Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

02-01-2003

Temelin increases capacity as Austrians launch hunger strike

Austrian anti-nuclear protesters in the town of Friedstadt have launched a hunger strike to protest the Czech Republic's controversial Temelin nuclear power plant, at a time when technicians at the plant are busy increasing capacity at the nuclear facility. Each of the plant's twin units is expected to be operating at full capacity by April after years of tests and delays, a spokesman for the CEZ power company has said; Unit 1 was idle in December to save fuel, while Unit 2 has been undergoing rotor repairs. The dozen Austrian protesters taking part in the hunger strike say it will last five days. Meanwhile, one organiser said an extended hunger strike would begin in April unless the European Union and the Czech Republic negotiate a new plan for Temelin as part of the EU enlargement treaty. The protest is the first hunger strike in a long series of anti-Temelin demonstrations on the Czech-Austrian border dating from the summer of 2000. Austrian protestors believe the plant is unsafe because it combines Soviet-era with more modern western technology.

Meteorologists warning of high winds and local flooding

Meteorologists are warning of continued extreme weather conditions in the Czech Republic: high winds, up 110 kilometres an hour, are expected to hit parts of the Czech Republic this evening, continuing into Friday. Also, flood warnings have also been issued in parts of the country: northern mountainous regions as well as south Bohemia's Sumava region are expected to see the most rain between Thursday and Friday, and a combination of rain and melting snow could see some rivers breach their banks. Meanwhile, the eastern part of the country continues to be gripped by colder temperatures and freezing rain and snow fall which has made road conditions perilous. Thursday a state of alert was announced in the region near Bruntal on the country's eastern border, and drivers in that area are being asked to exercise extreme caution.

Tram drivers to strike on Monday

The Association of Tram Drivers in Prague has announced its workers will hold a token strike in the Czech capital on Monday, January 6th. According to a statement by the association no trams will run Monday morning, to protest a difference in the pay scale between drivers of trams and the drivers of busses. Prague tram drivers are asking the Transit Authority to bring their salaries up to par with those of bus drivers as of this January, and are also asking to be paid the difference in salaries for the last six months. So far, negotiations between union organisations and Transit Authority officials to try and head off the strike have not been successful.

Prague fire fighters investigating cause of New Year's fire

Prague fire fighters investigating a New Year's Eve blaze that struck in a 13 story Prague apartment building, killing one, are speculating the fire may have been caused by a faulty refrigerator connection. The fire began in the apartment of an elderly woman who died, another nine people were injured and about fifty had to be evacuated. Four apartments were completely gutted, another forty were damaged by water used to put out the blaze. Final estimates of the overall damages are still not possible to tabulate - currently the figure stands at some 8 million crowns.

Czech president gives letters of confirmation to nominees to Supreme Court chairmanship

President Vaclav Havel presented nominees to the chairmanship and vice chairmanship of the Supreme Administrative Court, Josef Baxa and Michal Mazanec, with letters of confirmation on Thursday. Both men were named earlier last month. The Supreme Administrative Court, found in the Czech Republic's second largest city Brno, south Moravia, was created recently to deal with legal cases concerning citizens' disputes versus public offices, as well as election disputes, and legal case involving the activities of political parties. Until now such lawsuits were handled by the country's Supreme Court.

Police searching for mother who threw new-born into trash

Czech police are searching for the mother of a new-born who was found dead in a trash container on New Year's Eve in the north-east region of Usti nad Orlici in north Moravia. Police are currently conducting an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. The incident is the second case discovered in recent days: another dead new-born was found in a canal in Cheb, in the west of the country, where police apprehended the baby's teenage mother.

Sports Update

In tennis Jiri Novak defeated world number one Lleyton Hewitt in three sets 6:2, 3:6, 6:3, at the Hopman tournament in Perth, Australia, almost keeping the Czech's hopes of staying alive in the mixed-team championships. However, team-mate Daja Bedanova went on to lose a later match against Australian Alice Molik in a dramatic match that saw Molik narrowly win both sets. The Australians now advance against the winner of the duel between Belgium and the United States.

Weather

In and around Prague: Friday will see cloudy weather with a chance of showers. Daytime temperatures should reach highs between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.

02-01-2003