancient linden-tree, the pride of Malkov, was uprooted by the whirlwind and destroyed the local chapel.

CZECH-OPPOSITION-PRIVATISATION

Leader of the main opposition Civic Democratic Party Vaclav Klaus on Sunday slammed the ruling Social Democrats for funding the implementation of their election promises from the proceeds of the early-90s drive to privatise state assets.

Mr. Klaus told a party conference in Prague that the Social Democrats were quick to conclude upon forming a government two years ago that privatisation money would help them fulfill their election programme.

Mr. Klaus said that his party had intended to use the proceeds to stimulate private enterprise and accused the Social Democrats of pumping the money into the state treasury instead. He said the Social Democrats were only prevented from completing their plan by the existence of a power-sharing pact between the two big parties.

CZECH-GERMANY-EXPELLEES

At an emotionally-charged ceremony at the weekend to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the razing to the ground of the Czech village of Lidice by the Nazis, the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman criticised Sudeten Germans' recent claims for compensation from the Czech government.

The Czech news agency CTK quoted him as saying that while Czechs respected their former German fellow-citizens who were active anti-fascists and fought against Hitler, they would never respect the heirs of those who were Hitler's followers, who split this country and committed the crime of treason.

In June 1942, a Nazi SS detachment razed Lidice to the ground in retaliation for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazi administrator of the Czech protectorate and a close friend of Adolf Hitler. The assassination was carried out by British- trained Czechoslovak paratroopers, but no evidence ever connected Lidice to the assassins.

During the Nazi raid, all male inhabitants were summarily executed and almost all women and children were deported to concentration camps. Eighty-two of the children died in the gas chambers.

EU-FOREIGN-EXPANSION

The European Union's eastward expansion enters its most difficult phase on Tuesday when the bloc launches talks on the crunch issue of agriculture with six front-running candidates for membership.

Agriculture is the last remaining issue to be broached with the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Estonia, which entered membership talks two years ago.

CZECH-KOSOVO-BOSNIA

The Chief of Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, Jiri Sedivy, has praised the conduct of the Czech KFOR troops who were caught in crossfire on Tuesday while on routine patrol.

Mr. Sedivy was speaking in Prague on his return from a tour of Czech peacekeeping units serving in the Balkans. He was accompanied on his mission by the American and British ambassadors to Prague, who praised the professional conduct and linguistic skills of Czech officers and servicemen.

A mobile detachment of the Czech KFOR unit came under fire while patrolling a road close to Kosovo's border with Serbia.

CZECH-STUDENTS-FORUM

Globalisation and its impacts on education is the keynote of an international Students' Forum 2000 underway at Prague Castle.

The event brings together scores of young people from around the world. Education in the process of globalisation is one of three main topics for discussions at the Forum 2000 Grand Conference later in the year.

Held under the auspices of President Vaclav Havel, the conference will bring together such international celebrities as the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, Indian National Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and the former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres.

CZECH-PARTY-ARMY

The shadow defence minister, Civic Democrat Petr Necas, said on Sunday that his party wants the Czech armed forces to become fully professional within the next eight years.

He said a professional army would have 38,000 soldiers and 5,000 civilian employees. He also spoke of a system of semi-professional active reserves and very brief training stints for conscripts.

CZECH-SOCCER

Football -- and tears flowed in the Czech dressing room with deemed injustice piled onto defeat as the Dutch sneaked home 1-0 in their Euro 2000 opener on Sunday night in Amsterdam thanks to a hotly disputed penalty.

Both the Czech playmaker Pavel Nedved and coach Jozef Chovanec called the 88th- minute penalty a scandal and bitterly criticised the poor performance of the referees.

CZECH-WEATHER

And we end as usual with a quick look at the weather.

On Monday, a cold front will be advancing across Czech territory to the east, bringing along scattered showers, thunderstorms and daytime highs in Bohemia between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius, and in Moravia and Silesia between 22 and 26 degrees.

Tuesday will be a fair day with only scattered showers and daytime highs between 24 and 28 Celsius.

And on Wednesday, we may look forward to temperatures up to 28 degrees, some rain, and nighttime lows between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.

I'm Libor Kubik and that's the end of the news.

12-06-2000