Water levels on lakes and rivers around the country are gradually receding. Whilst levels on the River Elbe, which burst its banks on Sunday, have been stagnant, eight family houses still remain isolated. Heavy rain and melting snow throughout last week resulted in minor flooding across the country, mainly affecting weekend cottages and household cellars. Much of the Spolana chemical factory, which leaked poisonous gas during the devastating floods in August, was shut down last week as a precaution, and it should resume production by the middle of the week.
A three-member delegation of the Senate's European Integration Committee left for Poland on Monday for a three-day official visit. Besides meeting representatives of both houses of the Polish Parliament, Czech senators are to also hold talks with the State Secretary for European Affairs, Danuta Hubner, and the Polish minister in charge of the EU information campaign, Slawomir Wiatr. The topics of discussion are expected to centre around EU membership, especially the preparations of both countries for the referenda that are expected to be held this year. While the Czech Republic has already picked June 15-16th, Poland is yet to decide whether its referendum is to take place on June 8th or sometime in the autumn.
A Belarussian Yak-40 passenger plane had to make an emergency landing at Prague's Ruzyne airport on Monday morning. The plane carrying 21 passengers was flying over Czech territory when a cockpit window cracked. After the radar system on board immediately sent out an emergency signal, two Czech Air Force MiG 21 fighter jets flew out from their base in south Bohemia to accompany the plane as it made a safe landing. A spare window is to be sent from Minsk so that the grounded plane can fly back to the Belarussian capital.
Monday saw the end of a five-day hunger strike held by a dozen anti-nuclear activists who were protesting against the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia. The strike, which could be monitored on the internet via webcam, took place in a wooden container on the main square of the Upper Austrian town of Freistadt. According to its organisers, some two hundred activists have already volunteered to continue with the hunger strike in various parts of Austria. Members of the organisation Stop Temelin, who have in the past organised protest demonstrations and border blockades in opposition to the power plant, now hope to have activated a chain-reaction of hunger strikes.
The Marso dance ensemble, which comprises 24 young and five adult dancers from Chechnya, arrived in Prague on Monday as part of the "Before the War I had Toys" project. Currently underway until January 18th, the project aims to introduce the Czech people not only to Chechen culture but also to the plight of the war-torn country through numerous cultural events. The Marso (meaning "Freedom") dance group has been flown into the country from a refugee camp on the Chechen-Ingushetian border, and will be performing traditional Chechen dances at several venues in the cities of Prague, Brno, Zlin and Ostrava.
Tuesday has been forecast with partially cloudy skies and scattered snow falls around the country. Temperatures will range between -9 and -5 degrees Celsius.
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