News of Radio Prague

Roma protest against immigration controls

Monday's expected simultaneous demonstrations in Prague, Warsaw, Bucharest, London and Kosice by members of the Roma community against racial discrimination were very poorly attended, with more journalists than protesters present at the Prague protest. A demonstration of human rights activists did, however, take place in front of the Czech embassy in London and another small, almost silent gathering in front of the Czech Consulate in the Eastern Slovakian town of Kosice. Lead by the chairman of the Slovak Roma Council, Jozef Cervenak, the group protested against racism in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and some EU states. Monitored by the local police and two Czech consulate representatives, Mr. Cervenak read a letter addressed to Czech President Vaclav Havel and the Czech government, in which they strongly criticised racially motivated crimes against the Roma community and accused the British immigration officials currently stationed at Prague's airport of discriminatory practices. The letter was then handed over to the Czech general consul in Kosice, who promised to forward it to Prague.

Roma meet with Cibrian to discuss EU role in discrimination

Members of the Roma community met with the EU's ambassador to Prague, Ramiro Cibrian, on Monday to discuss British immigration controls currently in place at Prague's Ruzyne airport. Czech Roma and several human rights organisations believe that the British officials have been carrying out discriminatory practices by singling out Roma citizens and refusing them entry to the U.K. After the meeting, Mr. Cibrian said that the European Commission would simply monitor the situation and stressed that the airport controls were a result of an agreement between two sovereign states - the Czech Republic and Great Britain - and therefore the EU had very little left to say on the matter.

Helsinki Committee discontinues monitoring mission

From 9:00 to 14:00 on Monday, Czech Helsinki Committee representatives monitored British immigration officials at Prague's Ruzyne airport, where officials have been accused of discriminating against minorities. British embassy spokesman, Zbynek Havranek, claimed that the monitoring process would not continue. On Monday no Czech citizens were rejected entry into the U.K. but as the director of the Czech Helsinki Committee, Jana Chrzova pointed out, no members of the Roma community had attempted to travel to Britian while they had been monitoring the situation. The reason for that, she added, was because members of the Roma community had decided to either use other means to leave the country or wait until the British officials had left the airport.

Czech farmers faced with heavy losses after hail destroys crops

Czech farmers say that the violent storms that swept through the country last weekend caused significant damage to crops and resulted in huge financial losses. Farmers add that hailstorm showers have not only destroyed much of their crops but will also be responsible for reducing the quality of their produce. The areas most affected centre around the Moravian town of Zlin, where those affected can only hope that insurance will cover their losses. The storms have caused serious damage, worth millions of Czech crowns throughout the country, leaving two people dead and several injured. The Czech authorities have warned that some areas may not yet be safe. A 62 year-old woman, for example, was seriously injured and rushed to hospital on Monday, when a heavy branch, weakened by the storms, fell on her.

Last week's fatal accident to have been pilot's fault

The spokesman of the Czech airforce, Petr Fajl, has said that a fatal plane crash last Wednesday was caused by pilot error. The 28 year-old man was flying the L-39 Albatros jet from a base in Prague to another in Moravia when he crashed en route. Mr. Fajl told the CTK news agency that following an inspection of the flight recorder, the so-called black box, it is quite certain that the pilot had performed unauthorised acrobatic manoeuvres with the plane before he lost control and crashed near the Moravian town of Pelhrimov. He added that the investigation is still underway to determine whether technical faults were also to blame.

Czech girl missing in Ecuador

The Czech police have asked Interpol to assist them in their search for a 28 year-old Czech girl who went missing a month ago during a trip to Ecuador. The search for Jana Kubistova begun on June 27th when her parents filed a missing persons report with the Czech police. According to a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, the Czech government immediately informed the Czech embassy in Columbia, the Czech honorary consulate in Ecuador and the Ecuadorian authorities, but, all possible efforts, including a TV, radio, and press campaign, there has been no trace of the girl.


And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Tuesday shall see occasional showers throughout the country with thunderstorms in the western area. Temperatures shall range between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. Tuesday night is expected to be cloudy with occasional showers in Bohemia but should be dry with partially clear skies in Moravia and Silesia. Night-time temperatures shall drop to a minimum of 13 degrees Celsius. Showers are expected throughout the country on Wednesday with temperatures reaching a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius in Bohemia and 27 degrees Celsius in Moravia and Silesia.