News of Radio Prague

Czechs soldiers help disarm Albanian rebels

Czech and French troops recently stationed in Macedonia are helping to disarm ethnic Albanian rebels as part of NATO's Essential Harvest operation. The operation started in the town of Slupchane, near Kumanovo, in the early hours of Monday. All roads leading into the town were reportedly blocked by Task Force Harvest troops and the handing over of weapons is said to have taken place under tight security. Each disarmed UCK fighter received a document in the Albanian language confirming that he had voluntarily handed over his weapon. Operation Essential Harvest is part of a recent peace agreement between the Macedonian government and Albanian leaders. 125 Czech soldiers are taking part in the operation.

Crime victim remains unknown

An autopsy performed on human body parts discovered in two separate packages over the weekend has not been able to ascertain whether the victim of the horrific crime was a man or woman. The packages, labeled with fictitious addresses in two different towns, were opened by post office employees because of the overpowering smell. One of the packages was said to contain an arm and a leg, the other more unspecified body parts. Although the sex of the victim remains unknown, the police have said the body parts were clearly not those of a child. There is currently a nationwide search on for two missing children, but the police have ruled out any link to the case.

Romanies protest against British immigration controls at Ruzyne

Czech Romanies have protested against the re-introduction of British immigration controls at Prague's Ruzyne Airport. The controversial screening programme is aimed at stopping what Britain calls bogus asylum seekers – who in this case are mainly members of the Czech Republic's Roma minority - from applying for asylum in Britain. Thousands of Czech Romanies have sought asylum in Britain since 1999, including more than 1,200 this year alone. The Czech government has approved the screening programme in order to avoid the introduction of a visa regime. However Czech politicians are divided over the issue and human rights organizations and Roma representatives claim that the measures are discriminatory and racist. The President of the International Roma Union Emil Scuka said he was convinced that the British immigration controls would not curb the flow of asylum seekers. Romanies who want to leave will use other states and other airports, he told the CTK news agency.

Minister Schling says someone else's head will roll

Transport minister Jaromir Schling has met with representatives of the Association of Car Importers and promised to set up a group of experts to revise a problematic law governing the import of second hand cars to the Czech Republic. The legislation, which is said to have created innumerable problems, was the main reason why the Association of Car Importers blockaded the Transport Ministry for over ten hours a week ago and demanded the minister's resignation. Minister Schling promised to make personnel changes but he refused to say who would bear responsibility for the mentioned problems.

Four people charged with promoting fascism

Four people who attended a skinhead concert in the West Bohemian city of Pilsen over the weekend have been charged with promoting fascism. Three are members of a Slovak rock group which performed at the concert, the fourth is a young girl who wore a T shirt covered with Nazi symbols. Police used force to end the gathering and detained twenty far-right extremists after participants began to chant the name of Nazi boss Rudolf Hess.

Illegal refugees sent back

A group of three dozen Romanian nationals who attempted to cross the Czech- German border illegally over the weekend have been sent back to Czech refugee camps. 38 of the 79 Romanian nationals who were detained by German border patrols on Saturday were found to have applied for asylum status in the Czech Republic. The group which included thirty children attempted to cross the border in three cars and a goods vehicle under cover of night. The case is under investigation.

And finally a quick look at the weather:

A cold front moving in from the north- west should bring some relief from the current heat wave. We can expect some scattered showers in the night and a significant drop in day temperatures on Tuesday. Afternoon highs are forecast at between 17 and 21 degs.