Friday saw the international press premiere in Prague of an extraordinary film. "Somewhere Better", a co-production between Czech Television and the BBC, looks at one of the many Czech Romany families that have applied for asylum in Britain. This is a much-discussed theme, but the film by documentary-maker Mira Erdevicki takes an unusual path, and is special in more ways than one. David Vaughan was at the premiere.
On Monday, Britain unveiled tougher immigration measures aimed at making the country a less attractive destination for economic migrants who claim refugee status. Over the past few years, dozens of Roma families from the Czech Republic have set for a journey to Britain in the hopes of receiving asylum there. Although the majority of them have been turned down, Czech Roma keep leaving the country. Under the new immigration measures in Britain, ten countries aiming to join the European Union by 2004, including the Czech Republic, will be given 'safe'
Great Britain deported some 48 Czech asylum seekers on Friday and plans to deport more in the coming week, Ladislav Balaz of the Trans Europa Roma Federation told reporters. Meanwhile, the British Home Office said it had flown 28 Czech citizens home two weeks ago. The number of Czechs seeking asylum in Britain - most of whom are Romanies - is constantly increasing, according to UK authorities. The Romanies say they suffer violence and constant discrimination in the Czech Republic.
An estimated half a million books and documents from archives and libraries were damaged around the Czech Republic during August's floods, and trying to save valuable works is proving to be an absolutely mammoth task. At a ceremony at the National Library on Tuesday, the British Ambassador, Anne Pringle, presented Czech Culture Minister Pavel Dostal with novel vacuum drying machines which will help in that task.
And now some news about a writing competition that listeners here in the Czech Republic or in Britain might be interested in taking part in. But you'll have to be quick, because the deadline is in just ten days. It has been organised by the British Czech and Slovak Association, based in London, which tries to foster understanding between the British and the Czech and Slovak nations. Barbara Day from the Prague Society for International Cooperation told David Vaughan about the competition.
The British Prime Minister Tony Blair touched down in Prague on Monday for a brief visit to the Czech Republic, holding talks with Czech officials on his way home from the United States. Top of the agenda in Prague was the crisis in the Middle East - a Czech anti-chemical unit was recently deployed in Kuwait to protect the U.S. command headquarters in Kuwait City. But Mr Blair also found time to praise the Czech Republic for progress towards joining the EU, adding there was still room for co-operation within Europe on a "nation state"
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