News of Radio Prague

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Cabinet stands firm on movement of labour negotiation

The Czech Cabinet has decided not to give-in to the EU's efforts to limit the free movement of labour within the Union after enlargement. The Czech Republic's chief negotiator on EU expansion, Pavel Telicka told the Czech News Agency on Thursday that Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, had asked the government to stand firm and refuse to close the free movement of labour chapter. His request was granted as government officials felt that the conditions set down by the EU were ungrounded and unacceptable to the Czech Republic. The chapter is supposed to be closed on July 27th during an inter-governmental conference. Mr. Telicka, however, suggested that the Czech Republic would not take part in discussions on the chapter in question. At a press conference in Prague, the Cabinet's decision received praise by the European Commission's Eneko Landaburu, who said that it was a complicated problem and a solution could only be found with lots of time and effort.

Roma Community accuses government of sacrificing Roma citizens for EU membership

Members of the Roma community have said that the Czech government is sacrificing the freedom of its Roma citizens in order to enter the EU. The accusations were made after British immigration officials began checking passengers to London at Prague's Ruzyne airport on Wednesday and refused several Roma asylum seekers entry to Great Britain, on the grounds that they did not qualify for asylum. Mikulas Horvath, a representative of the Roma Initiative, has blamed the Social Democratic government for Britain's strict approach, adding that it would grant any demand made, simply to please a country with so much influence on the EU enlargement process.

Austria's EU commissioner visits Prague

Austria's commissioner for EU expansion, Erhard Busek, said on Thursday that the Austrian-Czech dispute over the Temelin nuclear power plant would not influence his government's attitude to EU enlargement. He added, however, that Temelin had a large influence on the internal political scene and would not be taken lightly by Austria. When asked how much credence he gave to other Austrian politicians' threats that Temelin would affect the Czech Republic's accession in the EU, Mr. Busek answered that opposition to Temelin would reduce once the Melk agreement is fully implemented.

Czech villages protest against the oldest profession

On a related note, the Austrian Press Agency has reported that whilst Austrian citizens are complaining about the Czech people's stand on Temelin, Czech villages are appalled by the growing number of Austrian men who cross the border to use the services of Czech prostitutes. Some protesters are even thinking of printing posters begging Austrian women to watch their men more closely.

Internet use on the rise

A study made by the Taylor Nelson Sofres Factum Agency in June showed that the number of Internet users in the Czech Republic is on the rise. Over a quarter of the Czech population over the age of 18, make use of the Internet - two thirds of those users do so at work. On the other hand, seven percent of the population have not only never used it but have never even heard of the Internet. The number of people accessing the Internet through their mobile phones is also on the rise. The first cars with access to the internet will be available on the Czech market by the end of July. One such example is Volkswagen's latest VW Golf e-generation model, which includes technology from Hewlett-Packard that allows passengers to check their e-mail as they drive.

Czech banks take to downsizing

This year alone, some 2000 workers have had to leave three of the Czech Republic's biggest banks as a result of downsizing. The CSOB, Komercni Banka, and the Czech Savings Bank are all in a process of redirecting their business to electronic and direct banking.

3-day border campaign leaves 13 people deported

During an extensive 3-day investigation concentrated on the Czech-Slovak border, the Czech police finally tracked down a wanted man, six foreigners who were registered as personae non-grata, and found two stolen cars. Furthermore, 24 foreigners living in the Czech Republic illegally and 13 people who had crossed the border without authorisation were also caught. As a result of the investigation, the police deported 13 foreign nationals and refused to grant 32 people permission to enter the country.

Young parishioner on foot to the Holy Land

Armed with only a sleeping bag, a compass and an extra pair of shoes, a 28-year-old parishioner made his way to Jerusalem on foot this week. Petr Badosek, from the town of Znojmo decided to re-live the Middle Ages by setting off on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Mr. Badosek will have to walk through Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan - a journey of some 5000 km. Having not prepared for the trip in any way, he'll only have his compass and a few maps that he tore out of an atlas to guide the way. He is also limited by time as his visas to Syria and Jordan are only valid for six months. If no-one offers him a place to sleep, he'll simply use his sleeping bag under the hopefully clear blue skies outside.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Friday shall also see overcast skies with temperatures ranging between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Friday night is expected to be cloudy with occasional showers and with temperatures dropping to a minimum of 10 degrees Celsius. Scattered showers shall continue throughout Saturday and with day-time temperatures between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius.