News Friday, AUGUST 27th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first the news headlines.

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

Police arrest football hooligans who threw rocks at train

Police in the north Moravian city of Ostrava say they have arrested six youths who threw rocks and petrol bombs at a train carrying rival football fans to a match in the city two weeks ago. A female passenger received serious head injuries after being struck on the head by a rock and is still recovering in hospital. A police spokesman said the six youths were aged between 18 and 26 and were all hardcore fans of Banik Ostrava football club. Police say the attack was meticulously planned and executed. Fellow gang-members travelling on the train used mobile phones to inform their accomplices on the ground which carriages the rival fans were travelling in. The incident caused widespread shock and anger among the public, and also raised questions about worsening violence at football matches in the country.

Kuzvart says EU would help pay for environment-friendly motorway

The Czech Environment Minister Milos Kuzvart has said the European Union may be willing to finance up to two-thirds of the costs of a new motorway between Prague and Dresden, if the Czech government produces a proposal which is more favourable to the local environment. The new motorway would run through the Central Highlands region, which is an area of protected natural beauty. Mr Kuzvart, speaking after talks with his German counterpart Juergen Trittin in Prague, said his ministry would continue to block the planned motorway until the Transport Ministry came up with a plan more favourable to the environment, such as building a tunnel through parts of the Central Highlands.

German minister casts doubt on Temelin safety

Meanwhile Mr Trittin told reporters that doubts existed as to whether the Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia would be able to meet European Union safety standards. The German environment minister said Temelin made neither environmental nor economic sense. Mr Trittin, a member of Germany´s coalition Green Party, said Temelin could have a negative effect on Czech attempts to join the EU. Earlier the Czech environmental organisation Duha said a government report showed that completion of the plant was being hampered by deepening financial problems. Duha says the state-owned utility company responsible for Temelin´s completion is again experiencing delays. Some 71 billion crowns has already been spent on the plant, completion of which has been repeatedly postponed over the last decade. The government decided to complete Temelin in May, following assurances from the Trade and Industry Ministry that the planned cost and date of completion would not be exceeded.

18,500 illegal border crossings in first seven months of 1999

Police say some eighteen and half thousand people crossed the Czech border illegally in the first seven months of this year. In July alone there were more than 3,000 illegal border crossings, most of them on the border with Germany. Most of the illegal migrants were from eastern Europe, Afghanistan, India and China. The Czech government is reportedly planning to re-impose visas for citizens of seven former Soviet Union countries, and will possibly extend the visa duty to include Romania, Bulgaria and Cuba.

Fifth planeload of Kosovo Albanian refugees leaves for Balkans

Another plane carrying Kosovo Albanian refugees back to their homeland left Ostrava´s Mosnov airport on Friday morning. The programme of voluntary repatriation began on August 13th, and since then just under half of the 1,100 Kosovo Albanians who were granted temporary asylum in the Czech Republic have been returned to Kosovo. The refugees were given one thousand German marks each as a gift from the Czech government. Those refugees with serious health problems have also been given three months´ worth of medical supplies.


And we´ll end as usual with a quick look at Friday´s weather. We´re expecting a mostly cloudy day here in the Czech Republic, with scattered showers and storms in places. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 26 degrees Celsius, dropping to 12 degrees tonight. And the forecast for the weekend - tomorrow mostly cloudy with the chance of showers, Sunday a bit brighter but again the chance of rain in places.

I´m Rob Cameron, and that's the end of the news.