News Wednesday, AUGUST 18th, 1999

Hello and welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first the news headlines.

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

Czechs offer humanitarian aid in wake of Turkish earthquake disaster

The Czech Republic has offered humanitarian aid to the Turkish government following one of the most powerful earthquakes in decade. The death toll from Tuesday´s earthquake has now exceeded 2,000, but is still rising. Rescuers are still searching for hundreds of people buried in the ruins of collapsed houses. A Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman said the government had expressed its sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and had offered financial and material aid to the authorities in Ankara. The Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit appeared on state television on Tuesday to thank the countries which had offered aid. Mr Ecelit said the earthquake was the worst natural disaster he had ever seen and would require a huge humanitarian aid effort.

Police say unable to prevent repeat of hooligan train incident

Police say they are powerless to prevent a repeat of an incident on Sunday, in which a woman was left critically injured after football hooligans threw rocks at a passing train. A spokeswoman said police were unable to man entire lengths of railway track to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The woman is still seriously ill in hospital after fans of Banik Ostrava football club - which has one of the worst reputations for hooliganism in the country- threw rocks at a train near Ostrava. Police say there has been an alarming rise in football hooliganism in recent years. Many hooligans have close ties to neo-Nazi skinhead groups.

Slovak Roma to be deported to Czech Republic

The Foreign Ministry has confirmed that 21 Slovak Roma or gypsies are to be deported to the Czech Republic, after being refused asylum by the authorities in Finland. The Roma arrived in Finland from the Czech Republic, and under an EU agreement unsuccessful asylum-seekers are returned to the country of departure, as long as that country is on the EU´s list of safe countries. More than 1,000 Slovak Roma sought asylum in Finland in June, citing racial discrimination and persecution in Slovakia. The Slovak authorities say they are mostly economic migrants.

Schroeder to thank Czechs for role in bringing down wall

The German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will visit Prague next month to show Germany's gratitude for the Czech role in breaching the Berlin Wall 10 years ago. Mr Schoeder´s spokesman said on Monday that the Chancellor would visit Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in September to express the German people´s gratitude for the three countries´ contribution towards bringing down the wall. Decisions by Budapest and Prague to open their borders to the West in 1989 allowed thousands of East Germans to leave the Communist bloc, contributing to the breach of the Berlin Wall on November 9th and to Germany's reunification. Thousands of East Germans camped out outside West Germany´s Prague embassy in the summer of 1989.

Three Czech mountaineers die in Alps

Three Czech mountaineers have died in the Alps this week. Two fifty-four-year old mountaineers died of exposure when their party was hit by bad weather in the Italian Alps. Four more are recovering in hospital. Meanwhile in the Swiss Alps a Czech mountaineer was killed after falling fifty metres from a cliff.


Finally a quick look at today´s weather. And we´re expecting a warm but overcast day here in the Czech Republic, mostly cloudy with some sunny patches and the chance of scattered showers in places. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 24 degrees Celsius, falling to a low of 13 degrees tonight.

I´m Rob Cameron, and that's the end of the news.