News of Radio Prague

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Senate passed bill on opening StB secret police files

The Czech Senate passed a bill on Friday allowing Czech citizens to look at almost all documents gathered by the former communist secret police the StB.

The Senate-proposed bill was passed by the Lower House at the beginning of January and has yet to be signed by the President. StB documents which could harm the state's security interests or threaten human lives will not be made available. Currently people can only see their own StB files.

German government: no problems from past in Czech Republic's way to EU

The German government does not see any obstacles to the Czech Republic's joining the European Union despite the recent controversy over the two countries' past, the German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christoph Zoepel said on Friday. Mr Zoepel made the announcement at a conference marking the 5th anniversary of the signing of the Czech-German Declaration. Mr Zoepel said it was in Germany's interest that the Czech Republic and other candidate countries join the EU. The Czech-German Declaration signed in 1997 lays emphasis on the fact that historical problems should not burden the two countries' relations. According to Mr Zoepel, the past did not complicate the Czech Republic's accession to NATO in 1999 and it is not going to cause difficulties in the country's plans to join the EU.

Lower unemployment and steady inflation rate in February

The Czech Republic posted lower unemployment and a steady inflation rate last month, officials said in Prague on Friday. The government said that unemployment had fallen to 9.3 percent in February, from 9.4 percent the previous month. The rate was 9 percent in February 2001. Unemployment rates ranged from around 3 percent in Prague to 16 percent in the North Moravian city of Ostrava and nearly 22 percent in Most in North Bohemia. Meanwhile, despite big price hikes for home phone services and rail travel, the government said the monthly inflation rate stood at 4.6 percent, the same as in January.

Czech towns to express support for Tibetan people

Ninety-five town halls in Czech and Moravian cities and villages are going to fly the Tibetan flag this weekend as a show of moral support for the Tibetan people living under Chinese rule. On March 10, 1959 a people's uprising was suppressed in the nation's capital Lhasa and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was forced into exile. Town halls in the Czech Republic first joined the global "Flag for Tibet" campaign in 1996 when four towns hoisted the Tibetan flag.

Czech illegal workers detained in USA

American immigration officers arrested 40 illegal workers, mostly Czechs and Slovaks, in Texas on Thursday. The police remanded the detainees in custody for breaching the United States immigration law, a police official said. Czechs and Slovaks in the United States often work illegally for less than the minimum wage. Two years ago, a US court sentenced a Czech citizen Roman Kosmel for illegal employment of immigrants.

Weather

Friday night will be cloudy with scattered rain showers and temperatures ranging from 5 to 1 degree Celsius. Saturday is expected to be bright and warm with temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius. Sunday should be partly cloudy with rain in places and snow in mountain areas. Daytime temperatures will range from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius.