News Sunday, OCTOBER 03th, 1999

Radio Prague E-News Written/Read by: Vladimir Tax

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I'm Vladimir Tax and here's the news. First the headlines.

These are the main points and now the news in more detail.

Price war boosts Roma exodus

British authorities have reported an increase in the number of Czech Romanies who seek asylum in Britain over the past week. The reason is a price war between airline companies Go and CSA which both offer flights from Prague to London for around 100 pounds. According to immigration officers at the Stansted airport, North of London, more than 20 Czech Romanies arrive every day. Thousands of Romanies are also camping near the Prague airport to board these cheap flights.

In the first eight months of this year, more than 1000 Roma families from the Czech Republic applied for asylum in Britain, which is twice as much as in the year 1998.

The year 1948 to repeat?

The Communist party has announced that it intended to win support from the majority of Czech people. At a rally on Saturday, Communist leader Miroslav Grebenicek said that his party had enough of the other political parties' unwillingness to cooperate with them, and that it would try to win the next elections. He said the Communists would reveal their plans in November and he assured his audience that all steps the Communists take will be legal. Grebenicek also said that his party will most likely not support the state budget for next year which might result in a vote of no-confidence in the minority Social Democratic cabinet and possibly an early election.

Anarchists protest against WB, IMF session

Several dozen anarchists peacefully demonstrated in Prague and Brno in protest against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. The anarchists claim that the two institutions play a key role in the process of economic globalisation and that their economic policies support dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. The Saturday's demonstrations were part of a large- scale campaign aimed against the IMF and World Bank session planned to take place in Prague next year.

Prodi on EU expansion

European Commission President Romano Prodi was quoted on Saturday as saying that prospective European Union members may not have to fulfil to the letter all entry rules for the bloc.

"Criteria on democracy, human rights, protection of minorities, property rights and freedom of religion cannot be changed," he told German news magazine Der Spiegel in an interview, but he added that the other criteria on social and economic issues should be interpreted intelligently. Prodi also said that in some cases, the EU should offer long transition periods.

Ten former Communist states, plus Cyprus and Malta are hoping to join the EU early next century. A summit in Helsinki this December is expected to offer the likeliest candidates a firm date for accession. Supporters of rapid expansion -- such as Germany -- have spoken of the year 2003 as a possible target date for countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather forecast. On Sunday. a cold front will start influencing weather in the Czech Republic. We are expecting a mostly cloudy day with scattered showers, afternoon highs should range from 18 to 22 degrees Celsius. The beginning of next week should be also cloudy with showers, with highest daytime temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius.

And that's the end of the news.