News of Radio Prague

Spain to push for agreement on free movement of labour

The Spanish foreign minister has said his government will push for an agreement with 12 other EU members to allow the free movement of labour, after the Czech Republic joins the European Union. Josep Pique, speaking after a meeting in Prague with his Czech counterpart Jan Kavan, said Spain was in favour of all the countries in the EU except for Germany and Austria applying the free movement of labour principle as soon as EU enlargement takes place. The EU has agreed to allow individual countries to restrict the free movement of labour for new members for up to seven years after enlargement. The move follows heavy pressure from Germany and Austria - where there are fears of a flood of workers from neighbouring ex-Communist countries.

European Commission: pragmatic Czechs see EU membership as inevitable

A new study produced for the European Commission shows the majority of Czechs are in favour of their country's membership of the European Union. The study claimed Czechs were far more pragmatic about EU membership than citizens of other candidate countries - EU optimists in the country were less enthusiastic, and EU sceptics weighed up the pros and cons in a rational fashion, according to the study. The Commission also suggested that citizens of the Czech Republic had far more faith in their chief negotiators than elsewhere, and said most Czechs believed their country would join the EU within 3 to 5 years.

British Embassy says Czech citizens cannot apply for asylum in Prague

A spokesman for the British Embassy has said Czech citizens cannot apply for asylum at the embassy in Prague, contradicting comments by a senior Czech Foreign Ministry official. Embassy spokesman Zbynek Havranek told the Czech News Agency on Tuesday that in a democratic country foreign citizens can only apply at the British embassy for visas or permission to enter Britain, and not asylum. The deputy Foreign Minister, Martin Palous, had reassured the public recently that members of the Roma community - many of whom have been prevented from entering Britain under new tough immigration measures - could still apply for asylum at the British Embassy in Prague. Under the new measures, British immigration officers are now based at Prague's Ruzyne Airport to question all passengers bound for the UK. Since the scheme was introduced last week, around 50 people have been denied access to Britain, most of whom were Czech citizens of Roma origin. The Ostrava branch of the Roma Civic Initiative said on Tuesday it would take the Czech government to court over the measures.

Police in Nachod investigate local paper for Holocaust denial

Police in the north-eastern town of Nachod say they are investigating a local newspaper accused of spreading racial hatred. The newspaper, published by the far-right National Social Bloc, reportedly published an article denying the existence of the Holocaust. The paper's former publisher, a member of Nachod Town Council for the far-right Patriotic Republican Party, has denied the accusations. The article was brought to the attention of the police by the Culture Minister Pavel Dostal.

Lorries block border crossing in protest at restrictions

Several dozen lorries blocked part of a road leading to the Hevlin border crossing with Austria on Tuesday night, in protest at restrictions to when they are allowed to use the crossing. Previously there were no restrictions on when the lorries could use the crossing, but measures were recently introduced limiting traffic from 4am to 10pm on weekdays. The lorries dispersed after about an hour.

Slovak rescue team saves Czech teenager after mountain fall

A helicopter rescue team in Slovakia's Tatra Mountains saved the life of a 15-year-old Czech tourist on Tuesday, after he suffered serious injuries in a fall. Rescue-workers and doctors battled against poor terrain and bad weather to reach the boy, who had suffered major head and back injuries. The boy was winched to safety by helicopter and taken to hospital in the town of Poprad. Six Czechs have died this year alone in climbing accidents in the Tatra Mountains.

Weather forecast

And finally a quick look at the weather. Thursday will see a band of high pressure gradually moving across the country from the west, bringing clearer skies to most parts of the country although the showery weather will continue in the east. Daytime temperatures on Thursday will peak at 26 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of 11 degrees.