News Thursday, JULY 22nd, 1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first a look at the news headlines.

Those were the headlines, now for the news in more detail.

Environment Ministry welcomes decision not to continue uranium mining

The cabinet has rejected a proposal by the Trade and Industry Minister Miroslav Gregr to continue uranium mining. Mr Gregr had proposed keeping open the country´s last working mine and reopening a second mine until 2005, a move he says would have ensured a guaranteed source of fuel for the country´s two nuclear power stations and saved several thousand jobs. The government´s decision has been welcomed by the Environment Ministry. The Environment Minister Milos Kuzvart stressed that the cabinet had taken into account environmental, economic and social criteria in taking the decision. Mr Kuzvart said there were employment opportunities for miners who would lose their jobs in the two regions concerned. He estimated that uranium mining had cost the country up to one hundred billion crowns in damage to the environment. Czechoslovakia was once a major uranium producer, which much of it being used in Russia´s nuclear arsenal during the Cold War. However the industry went into a severe decline following the 1989 overthrow of Communism.

Another opinion poll confirms rising support for Communists

A new opinion poll appears to confirm that support for the largely unreformed Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia - the country´s main Communist Party - is rising steadily. The poll, released by the Institute for Public Opinion Research on Wednesday, showed the Communists in third place with 17 percent, up two and a half points since the last poll by the institute in June. The main opposition Civic Democratic Party came first with 24 percent, followed by the ruling Social Democrats with 20 percent. However the result was less dramatic than a poll by a rival agency released last Friday, which showed the Communists in second place, slightly ahead of the Social Democrats. Some observers say the improved showing for the Communists is a result of the so-called "opposition agreement" between the Social Democrats and the Civic Democratic Party. The Communists themselves say people are fed up with the country´s economic and social problems.

Hardline Communists to adopt pre-1989 Communist Party name

Meanwhile the tiny hardline Party of Czechoslovak Communists has said it wants to change its name to the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, the offical name of the party which ruled Czechoslovakia from 1948 until the 1989 Velvet Revolution. The party´s leader Miroslav Stepan said the chances of unification between the country´s Communist parties were slim, and complained that dialogue with the leadership of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia was impossible. Mr Stepan, a former Central Committee member who served a prison sentence after the 1989 revolution, also accused the right-wing opposition Freedom Union of political extremism.

Police detain 40 suspected illegal immigrants on motorway

Police say a group of forty suspected illegal immigrants from India were detained on Wednesday on a motorway outside Prague. A spokeswoman said police were still ascertaining whether the group was in the country illegally, and that they would be transferred to a refugee camp if they applied for asylum. The spokeswoman said it was not unknown for organised people-smuggling gangs to dump illegal immigrants on the outskirts of Prague after telling them they were in Germany.

Skinheads charged for attacking Roma man

Five skinheads have been charged with racially-motivated assault after beating up a 27-year-old Roma man in a bar in the North Moravian town of Jesenik. Four of the youths have been taken into custody. The skinheads, armed with baseball bats and snooker cues, hurled racist abuse at the man before attacking him. Romany groups say attacks by neo-Nazi skinheads on the country´s 300,000-strong Roma community are becoming increasingly common.


And finally a quick look at Thursday´s weather. We´re expecting another warm and cloudy day here in the Czech Republic, with the chance of showers or storms in some parts of the country. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach up to 27 degrees Celsius, falling to a minimum of 12 degrees tonight.

And that´s the end of the news.