After 30 members of the Czech Roma minority on their way to Great Britain were turned back by German officials on Friday, another group has decided to try its luck. With the first group failing to have the necessary cash and insurance, some 20 Roma left the Moravian city of Ostrava on Monday, armed with money, return tickets and insurance. A large number of Roma in Ostrava have been leaving the Czech Republic, saying that they are being discriminated against, find it hard to get employed, and do not feel safe. Officials at the border areas have therefore been weary about Roma travellers, fearing that their main aim is to apply for asylum at the countries of destination. As far as those who have been turned back are concerned, social workers have expressed fear that many will have to borrow large amounts of money in order to make up for the lost travel expenses.
A small group of some ten Belarussian refugees accused the Czech Interior Ministry of taking too long to process applications from asylum seekers on Monday. The protesters gathered in front of the ministry, waved the Belarussian flag, carried banners with slogans such as "stop bureaucratic sadism", and handed out leaflets to passers-by. Claiming that officials were too slow, ill-willing and arrogant, they gave examples of cases where the processing of applications for asylum took several years. The ministry rejected all accusations, saying that in 2000 and 2001 the greatest number of asylums granted were to Belarussians. Furthermore in its defence, the ministry, claims that its system is closely monitored and evaluated by the EU.
A third of Czechs are happy with the June general election results, according to a public poll conducted by the Centre for Public Opinion Research. Whilst most of the satisfied citizens were over the age of sixty years, most of the 25% who claimed to be dissatisfied were people with a high education and higher income.
In the first half of the year, Prague's Ruzyne international airport recorded a total of 2.91 million passengers, which is 2.5 percent more than last year during the same time. According to Vlasta Pallova from the Czech Airports Authority, however, the figures are lower than expected as the Authority was counting on a 5 percent increase. The lower statistics can be accounted to the smaller number of charter flights, especially to Israel, at the beginning of the year. In January and April Czech Airlines experienced a year-on-year fall by 1.5 percent. In February, on the other hand, it recorded the highest year-on-year increase in the number of passengers, reaching 6 percent.
The Czech television magnate, Vladimir Zelezny (TV Nova) reported the theft of one of his paintings worth 22 million Czech crowns or 700.000 U.S. dollars on Monday. The painting was on display at the Zlata Husa, or Golden Goose, gallery and disappeared without a trace overnight. The Zlata Husa gallery in Prague houses just some of Mr Zelezny's collected works of art. The total number of works in his collection is estimated at around 1000 pieces. The police, who have not disclosed any information on the case, are now investigating the theft.
And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Tuesday is expected to have clear skies, turning cloudy towards the late afternoon with scattered showers and thunder storms in the eastern parts of the country. Temperatures have been forecast between 26 and 30 degrees Celsius, reaching a maximum of 32 degrees Celsius in Bohemia.
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