Czech Republic

Of the many world-shaking events that took place in 1968, high on the list was the movement for reform in Czechoslovakia to create a democratic socialist alternative to the Stalinist bureaucratic dictatorships that ruled the Soviet bloc. Chris Slee takes a look at the movement, which was dramatically ended by a Soviet Union-led invasion.

On the night of August 20/21, 1968, tanks from the armies of the Soviet Union, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria rolled into Czechoslovakia. The aim of the invaders was to crush a movement for reform.

Austria, as well as Serbia and Croatia, have joined other European countries in temporarily closing their borders.

On September 21, Croatia closed its last checkpoint for trucks on the Serbian border where thousands of refugees are waiting to cross in the hope of a better life.


30,000 people marched in Vienna on August 31 to demonstrate against inhumane treatment of refugees.

In less than a fortnight a series of tragedies took place on the borders of Europe, spurring a continent-wide debate over refugee policy.

On August 26, about 200 refugees perished at sea as their ship capsized off the coast of Libya on its way to Italy.

Trans-Continental Hustle
Gogol Bordello
Colombia/ DMZ

Review by Mat Ward

Gogol Bordello have always said their aim is to smuggle Roma music into mainstream Western society.

Their latest album, produced by former Beastie Boys DJ-turned-super-producer Rick Rubin, might just do that.

The US-based band, whose music combines elements of traditional Romani music with punk rock, is largely made up of Eastern European Roma immigrants who understand the long-standing persecution of their people.

The Prague City Court rejected an appeal from the Czech Communist Youth Association (KSM) against an official banning order, the German JungeWelT reported on March 27. The interior ministry prohibition order was originally issued in October 2006.

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