The Czech government has agreed on a new interpretation of legislation on extremism, which will allow the authorities to come down harder on the far-right and other extremist groups. Police will now be able to use methods that were previously only granted in investigations of serious crime. With the new interpretation, they now have the right to question suspects and use undercover agents and bugging devices. State bodies will also have the power to ban extremists from entering the Czech Republic.
The Czech Agriculture Minister, Jan Fencl, says he is gravely opposed to the results of an EC-sponsored study released at the end of March, where the Czech Republic is listed as a country with a potential BSE risk. Speaking to EU agriculture commissioner David Byrne and the Swedish Agriculture Minister, Margarete Winberg in Brussels on Monday, Mr Fencl rejected the data used to compile the study. As the study was apparently carried out by the Scientific Steering Committee on BSE, or mad cow disease, Mr Byrne told journalists that the EC itself had no influence on the results, added that it was a scientific and not a political study, and all countries involved were inspected using the same criteria.
During a seminar on EU expansion in London, the Czech Republic's chief negotiator on EU enlargement, Pavel Telicka, said that thanks to the initiative taken by many EU member states and diplomatic negotiations, a proposed seven-year transition period regarding the free movement of labour after EU expansion, proposed by Germany and Austria, will be dismissed and a more acceptable compromise will be found. Germany's ambassador to Brussels apparently gave Mr. Telicka fresh hope on Friday, by saying that he expected a minimum of twelve member states to have completely open borders only two years after EU expansion. Mr Telicka took the opportunity at the seminar to tell the audience that the proposed transition period of seven years could result in a negative swing in public opinion against EU membership by Czech citizens.
The "lend a helping hand" association in the Moravian capital of Brno, which deals with drug addiction in the city, is currently working on the foundation of a commission for handling drug addiction within the minority Roma community. The commission is to have 11 members coming from the civil service, non-profit organisations, and representatives of the Roma community. According to association representative Tomas Kamp, working with Roma drug addicts differs greatly from that with drug addicts of other cultural backgrounds and therefore needs to be given special attention. The exact workings of the commission are expected to be discussed in June.
And staying with the Roma Community, a festival on Roma culture called Khamoro, or sun, is now underway in Prague. During the five-day celebration, artists and experts on the Roma way of life have planned a rich programme of entertainment and educational discussion groups. The festival will take place in a number of theatres and cultural institutions with concerts, theatre performances and also seminars and discussion groups focusing on the Roma community today.
The body of a seven-year old girl has been found in the Vltava river in the eastern district of Prague, nine days after she had been reported missing. The girl had jumped into the river in Prague's Troja district in order to regain a branch that a play-mate had dropped into the water. Despite attempts made by a passer-by to recover her body, the strong current and very cold water pulled her away from the shore. The police, fire brigade and divers then searched the river for several days without success.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. It looks like the warm weather's finally here to stay. Monday night shall be partially cloudy with temperatures between 3 and 7 degrees Celsius. Tuesday's day-time temperatures will range between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius which shall increase gradually over the week to reach 25 degrees Celsius by Friday.
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