News of Radio Prague

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Tests confirm remaining cows BSE free

134 cows were slaughtered on Friday as a precautionary measure after a six-year-old cow tested positive for BSE, or mad cow disease, in the village of Dusejov in South Bohemia. The animals slaughtered were around the same age as the infected cow and although the source of the infection remains a mystery, they were considered potentially risky because they ate the same milk feed several years ago. The State Veterinary Authority announced on Saturday, that samples from the slaughtered cows were taken to the nearby town of Jihlava for testing, and results have shown that they were BSE free. A spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture said that the slaughter was being carried out using the same standards as in EU countries which had reported cases of mad cow disease.

Gothenburg: Accession talks to be complete by end of 2002

The EU's 15 member states have assured the candidate countries seeking EU membership that the end of 2002 will be the target date for closing negotiations with the most prepared candidates. During their closing statement at the EU summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Saturday, EU leaders said that this would make it possible for them to take part in the European Parliament elections of 2004 as fully fledged members. Sweden, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, has been pushing for a clearer timetable for enlargement, but Germany and France argued against making new promises, fearing that this would create unrealistic expectations. The EU statement also said that all candidate countries would have to pay more attention to minority rights and judicial and administrative reform to come closer to EU norms.

Border police detain 70 foreign nationals

The Czech border police have detained two groups of foreign nationals close to the Czech-German border who were allegedly trying to enter Germany illegally. Police sources said that one of the groups, 59 nationals from Romania, had tried to cross the border using three cars which bore stolen license plates. 33 of them had applied for asylum in the Czech Republic and were therefore taken to the corresponding authorities. The second group of 11 nationals from India was detained along with a 26-year old smuggler from the Northern Bohemian town of Most. Seven of them were also in the process of applying for asylum. The group is said to have flown to Moscow by plane, come to the Czech Republic by truck, spent a few days in hiding, and had continued through a forested area on foot before they were caught by the police near to the border.

NSB protests against EU and NATO membership

Police in the Northern Bohemian town of Liberec have arrested five members of the far-right National Socialist Bloc (NSB) for attempting to set light to a portrait of Czech President Vaclav Havel during a demonstration. Some 150 NSB members, observed by around 200 policemen, had gathered in the town to protest against EU and NATO membership, but also to try to attract new supporters for the party. The five men are being questioned and could face charges for breaching the peace and creating a disturbance.

Demonstrations

Saturday also saw a number of demonstrations on the streets of Prague, with the largest involving about 3000 people, mainly women and children, and which was meant to heighten awareness of breast cancer. All the participants, who gathered in Prague from all over the country, had to wear pink T-shirts which cost them 200 Czech crowns each, to support a breast cancer helpline. This helpline, which involves specialists giving advice to concerned women, has been operating for the past five months. The parade was accompanied by an orchestra and cheerleaders from the town of Cheb and managed to raise a little over half a million Czech crowns, or a little under 13 000 U.S. dollars, in the process.

In other parts of the city, a few hundred demonstrated to protest against the number of cars on the roads. The demonstration brought traffic to a halt in several areas of the city centre. The protesters were monitored by a number of police officers, who took no action against them, as the demonstration remained peaceful.

At the same time, some 30 young anarchists from the newly established movement called "Globalising resistance" demonstrated to increase awareness of the problem of child labour. Split in three groups, the protesters stopped passers-by and asked them to sign a petition against underage labour.

Weather forecast

And finally the weather forecast. Saturday's night-time temperatures are expected to drop to 9 degrees Celsius which shall rise again on Sunday to range between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius with overcast skies and occasional showers and thunder storms in places.