Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

23-05-2003

Slovak Romany asylum seekers discussed by Spidla, Dzurinda

The Czech prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, and his Slovak counterpart, Mikulas Dzurinda, have agreed to co-ordinate efforts to deal with the increasing number of Slovak Romanies applying for asylum in the Czech Republic. Speaking after talks in Prague on Friday, the two leaders said ministries in both countries would set up joint working groups to deal with the issue. Slovaks currently make up the largest group of asylum seekers in the Czech Republic.

The Czech and Slovak prime ministers also said co-operation between the Visegrad Four, which also includes Poland and Hungary, would continue once all four join the European Union. Mr Dzurinda visited Prague less than a week after Slovaks voted to join the union; the Czech Republic is to hold a referendum on the matter in the middle of June.

Almost 80 percent to vote Yes to European Union, suggests poll

Some 78 percent of Czechs are likely to vote Yes to joining the EU, according to a poll by the TNS-Factum agency released on Friday. Turnout is expected to exceed 50 percent. Another poll by the STEM agency suggests the biggest worry voters have over EU accession is that prices will rise, with 27 percent expressing that concern. On the positive side, 47 percent of Czechs believe joining the EU will improve the workings of the country's legal system. If the referendum is passed, the country will join the union in May next year.

Crown reaches fresh high against dollar as US currency weakens

As the United States dollar weakened on Friday the Czech crown reached its highest value against the US currency in six and a half years at 26.55 to the dollar. Dealers said it was possible the US currency could weaken further.

Series of blackmail threats continues

An anonymous blackmailer has threatened to set off an explosion in Prague if he does not receive 200 million crowns, police said on Friday. They have not established a connection between the latest threat and another made on Wednesday, in which a blackmailer demanded 50 million crowns. In March a blackmailer in Olomouc said if he did not receive 10 million crowns he would set off bombs in the region while earlier this month a man threatened to put cyanide in hospital food. Neither carried out their threats.

Old man sets himself on fire, causes explosion in block of flats

A 73-year-old man caused an explosion in a block of flats when he evidently tried to set himself on fire, police in the central Bohemian town of Kolin said on Friday. The man was in a serious condition when firemen arrived at the scene and is now in hospital. If police prove that the man was trying to burn himself to death it will be the 12th such attempt in the Czech Republic since the beginning of March.

Sparta Prague league champions after Czech FA ruling

Sparta Prague have won the Czech football league after the country's football association declared them 3-0 winners of their last match away to Bohemians; the game was called off after 74 minutes with the score at 2:1 to Sparta after a linesman was attacked by a Bohemians fan. Sparta will receive their 32nd league title at their home game against Sigma Olomouc on Saturday.

Weather

Saturday should be sunny in most parts of the country, with a maximum temperature of 28 degrees Celsius. Sunday is expected to be cloudy with the possibility of storms and up to 29 degrees Celsius.

23-05-2003