News of Radio Prague

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Blair meets politicians and WWII veterans in Prague

The British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the Benes decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of 2.5 million ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after WWII, belong to history and should not stand in the way of Czech entry to the European Union. Mr Blair made the comments in a visit to Prague on Monday, holding talks with his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, Senate Chairman Petr Pithart, and the speaker of the lower house, Vaclav Klaus. During his visit he thanked the Czech Republic for its participation in the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism and showed his appreciation for the Czech field hospital in Afghanistan and Czech chemical unit in the Middle East. He also discussed European integration and Czech-British business relations. Mr Blair also met Czech WWII veterans, who took the opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for the hospitality Great Britain gave them during the war. After the meeting, Mr Blair shook hands and gave out autographs to passers-by and British students based in Prague.

President Havel extends trip to Malta

Czech President Vaclav Havel, who is currently on a state visit to Malta, has decided to extend his trip by a week due to the pleasant weather conditions in the country that doctors say are good for his health problems. President Havel accepted the invitation of Malta's President Guido de Marco to stay in the country longer and will therefore not be coming back this Tuesday, as planned, but in ten days instead. President Havel met his Maltese counterpart on Monday to discuss EU enlargement - both countries are aspiring to EU membership - and the situation in the Middle East.

Roma community celebrates International Day of the Roma

April 8th is designated as the International Day of the Roma and the Czech civic association Athinganoi organised a seminar in Prague. Sociologists, members of the Roma Community, and others dealing with Roma issues took the opportunity to share their experiences and talk about Roma identity in the Czech Republic and the rest of the world. Athinganoi's chairperson, Yveta Kenetyova, placed much importance on an ethnic group's identity adding that the Roma would not have survived the 500 years of forced assimilation if they weren't aware of their ethnicity and culture. After the seminar, members of the Roma community walked to Charles Bridge to throw flowers into the Vltava river symbolising the Roma's journey from India.

Gross plans to increase number in police force with experiment

The Czech Interior Minister, Stanislav Gross, hopes to increase the number of police in the force by decreasing the conditions for the qualification of new officers. The project, which is to involve tens of candidates is expected to be launched in Prague and the Central Bohemian region in the near future. One of the conditions dropped will be the need for a secondary school degree.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Monday will have partially clear skies with occasional rain and temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius.