Daily news summary News Saturday, JULY 10th, 1999

10-07-1999

Hello and a very warm welcome to Radio Prague. I´m Rob Cameron, first a look at the news headlines

Those were the headlines, now the news in more detail:

Czech citizenship

The lower house of the Czech Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, has approved legislation allowing Czechs living in exile abroad the right to claim Czech citizenship. The legislation was opposed by the Communist Party and most deputies from the right-wing opposition Civic Democratic Party. If the bill becomes law it will enable former citizens of Czechoslovakia who fled the communist regime to claim Czech citizenship. The legislation will apply to those who lost their Czechoslovak citizenship between February 1948, when the Communists came to power, and March 1990. The bill was heavily criticised by some members of the opposition. Civic Democratic Party member Jiri Payne said it would allow the hundreds of thousands of Sudeten Germans who left Czechoslovakia after 1948 to return. Government deputies responded by accusing Mr Payne of scaremongering.

European Social Charter

The Chamber of Deputies has also ratified the European Social Charter. The Charter represents the basic concept of social standards that are valid in the countries of the European Union, and ratification is one of the steps necessary for joining the EU. The charter received almost universal support from the ruling Social Democrats, the Communists and the two smaller centre-right parties, the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union. However the Civic Democrats voted against the resolution, saying it contained socialist characteristics and was fundamentally wrong in approach.

Immigrants

Border police in Austria say they have detained more than 70 immigrants from Romania after they crossed the border illegally from the Czech Republic. Police discovered the illegal immigrants, including more than ten children, hiding in two goods vans in the Mistelbach area of lower Austria. Both vans had German number plates and were driven by Romanian drivers. The immigrants told police they had paid up to 300 German marks each to leave Romania. The Czech Republic is a popular staging post for illegal immigrants attempting to enter the European Union.

Floods

Farmers are on the alert in South Moravia following severe flooding as a result of this week´s heavy rains. In the area around Hodonin near the Slovak border, 70 millimetres of rain fell in two days, and five hundred hectares of farmland are still underwater. A number of other areas around the country are on flood alert, as river levels have been rising steadily, and meteorologists expect further flooding over the next few days.

And that´s the end of the news.

10-07-1999