News Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 01th, 1999

Good morning and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first the news headlines.

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

Upper Austria says no Czech EU membership with Temelin

The chairman of the Upper Austrian parliament has said the federal government in Vienna will support a plan to veto the Czech Republic's membership of the European Union, due to safety concerns at the incomplete Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. Josef Puehringer said the Czech government must realise that each national parliament in the European Union had a say in accepting new members. Mr Puehringer said that safety technology at Temelin, which the Czech government has vowed to complete after years of delay, failed to correspond to European Union standards.

Prague Civic Democrats blame leadership for election "debacle"

A senior member of the opposition Civic Democrats has described last weekend's Senate by-election as a debacle. The independent candidate Vaclav Fischer won 71 percent of the vote, in an election to chose a new Senator for Prague 1. The Civic Democrats, which had previously held the seat with a comfortable majority, emerged with just 12 percent. Jan Burgermeister, the chairman of the party's Prague 1 branch, said the party's campaign had had little to do with politics, and that a last-minute attack on Mr Fischer had been disastrous. Mr Fischer, a successful businessman, is now taking legal action after an advertisement placed by the Civic Democrats insinuated that he enjoyed the support of the Communist Party. The advertisement also cast doubt on the financing of his campaign.

Twelve arrested after attack on Roma community in South Moravia

Police in South Moravia have arrested twelve people accused of carrying out a violent attack on a Roma community in the village of Ohrazenice. Five people were injured and several cars were destroyed in the attack, according to a report by the commercial television station Nova. The station claimed that a local businessman had ordered the attack, in a bid to force the Roma families from their homes, which were part of property he had recently bought. According to TV Nova the incident was meant to look like an attack by skinheads. Most of the attackers have now confessed to police. They face up to three years in prison if convicted.

British Home Office officials discuss re-imposing visas for Czechs

The British Embassy in Prague has confirmed that Home Office representatives were due to arrive in the Czech capital on Tuesday, to discuss technical conditions surrounding the possible re-imposition of visas for Czech citizens. An embassy spokesman said it was a regular informal working visit which had received excessive attention by the Czech media. He added that the embassy would not release details of the talks. There has been rising speculation in recent months that London may be on the verge of re-imposing visas for Czechs, following a steady influx of Roma or gypsy asylum-seekers. The British government has repeatedly stressed that re-imposing visas would be a last-resort solution.

Roma activists thank tree for halting construction of Usti wall

Human rights activists say a tree has thwarted plans to build a controversial wall in the North Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem. The wall was to replace a metal fence which runs down the middle of the city's Maticni street. The local council decided to build a wall after residents of private houses on one side of the street complained about the noise and rubbish produced by Roma inhabitants, who live in council flats opposite. The issue quickly became an international scandal, with the Czech Republic being accused of fostering apartheid. However on Monday the district authority overruled the local council's decision, saying that the wall lacked sufficient planning permission. The authority also said it was acting to protect several lime trees in the street. A local human rights activist said one of the trees had been decorated with coloured paper to express the Roma community's gratitude. The local council has since rejected the decision by the district authority.


And we´ll end as usual with a quick look at today´s weather. We´re expecting a mostly cloudy and cool day in the Czech Republic, with the chance of showers in places. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 20 degrees Celsius, falling to as low as 8 degrees at night.

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