News Sunday, AUGUST 22nd, 1999

Radio Prague E-news Date: August 22st, 1999

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail

Czech Republic gives Turkey more aid

The Czech Republic has rushed 1,000 litres of the fire extinguisher Pyrocool to Turkey where it is to be used to prevent a possible rekindling of fire at the oil refinery near Izmit. The substance was flown to Ankara in the course of Friday night following an appeal from Turkish authorities. A team of Czech firefighters was on the flight as well and according to chief in command Petr Ludvicek 1,000 liters of the substance Pyrocool can serve to make a quarter of a million liters of the most effective extinguishing and cooling foam known to man. The Czech Republic reportedly has the biggest reserves of Pyrocool on the European continent. Czech emergency crews are helping the international rescue effort and the foreign ministry has instructed the Czech Catholic Charity to assemble half a million crowns worth of medicaments which are to be rushed to Turkey as soon as possible.

Czechs mark anniversary of the 1968 invasion

A ceremony outside the Czech Radio building on Vinohradska on Saturday August 21st, marked the 31st anniversary of the Russian led invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops which crushed the burgeoning Prague Spring reform movement. The radio building was the site of one of the worst clashes between the occupants and Czechs protesting their presence in the country. Paying homage to the memory of those who lost their lives speakers stressed that the nation should not forget this tragic era of its history and learn a painful lesson from it. We bow to those who refused to bow, one of the speakers told the small crowd which assembled for the ceremony, as several people openly shed tears. Among those present were the director of Czech Radio Vaclav Kasik, Prague mayor Jan Kasl and deputy defense minister Jaromir Novotny .

The Olas Romanies bury their king

The Olas Romanies from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Germany assembled in Ostrava on Saturday to bury their king Josef Smolka who died at age 72 earlier this week. The Olas Romanies who origionally come from Rumania today have over a million members scattered all over Europe. They are a closed society who have their own strict values and court of law and are entirely loyal to their king. Ostrava witnessed an outpouring of grief mixed with the sounds of the harmonica as the Romas followed the cortege. The Roma believe in after life and the king’s coffin was filled with money, gold, jewelry, alcohol and even a pack of cards to help him into the next world.

Refugees go on hunger strike

Twenty Kosovo refugees who went on a hunger strike on Friday in protest of plans to move them to a new location say they will persevere until the authorities address their case. Since close to 50 of the 70 member group of Bosnian refugees who are now housed in a camp in Kasava, Moravia have decided to return to their homeland the authorities had made plans to transfer the remaining 20 to a different refugee camp located some distance away for purely practical reasons. However the refugees in question are adamant about not wanting to make the move saying they had grown used to the place, made friends and found the odd job. The authorities are expected to address the issue on Monday.

Skinhead gathering passes without incident

A skinhead gathering on Prague’s Namesti Miru passed without incident on Saturday thanks to a strong police presence in the centre of town. The gathering itself, which was allegedly to commemorate the last victims of the SWW , but which anarchists claim was to mark the death anniversary of Nazi leader Rudolf Hess , took place under close police surveillance, and when around 50 or so skinheads proceeded to march through the centre of town to the Old Town Square they were flanked by police who prevented skirmishes with anarchists.

And finally a look at the weather: Sunday should be another partly cloudy and fairly cool day with temps between 17 and 21 degs. C. We are told to expect morning fog and possibly some drizzle in the course of the day. Nighttime lows between 11 and 7 degs C.