Daily news summary News Thursday, JULY 20th, 2000

20-07-2000

Far-right Republican party lodges complaint against Interior Ministry

The far-right Republican party has decided to lodge a complaint against representatives of the Interior Ministry on suspicion of abuse of public office. The party has described as illegal the Ministry's call for applications to conduct a study analysing the Republican Party's ideology and assessing whether it is propagating racism. The Republicans also accuse the Ministry of offering a reward of 250,000 crowns for the analysis. According to a Ministry spokeswoman, the call for public tender, set for 2001, stems from the findings of the Government Commission on Human Rights, which found the Republican Party to contain manifestations of racism and anti-Semitism.

Three youths charged in Romani attack

The regional investigative office in Rokycany has charged three seventeen-year-old youths with committing and abetting a violent crime in connection with an attack last Friday against the home of a Romani resident. The youths allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at the window of the home of relatives of Romani activist Ondrej Gina. The culprits are believed to be members of the little-known extremist organisation Cesky lev. Police are investigating possible connections with a similar attack this Tuesday against the office of the Commission of Rokycany Roma and a series of recent phone threats against the Romani activist Ondrej Gina.

Government approves draft law on freedom of religion

The government has approved a draft law on the freedom of religion and the status of religious organisations. The aim of the new law is to implement a two-step registration process. Under the new system religious organisations will first be granted the status of a legal entity, and then after ten years will obtain special rights to function in schools, the army and to perform marriage ceremonies. The organisations will be required to prove that they have at least one member for every 500 Czech permanent residents before these rights will be granted. The law will also reduce the minimum number of members required for registering religious organisations from 10,000 to 300. The draft law comes in response to the criticism of human rights groups that widely recognised religions such as Islam, Buddhism or the Church of England remain officially unrecognised by Czech authorities.

Polish minority to meet with Czech Prime Minister to discuss minority rights

Representatives of Poles living in the Czech Republic are to meet with the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman to discuss minority rights. Participants in the discussion will include the Polish ambassador to the Czech Republic and the chairman of the congress of Poles in the Czech Republic. The Polish minority intends to question the Czech government on why it has yet to ratify the European Charter on Minority and Regional Languages. In the recently approved pared-down version of a draft law on minority rights the government rejected the creation of special administrative and elected bodies for minorities, as well as the right of minorities to receive government correspondence in their native language.

Environmentalists submit open letter to Czech government opposing Temelin

Representatives of five environmental groups have submitted an open letter to the Czech government demanding that it halt the activation of the Temelin nuclear plant. In the letter, the organisations demand that before operations are fully launched a public environmental impact assessment be completed, a referendum be held and previously withheld information on the plant be made public. The delivery of fuel to the first Temelin reactor was completed on July 14.

Government postpones decision on Czech Telecom privatisation

The government has postponed its decision on the privatisation of the monopoly telecommunications operator Czech Telecom by 3 months until the end of September. The original deadline had been set at June 30th but was not met due to delays in the selection process of a consulting firm and the establishment of a inter-ministerial commission.

Weather

And we finally a quick look at the weather. Friday's skies will be partly cloudy with scattered showers in some places. Temperatures will reach highs of 19 degrees during the day, cooling to 7 degrees at night.

20-07-2000