Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail:
A conference of the sixteen heads of state of the Central European Initiative was concluded today in Prague. Amongst the issues discussed were immigration problems between the Czech Republic and the Ukraine, and improving relations between Austria and the Czech Republic. The main topic of the conference was, as Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman stated, Balkan renewal:
The prime minister went on to say that the prime ministers of the Central European Initiative hope that they will be able to use their traditional business relations in south-eastern Europe to participate in Balkan economic renewal.
The central committee of the ruling Social Democratic Party have agreed that three ministers must leave Prime Minister Milos Zemans cabinet. The Social Democrat cabinet has been hit by several scandals in the recent past, and there have been calls in parliament for some government ministers to step down. The three ministers that have been under the greatest pressure to resign are Health Minister Ivan David, Minister for Local Development Jaromir Cisar, and Minister Without Portfolio Jaroslav Basta. The head of the Social Democrats in the Senate, Zdenek Vojir, stated that the committee had made specific recommendations to the prime minister for who should be removed. Vojir refused to comment who the committee had selected, but stated that the minister for local development was not one of them. According to Vojir, it is up to the prime minister whether or not to act on these recommendations.
An independent British organisation that is assessing the Y2K preparations of airspace systems around the world has warned against flying to the Czech Republic at the end of the year. The Czech Republic is one of ten countries, including Poland, Hungary, Russia and Italy, which, according to the organisation Taskforce 2000 represents a serious risk for travellers, as there is inconclusive proof that its airspace computer systems are ready for the change over to the new millennium. This follows a similar move by the State Transport Department in the USA last month. The head of Czech air traffic control, Petr Materna, has called Taskforce 2000s claim nonsense, and stated that the Czech Republics airspace system is one hundred percent prepared to face the year 2000. He stated that Czech air traffic control has worked very closely with International Air Transport Association and completed its preparations in October.
In an interview for the German weekly newspaper Der Spiegel, Czech Predient Vaclav Havel claims that Russian oppression is chiefly to blame for terrorism in the Caucasus. According to Havel, Russia has been behaving arrogantly towards the nations in the Caucasus for a long time, and that this is responsible for the growth in fundamentalism and terrorism in the region. Havel stated that he is deeply dissatisfied with what Russia is doing in Chechnya, and has been for some time. Human rights should be respected throughout the world, the president concluded.
The leader of the Czech Communist Party, Miroslac Grebenicek, has warned against euphoria at the partys continued success in public opinion polls. Over the past few months the Communist have been gaining steadily on the other leading political parties, and has been in second place for some time. Grebecinek made his remarks in his opening speech at the meeting of the partys central committee. Despite his warning, he encouraged the party to make preparations for the next elections. He then attacked the Social Democrat government, which he said had lost its left-of-centre policies and for becoming a willing hostage of the opposition centre-right Civic Democrats via the opposition agreement that keeps the minority Social Democrat government in power.
And finally the weather. The weather on Sunday will bring us cloudy skies, with the possibility of fog in places. Maximum temperatures should reach ten degrees centigrade. And that was the news.
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