News of Radio Prague

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Two people killed by violent storms

Two people died over the weekend, as violent storms swept through the Czech Republic on Friday and Saturday nights. Both were killed by falling trees, as winds in some areas reached hurricane force. Several areas were without electricity throughout the weekend. The dome of a church in the Czech Republic's second city of Brno had to be removed after winds of well over a hundred kilometres per hour had left the tower structurally unstable. Near the town of Jihlava a train was derailed by a fallen tree, but there were no injuries.

Helsinki assembly monitoring British immigration officials

Members of the Czech Helsinki Assembly have begun monitoring the work of British immigration officials, who are interviewing Czech citizens before allowing them to board planes bound for Britain. The Helsinki Assembly is concerned that the interviews are humiliating and discriminate against Romanies. Roma organizations are to hold further protests against the measures in Prague today, and protests are also planned in Bratislava, Bucharest, London and Warsaw.

Service of remembrance for victims of political trials

A service of remembrance was held in the town of Jihlava on Sunday morning to remember those who were put to death during the political trials of the 1950s. The service marked the fiftieth anniversary of the execution of eleven men, after one of the most controversial show-trials of the period. The trial followed the shooting of three communist officials in the village of Babice in July 1951, which the Stalinist authorities used as an excuse for widespread reprisals. Otto Stehlik from the Confederation of Political Prisoners, said that the ceremony was not being held in a mood of vengeance, but as a warning that such things should never happen again. He added that the perpetrators of state-sponsored terror had never been brought to justice.

Foreign Minister undergoes operation

The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, has been released from hospital after a successful operation to relieve congested arteries. A ministry spokeswoman said that the operation would not affect Mr Kavan's workload, because he would be beginning his summer vacation on Monday. Mr Kavan, who has a history of heart disease, underwent a multiple heart bypass operation in December last year.

Czech children from Romania

Thirty-nine children belonging to Romania's ethnically Czech minority have arrived in the Czech Republic for a month-long summer camp. The children are all bilingual, and are the descendants of Czech settlers who migrated to Romania in the 1820s. One of the organizers of the camp, Jiri Janota, stressed that the Czech communities had never lost their identity, and he pointed out that children in the Czech villages still learn Czech at school up to the age of eleven.

Temelin reactor to be restarted this week

The spokesman of the Temelin nuclear power plant in the south of the Czech Republic has said that repairs to the main turbine of the plant's first reactor are almost complete, and it will be put into trial operation again within the next few days. Problems with the turbine led to the reactor being shut down at the beginning of May. The spokesman denied claims in the media that the problems with the turbine were more serious than originally thought. On Sunday, the Austrian protest group "Stop Temelin" released a statement condemning a recent Czech report on the impact of the plant on the environment. They described the report as a collection of jokes, and accused the Czech side of ignoring all recommendations put forward by Austria.

More people are travelling by train

A new study reveals that the Czech Republic was the only country in Central Europe to see an increase in the number of people travelling by train last year, with a rise of over four percent. In Poland, Hungary and Slovakia passenger numbers fell, but in all four countries there was an increase in the transport of goods. In Europe as a whole passenger numbers were up by just under one percent.

Czech tennis success

And some quick sporting news. The twenty-five-year-old Czech tennis player Adriana Gersi has won her first major international victory, at the WTA tournament in Basel. She beat the local favourite Marie-Gaiane Mikaelian confidently in two sets 6:4, 6:1.

Weather

And finally a glance at the weather. Despite a sunny start, it will become increasingly cloudy in the course of the day with temperatures not much over twenty degrees Celsius. It will be similar on Tuesday, but in the course of the week temperatures will again creep up to the mid twenties.