News of Radio Prague

Police out in force for neo-Nazi concert

Police in the town of Mlada Boleslav are reported to be out in force for Saturday's neo-Nazi concert. A neo-Nazi gathering in the town of Senohraby last weekend resulted in a sharp reprimand from the Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross who slammed the police for allegedly turning a blind eye to racial abuse. The minister vowed to make the issue a top priority, saying he would not allow the country to become a home base for Europe's neo-Nazis. Asked to disclose the names of the bands which will be performing for Saturday's gathering of skinheads and neo-Nazis Daniel Maly, one of the organizers of the event, said that a German band would be performing but that he could not remember its name and was not sure whether or not it was neo- Nazi. The concert is expected to last until the small hours.

Meanwhile, over 100 skinheads gathered at the town graveyard on Saturday afternoon to pay homage to the memory of a 22 year old friend who was killed in a fight five years ago. A judge later released the man responsible saying that he had acted in self defense. Although there were chants of "blood for blood" and vows to avenge the death, police report that the afternoon gathering passed without incident.

More control over human rights situation needed

The government's human rights commissioner Jan Jarab is pushing for the establishment of a special institution to monitor the human rights situation in the Czech Republic. Although the Czech Republic now has an Ombudsman to deal with individual cases of human rights abuse, Jarab told the CTK news agency that the country needed an institution that would actively monitor the human rights situation in high risk areas such orphanages, old peoples homes and psychiatric clinics. The Ombudsman acts on a given complaint, but some people may not be in a position to complain and be totally at the mercy of others, which is why we need systematic control, Jarab said. In the coming days he is to discuss the project with representatives of five ministries.

Czechs and Germans search for origin of unspecified pollutant

Czech and German officials are investigating the origin of an unspecified pollutant that is reported to be the cause of unexplained headaches and nausea. People living in the vicinity of the Czech Republic's north-western border with Germany, mainly the towns Olbernhau, Seiffen and Deutschneudorf have been complaining of a persistent smell that reportedly gives them headaches and nausea. Czech officials in the Mostecko region claim that the unspecified pollutant is not coming from any industrial plant on their side of the border, saying that all emissions of potentially harmful substances are closely monitored and have not exceeded set limits. The two sides have agreed on an exchange of information regarding local pollutants in order to locate the possible cause of the problem.

President Havel on health holiday

President Havel will spend the next two weeks at his private sea-side residence in Portugal. The President's spokesman said that the head of state was on a health vacation recommended by his doctors. He is accompanied by the First Lady Dagmar Havel and his personal physician Ilya Kotik. The president who is prone to bronchitis has had weak lungs since his dissident days when he failed to get treatment for pneumonia while in prison. His health was further taxed by cancer surgery in 1996 during which doctors removed a part of his lung.

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast: it is a very cold Easter weekend here in the Czech Republic. Saturday was a cold and windy day with scattered snow showers and more snow is expected to fall overnight. Nighttime temps are expected to drop to minus five degrees C. On Sunday the weather will remain much the same, with partly cloudy skies, brief intervals of sunshine, snow showers and day temps between two and six degs C.