Daily news summary News Sunday, JUNE 04th, 2000

04-06-2000

CZECH-PARTIES-PRESIDENT

A coalition of four right-of-centre opposition parties said on Sunday it was going to present a joint political programme in September, based on the direct election of the president of the republic.

A poll just out shows that just under two thirds of Czech citizens would prefer their head of state to be elected by direct popular vote. The STEM polling agency survey, commissioned by the public- service Czech Radio and Czech Television, also indicates that more than 50 percent of Czechs believe there are enough suitable personalities around to fill the post.

However, the two strongest parties -- the Social Democrats and the Civic Democrats -- reject the direct vote.

President Vaclav Havel's second and last term in office expires in 2003.

CZECH-HITLER-CHARGE

Police here in the Czech Republic have announced they are prepared to confiscate next week all the unsold copies of an unabridged Czech translation of Adolf Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

Earlier this week, police brought charges of propagating Nazism against the publisher Michal Zitko, whose Prague-based publishing house Otakar II released 10,000 copies of Mein Kampf in March.

More than 60 years ago, Hitler personally blocked publication of the book in Czech because he considered it to be an unworthy language.

The appearance of the Czech translation of the book met with immediate opposition and outcry from Jewish groups. The state prosecutor's office opened an investigation within a week of the book's release.

CZECH-EU-CANDIDATES

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has said that he and his colleagues from the countries, with which the European Union began accession talks more than two years ago, will present their ideas on Monday on when the EU could complete talks with the most successful candidates.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ales Pospisil has said that the state of the talks before the Brussels inter-governmental conference, which begins on June 14, will be among the main points for discussion at a meeting of six EU candidate countries in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana.

Besides Mr. Kavan, representatives of Estonia, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia are to take part.

Our correspondent says the Czech Republic wants to maintain such a pace of the accession talks as to make the year 2003 a realistic, though optimistic, date for their EU entry.

CZECH-CHINA-TIANANMEN-HAPPENING

On the eve of the 11th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, the Czech branch of Amnesty International on Saturday staged a protest happening in Prague.

Human rights activists launched 213 toy balloons -- one each for as many political prisoners still languishing in Chinese jails or being on medical parole in connection with the pro-democracy protests.

Beijing's Communist rulers have officially labelled the weeks of demonstrations in Spring 1989 a counter-revolutionary rebellion and have firmly rejected calls to reconsider that verdict.

China has never disclosed how many protesters were killed.

CZECH-MUSIC-FESTIVAL

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with An Ode to Joy formally ended on Saturday the 55th Prague Spring International Music Festival, one of the most prestigious musical feasts in the whole Continental Europe.

As tradition dictates, it was performed by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of their chief conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy.

On the festival's last day, Prague Mayor Jan Kasl unveiled a statue of the Czech composer Antonin Dvorak outside the city's Rudolfinum concert hall.

CZECH-WEATHER

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

Sunday will be a very warm day here in the Czech Republic but the tropical heat of the day will subside in the late afternoon as a cold front will start influencing the weather situation. We expect daytime highs between 26 and 31 degrees Celsius, dropping in thunderstorms later in the day to around 20 degrees.

Monday will be a wet day with scattered thunderstorms and daytime highs between 22 and 26 Celsius, dropping to between 12 and 16 degrees in the night.

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

04-06-2000