News of Radio Prague

CSA pilots threaten Friday strike over new overtime regulations

Pilots at the Czech Republic's national carrier, Czech Airlines, have threatened to go on strike on Friday over new regulations governing overtime and other conditions. The Czech Airline Pilots Association, which represents 250 of Czech Airlines' 350 pilots, said pilots still hoped the strike would be avoided, but said that talks with the airline's management had reached deadlock. The union said an amendment to the country's Labour Code had led to mistakes in the calculation of overtime, and that many pilots had not been paid fully as a result. The airline's management have said they were only acting according to the new regulations.

Zeman: halting Roma exodus will take time

The Czech Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, has said halting the exodus of members of the country's Roma community will take some time. Mr Zeman added that his government was taking steps towards integrating the Roma minority, but said it was naive to think that the Roma would stop leaving the country in a matter of weeks. Mr Zeman also said the Czech authorities must do more to crack down on far-right violence if they were to persuade Romanies not to leave. Thousands of Roma families have fled the Czech Republic in recent years, claiming asylum from what they describe as widespread discrimination. Britain recently introduced controversial immigration controls at Prague's Ruzyne Airport, to tackle what it describes as the systematic abuse of its asylum system by some Czech citizens.

Zeman: EU negotiations to be completed by 2002 elections

Mr Zeman also said the Czech government plans to close negotiations on entering the European Union, the country's main foreign policy aim since the 1989 fall of communism, by the June 2002 elections. Prague has so far closed 19 of the 31 chapters of negotiations, but talks on several thorny issues such as free movement of labour still lie ahead. Mr Zeman said he aimed to close five or six unspecified chapters by the end of the year, and the rest in first half of 2002 before the term of his minority Social Democrat cabinet runs out.

Fireman bring underground car park blaze under control

Firemen fought for several hours on Tuesday afternoon to bring a fire in an underground garage in Prague's Vinohradska Street under control. Seven firemen were treated for shock and one was injured as they fought back the blaze. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but several cars are said to have been destroyed.

Police to return to village after unearthing new clues in missing children case

Police will return to the Nesovice area of South Moravia on Thursday, after receiving fresh clues in the search for two local children missing since the beginning of August. Ten-year-old Jan Vosmansky and his 12-year-old sister Dagmar were reported missing on August 3rd, four days after leaving the nearby city of Brno with their Belgian brother-in-law for a tour of local castles. The search was intensified following the discovery of the man's body near his abandoned car. Police say the man, Stephan Knaepen, had committed suicide. There was no trace of the two children. Meanwhile TV Nova claimed on Tuesday that Knaepen was mentally unstable and once abducted the daughter and granddaughter of a wealthy Belgian banker. Nova said Knaepen, who had lived in the Czech Republic for some time, was also convicted in Belgium for attempted rape.

Brno detectives arrive in Prague for to co-ordinate gruesome inquiry

A team of detectives from Brno has arrived in Prague, as the investigation continues into the discovery of human body parts in two packages sent from Prague to Brno. An autopsy performed at the weekend failed to determine whether the victim of the crime was a man or woman. The packages, labelled with fictitious addresses, were opened by Brno post office employees last week. They contained a badly decomposed severed arm and leg, plus other unspecified body parts. Police have ruled out any connection with the missing children case, saying the body parts belonged to an adult or adolescent.

Czech government discuss sending beef to Serb refugee camps

The Czech government is discussing a plan to donate beef to refugee camps in Serbia, one week after confirming the country's second case of BSE, or mad cow disease. Agriculture Ministry spokesman Hugo Roldan said a decision on the plans would not be taken for several weeks, and that so far Prague had not received a definite answer as to whether Serb refugee camp officials would welcome Czech beef. The Czech meat industry suffered a blow in June when the first case of BSE was discovered in a Moravian dairy cow. Last week, a second cow tested positive for the brain-wasting disease, which has been linked to the fatal new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakobs disease in humans.

Algerian man sentenced to 12.5 years in absentia for killing girlfriend

An Algerian man has been sentenced in absentia to 12 and a half years in prison for the murder of his 24-year-old Czech girlfriend. The man, Nuari Ziruki, was found guilty of killing Ilona Landesfeldova in her Prague flat in January. Police say Ziruki, who was convicted on circumstantial evidence, left the country using a false passport. He is now being sought by Interpol.

Weather forecast

And finally a quick look at the weather. Thursday will be a mostly clear day, with sunshine throughout most of the country. Temperatures will rise in the daytime to highs of 24 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of eight degrees.