News Thursday, AUGUST 12th, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to the programme. Im Pauline Newman, first lets take a look at the main headlines of the day.

You are tuned to Radio Prague. Those were the headlines, now a look at the news in more detail...

Eclipse - Prague

People all over the Czech Republic, watched the eclipse of the sun on Wednesday. Two thousand people flocked to the planetarium in the Moravian capital of Brno, where the clouds parted briefly at exactly the right moment and visitors saw the ninety-six percent eclipse.

People in Prague, however, were not so lucky. Although the day started off quite warm and sunny, it suddenly changed for the worse a quarter of an hour before the eclipse reached its full visual glory. Thousands of tourists on the old Town Square and Charles Bridge were soaked in an unexpected downpour accompanied by strong winds. Cars switched their headlights on and people rushed for the shelter of nearby restaurants and cafes.

Refugees - Home

The first plane carrying some 100 refugees from Kosovo, will be leaving Prague on Friday bound for Macedonia. The refugees will then board buses which will take them to Kosovo. This part of the journey will be organised by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

A spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Ministry, said another ten of these flights are set to take place by the 14th of September.

Visas - Unnecessary - GB

London said on Wednesday, it would not be introducing visas for Czechs visiting Great Britain. A spokesman for the Czech Foreign Ministry, said Britain only saw introducing visas as the last resort to deal with the influx of Romanies from the Czech Republic seeking asylum in the UK.

This is the latest move and one which has seen the Czech government breathe a sigh of relief. Last month alone, over 190 romany families arrived in Dover, hoping to gain refugee status.

Both Prague and London have said they intend to wait and see how the situation develops after the summer months.

Agriculture - Embassy

Finally where does agriculture and diplomacy go hand in hand? Where else but the Russian embassy in Prague. Ambassador Nikolai Ryabov informed readers in a recent article, in a weekly paper, that along with diplomatic duties, he also keeps chickens and cows, not to mention his greenhouse which provides all the vegetables for the embassy.

In his article, entitled "The Greenhouse Effect" Ryabov notes that his embassy is the envy of the other Russian Institutions in Prague.

Opinions - Wealth

In the meantime, an opinion poll has revealed that over three quarters of those approached, believe that people today only become wealthy through illegal activities and having contacts in the right places. 78 percent of people said they believed unscrupulousness was the key to prosperity. Only 45 percent thought hard work had anything to do with making money.

A seperate poll, carried out on the subject of household finances, revealed that although the number of wealthy people in this country has not decreased, the number of families who consider themselves poor is rising.

61 percent of those asked, said that the only way to supplement their income or make ends meet, is to take extra work. 41 percent said they are forced to accept financial help from relatives.

Aid - Floods

The last project bringing aid to areas which were stricken by floods last year, comes to a close at the end of this week. This is the last of 26 projects, aimed at restoring local infrastructures to regions such as Moravia.

All in all, some two million euros were provided by funds from the PHARE programme. Over a million euros went to the region of Hodonin, which was the worst hit by last years calamity, when people lost their homes and belongings.

Romanies - Travel

According to a report published in a Romany magazine, the reason for the mass migration of Romanies to the west, is not racial discrimination in the Czech Republic, but the fact that Romany families are traditionally always on the move.

Dispelling theories that Romanies are being persecuted in the Czech Republic, the Editor-in-Chief of the Brno based magazine, writes that these families are simply seeking better living conditions and larger social security payments in the richer countries of the west.


A ridge of low pressure moving over the Czech Republic, means the weather on Thursday will take a turn for the cooler. There will be some light patchy fog in the morning with skies remaining cloudy throughout the day. Temperatures will range from 18 to 22 degrees celsius, dropping overnight to as low as 10 degrees celsius.

I'm Pauline Newman and thats the end of the news.