Daily news summary News Tuesday, JUNE 20th, 2000

20-06-2000

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I am Libor Kubik, and we start the program with a brief news bulletin. First the headlines:

Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail.

CZECH-CIS-REFUGEES

Ten refugees from the former Soviet Union spent the night outside the Cuban embassy in Prague protesting against allegedly poor conditions in Czech refugee camps and demanding to be granted political asylum in Cuba.

Our correspondent says the protesters have with them a letter to the Cuban leader Fidel Castro, complaining of harsh discrimination of refugees in the Czech Republic.

CZECH-BANK-TAKEOVER

President Vaclav Havel and Prime Minister Milos Zeman are to meet on Friday to discuss the situation in the Czech banking sector in the aftermath of the collapse of the private IPB Bank.

All assets and liabilities of the troubled IPB Bank will be passed on to the CSOB bank, which bought IPB on Monday after three days of uncertainty over the fate of IPB, which was placed under forced administration on Friday.

The central bank's governor Josef Tosovsky says the government is giving full guarantees for all IPB assets, liabilities and future obligations.

The CSOB said the price of the purchase would be announced later. The bank's spokesman said that until an audit to establish the IPB's net price, both banks would continue to function separately.

The spokesman said the audit would be completed within the next three to six months.

The collapse of the IPB bank continues to cause disagreement on the Czech political scene, and opposition parties have criticised Friday's incident in which a group of armed and masked police commandos entered the bank's headquarters in order to protect its newly appointed administrator.

CZECH-AIR-CRASH-NUCLEAR

A Czech environmental organisation says Friday's crash of a Czech Air Force fighter plane near a nuclear power plant in Moravia has revealed how close to a nuclear disaster parts of Central Europe could be.

A Soviet-built SU-22, crashed near the town of Trebic a few kilometres north of the Dukovany Nuclear Power Station. The pilot bailed out but was killed.

The international association Citizens for the Environment, based in Ceske Budejovice, said on Monday that the Dukovany plant's protective envelope or dome was not strong enough to endure the impact of a plane crash. It said that a burnt-out nuclear fuel depot in the plant's compound also lacked adequate protection.

CZECH-EU-ENLARGEMENT

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has said he believes that his country's approximation with the EU thus far will be thoroughly surveyed in the second half of the year when EU presidency is held by France.

European Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen will arrive in the Czech Republic on Thursday to discuss EU enlargement issues at public rallies in several Czech towns, including Hradec Kralove in eastern Bohemia and Prostejov in southern Moravia.

CZECH-POLITICS-RATINGS

The coalition of four centre-right Czech opposition parties would win the parliamentary elections if they were held today. This according to a survey conducted by the Czech STEM polling agency released on Monday.

The survey shows that the four-party coalition would win even if the votes were counted according to the new electoral system, proposed and advocated by the ruling Social Democrats and their power-sharing partners, the Civic Democrats.

The survey indicates that the amendment to the electoral law, drafted by both parties, need not lead to forming a strong government and does in fact strengthen the Communists at the expense of the two strongest parties. It also indicates that the elections could send the partnership between the Social and Civic Democrats to an early grave since the Social Democrats could lose their following and would not be able any more to gain cabinet seats.

CZECH-US-CAVIAR

Customs officials at Boston International Airport have detained two Czechs trying to smuggle 72 kilos of caviar into the United States. One of them claimed he needed the caviar for himself because he was on a special diet.

The Czech news agency CTK reported on Tuesday that the incident occurred a week ago. It said the caviar, from an endangered sturgeon variety from the Caspian, would have fetched between 1,000 and 2,000 dollars on the U.S. market.

If convicted, the two Czechs would face up to five years in jail and a fine of up to 250,000 dollars.

CZECH-WEATHER

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

It will be a very hot Tuesday here in the Czech Republic, with daytime highs between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius and hardly any wind. Nighttime lows will be between 14 and 18 Celsius.

Wednesday will be another hot summer day, daytime highs between 29 and 33 degrees, and the weatherman says there could be scattered thunderstorms late in the afternoon.

The current heat-wave will culminate on Thursday when afternoon temperatures are expected to reach a tropical 34 degrees Celsius, dropping to a balmy 19 degrees at night.

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

20-06-2000