Press Review

All the Czech newspapers today carry the story of German car maker BMW's decision not to build its new factory in the Czech town of Kolin. They also heavily cover the newest developments in the on-going saga of the Temelin nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Zeman has said that the Czech government will not respond to Germany's reported doubt of Temelin's safety.

PRAVO carries the report that British immigration officials have begun checking all Czech passengers en route to London in an effort to decrease the number of Czech Roma seeking asylum in Great Britain. Ten Roma families were turned away on Wednesday on unspecified grounds. One of those families claimed they were just visiting relatives in London, and they were able to verify to customs officials that they had enough money for the vacation.

Several Roma claim that blatant racism prevented them from boarding their flight, since their light-skinned compatriots were allowed entry into the UK. The basis of these customs controls is an agreement signed in February to deal with the growing pressure on the British asylum system. The only other alternative to customs controls would have been visas for all Czech citizens, a move that was deemed to be too politically risky in light of EU integration.

ZEMSKE NOVINY reports that the number of violent crimes committed by children is on the rise. New statistics also claim that more and more of these crimes are pre-meditated. A new law will create a special court for juvenile delinquents. Sentences in the new court would be carried out without regard to the age of the minor, although the maximum sentence of imprisonment is only five years.

HOSPODARSKE NOVINY reports that there have been many documented cases of police corruption in the war against drugs. While police arrested an alleged member of an international drug trafficking organisation in Prague on Wednesday, the head of the Anti-Drug Agency Jiri Komorous stressed the need for more resources and manpower.

MLADA FRONTA DNES says that a laboratory for detecting cases of BSE, or mad-cow disease, will be built in the northern Moravian town of Olomouc. The laboratory is the third in the Czech Republic to dedicate its resources to preventing BSE. Three to four hundred suspected cases of BSE are expected to pass through the lab daily once it is in operation.

Author: Helen Belmont
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