News of Radio Prague

Controversial British immigration controls suspended from Thursday

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has announced that the controversial British immigration controls at Prague's Ruzyne Airport will be suspended as of Thursday, although Britain has said it is ready to reintroduce them if necessary. British immigration officers were stationed at the airport three weeks ago in a bid to prevent growing numbers of Czech Roma from applying for asylum in Britain. The British authorities have described the measures as a success: saying just 12 Czech citizens had applied for asylum in the last three weeks, compared to 204 in the three weeks before the measures were introduced. Thousands of Czech Roma have arrived in Britain in recent years, seeking asylum from what they describe as widespread racial discrimination at home. Britain says Czech citizens are not eligible for asylum, because they are not persecuted by the Czech state.

Roma heading for Britain via Poland, Germany

Roma groups have welcomed Tuesday's decision, but say it fails to address the problems that lead to Czech Roma fleeing the country in the first place. Leading Roma representative Ondrej Gina said it was now necessary to find ways to resolve the severe problems faced by the community. The immigration controls have been heavily criticised by Roma groups, who say they discriminate against all Roma, and not just Roma asylum seekers. Meanwhile a local Roma representative in the eastern city of Ostrava has said Roma asylum seekers have merely changed course, and are now heading for Britain via Poland and by plane from Germany.

TV Nova to screen anti-racist ads

The Czech Republic's most popular TV channel, TV Nova, is to screen dozens of adverts over the next month drawing attention to racial discrimination and intolerance in Czech society. The popular radio station Evropa 2 will play hundreds of similar messages. The adverts are part of a campaign launched by the League of Ethnic Minorities, and aim to explain to majority society how minorities feel living in the Czech Republic.

Temelin to be reactivated 'at the end of the week'

The head of the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power station has said the first reactor will be reactivated at the end of the week, and operators will bring Temelin up to half of its generating capacity for further tests. Temelin was put into test operation last October, but tests had to be abandoned to allow essential maintenance work on a faulty generating turbine. The Austrian Environment Ministry has said switching the plant back on is pointless, as there are still a number of serious safety problems. Temelin, situated close to the borders with Austria and Germany, is bitterly opposed by environmental activists in both countries, and the Austrian and German governments have both raised concerns over safety. The Czech Republic says the plant, which combines Soviet design with Western operating technology, is safe.

Austria begins compensation payments to former slave labourers

Austria has begun making compensation payments to people who were forced to work for Austrian firms during the Second World War. The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan said around 5,000 Czech citizens would receive compensation payments in the next few days, followed by another 2,000 by the end of August. But the payments arrived too late for many of the elderly claimants - around one in ten of whom have died since making their claims. Over 10,000 people were forced to work for Austrian firms as forced or slave labourers during the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia.

Interior Ministry: crime rate among police officers up by 30 percent

The Interior Ministry has reported a rise in the number of criminal offences committed by police officers. The ministry said it had investigated a total of 369 crimes committed by policemen and women in the first half of this year, a rise of 30 percent. Interior Minister Stanislav Gross denied that police crime itself was on the rise, claiming that the figures were due to better detection of crime within the police force. The most common offences were abuse of office and fraud, although there were also cases of criminal damage, theft and bribery.

Gullible customers pay dearly for mobiles at rock bottom prices

And police in the North Moravian town of Prerov say almost a dozen people have fallen victim to a fraudulent classified advert offering to sell mobile phones by post. A spokeswoman said ten people had sent off for the phones, only to receive parcels containing rocks in return. She said two local men had been arrested and charged with fraud.

Dvorak wins third world decathlon title

The Czech Republic's decathlon champion Tomas Dvorak has won his third successive title at the world athletics championships in Edmonton, Canada. The defending champion stole first place from overnight leader Dean Macey of Britain at the start of Tuesday's competition and went on to win in a world championship record of 8,902 points.

Weather forecast

And finally a quick look at the weather. And there's more cloudy weather in store for Thursday, with showers and storms in places. Daytime temperatures will peak at 25 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of around 12 degrees.