Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

12-01-2003

Czech army calls off decision to use pyrotechnics to remove build-up of ice at river bridge

The Czech army has called off a decision to use pyrotechnics in the south Bohemian region of Ceske Budjeovice/Tyn nad Vltavou to try and help remove the build-up of ice along a bridge on the Luznice river. On Friday and Saturday army specialists and water works engineers worked to remove a build-up of ice along a two kilometre stretch that had hampered the flow of the Luznice river into the Vltava. Water levels had risen rapidly, flooding local cottages and recreational areas. Saturday the army used heavy industrial equipment to remove bits of ice, while engineers decided to open nearby dam sluices to lower water levels of the river, so that the ice would break under its own weight. The procedure was successful. Overnight, however, more bits of ice piled up at a bridge in the area. Sunday, the army had intended to detonate explosives to remove the ice, but called off the decision after it deemed such a procedure might not be effective. Also, the ice did not offer a safe enough approach for pyrotechnics experts. The local floods commission has retained several army specialists on hand, and will approach the problem anew on Monday.

Engineers work to remove railway cars from derailed train

Near Pilsen, south-west Bohemia, engineers have been working to remove railway cars from a transport train that derailed early Saturday morning after the train's driver failed to heed a warning signal. The train derailed at a viaduct overlooking a road near the Myslinka district, with several wagons sliding down a 20 metre embankment. No one was injured in the accident, however, both the railway route and the road were closed off Saturday. Since then two tracks on the Pilsen-Cheb route have resumed service, with the route expected to be in full use by Sunday evening. Overall damages have been estimated at more than 2 million crowns. Meanwhile, police have charged the driver of the transport train with negligence that put public safety at risk.

Demonstration banned

A demonstration by right-wing extremists planned at Prague's old Jewish quarter Josefov, was called off at the last minute on Saturday, after a city official informed several dozen right-wing supporters, meeting on Franz Kafka Square, that the demonstration was banned. Police were also at the scene. The planned demonstration had provoked anger from local Jewish organisations that had called it a neo-Nazi provocation There was some potential for a clash between the right-wing extremists and close to a hundred representatives from Jewish organisations, anti-fascist, as well as anarchist, groups that met nearby. In the end there were no incidents, however, the right-wing supporters dispersed, police did not have to intervene.

Regional wings of the Social Democratic Party nominate Spidla to retain chairmanship

Regional wings of the Social Democratic Party put forward the names of candidates on Saturday, aiming to retain or gain posts in the party's leadership, at the Social Democrat's national convention in March. Current chairman Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said he aims to retain his chairmanship at the convention, despite rumours at a recent meeting of the Social Democrat's central executive committee, indicating that some members of the Social Democrats would rather see Interior Minister Stanislav Gross or Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach as party chair. However, neither politician has expressed a desire to challenge Mr Spidla for the post. Among the regions that put forward their nominations for the chairmanship on Saturday: Moravia-Silesia, South Bohemia, and Zlin. All three regions nominated Mr Spidla to retain the chairman's post.

Sport

After a year's break Czech cyclocross specialist Petr Dlask has returned to top form: a win at Louny on Sunday saw Dlask crown this year's season by becoming overall champion on the cyclocross tour. It is the fourth time he has held the title. A strong finish in Sunday's race enabled the cyclocross champion to just edge rival Martin Bin by 26 seconds, while Vaclav Jezek came in third. Last year's tour winner Jiri Pospisil finished fourth, just outside the medals.

Weather

Monday will be cloudy with a chance of snowfall. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of around -4 to 0 degrees Celsius.

12-01-2003