News of Radio Prague

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Helsinki Committee allowed to monitor British immigration officers at Ruzyne

The director of the Czech Helsinki Committee, Jana Chrzova, has announced that as of Monday her colleague will be allowed to monitor interviews between passengers and British immigration officers at Prague's Ruzyne airport. Speaking after a meeting with the British chargé d'affaires in Prague, Denis Keef, Mrs Chrzova said she appreciated the decision, saying it was an expression of good will. The Czech Helsinki Committee, as well as members of the Roma community, some politicians and several human rights organizations have rejected Britain's claim that all Czech citizens are approached in the same way. So far, British immigration officers at Ruzyne have turned away more than a hundred passengers to Britain, most of them Roma.

Most politicians prefer controls to visa requirement

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Lower House's Foreign Committee, Lubomir Zaoralek, told journalists on Friday that he fully disagreed with statements by some politicians, who said the introduction of visas for Czech citizens were preferable to British immigration controls. Mr Zaoralek said such a move would be anti-European and could have a negative impact on the Czech Republic and its accession to the European Union. The Speaker of the Lower House Vaclav Klaus is one of those favouring visas rather than the British controls at Prague Airport.

Neighbourhood patrols in Ostrava report cases of racial discrimination

Roma neighbourhood patrols, established last week in the North Moravian city of Ostrava, intend to file a lawsuit for a case of racial discrimination, after a local Roma man was refused entry to a restaurant. Representatives of the local Roma Initiative told the CTK news agency they were not going to disclose details before a press conference planned for next week. The local police say, however, that they have no information about any complaints lodged by either the Roma neighbourhood patrols or the far-right Republican patrols, who say they are defend "the rights of white people".

ERRC: UN Human Rights Committee critical of Czech minority policy

The Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre says the UN Human Rights Committee has come to the conclusion that the Czech government is not pursuing a proper human rights policy, and is especially critical of its approach to the Roma minority. The Centre's acting director, Dimitrina Petrova, said her committee expected the Czech cabinet to take all the necessary steps to improve the situation of the Roma in the Czech Republic and being its policy towards the minorities in line with international law. The government's Commissioner for Human Rights, Jan Jarab, as well as deputy Prime Minister Pavel Rychetsky, have denied the allegations, describing them as misleading.

Diesel tanker overturns, no major damage

A tanker carrying 10,000 litres of diesel oil was involved in a collision near the village of Cista in Central Bohemia on Friday, skidding off the road and turning over. Most of the oil has been removed by firemen, and no major environmental damage has been reported. The local road was closed for nearly the whole morning.

Weather report

And finally, the weather forecast: we're expecting a cloudy weekend with rain showers and thunderstorms. Daytime highs between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius on Saturday, and up to only 24 degrees on Sunday.