News

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Senate hopes to introduce radical changes to diplomatic immunity law

The Senate, on Wednesday, proposed that a legislator's right to immunity should only pertain to speeches made in parliament. Under current law, an MP or Senator can never be charged with a crime unless he is rid of immunity by the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies has proposed to relax the immunity law to involve solely the period in which the post is held. The Senate has been calling for more radical changes and its latest proposal has yet to win the support of lower house deputies.

Second leak at Temelin plant this week

Officials at the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia have confirmed that some 1,100 litres of slightly radioactive cooling liquid containing boric acid have leaked from one of the plant's units. The leak occurred on Tuesday afternoon during a pressure test. The plant had not been in operation as it is currently undergoing fuel replacement. The accident occurred in a contamination containment area. Temelin spokesman Milan Nebesar says neither the plant's staff nor the environment was ever at risk. This is the plant's second leak in one week.

Geoff Hoon: US radar base entirely up to Prague and Washington

Whether or not a radar station will be built on Czech territory is entirely up to Prague and Washington, British Secretary for Europe Geoff Hoon said on Wednesday. On his visit to the Czech Republic, he added though that the station should also serve to protect local residents. An official request to host the radar station as part of a US missile defence plan was issued late last year. The ruling coalition Green Party but also Germany, for example, say such a site should only be built if it is also part of NATO's defence system. Following talks with Mr Hoon, Czech deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said a Czech delegation would visit the Filingdales radar site in England.

Lawyer accuses Social Democrats of giving creditors preferential treatment

A Prague lawyer has demanded that the Social Democratic Party make their books of account public and prove that they are not giving preferential treatment to other creditors. Zdenek Altner suspects that the country's second biggest party paid a creditor almost one million crowns despite the fact that it still owes him 19 billion (close to 890 million US dollars) for his services almost seven years ago. On Wednesday, Mr Altner threatened to go ahead with plans to start bankruptcy proceedings against the Social Democrats.

Mlada fronta Dnes: Czech scientists make breakthrough medical research in virology

Scientists at Prague's Organic Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry Institute have made a breakthrough in medical research into virology, Mlada fronta Dnes newspaper reports. In cooperation with colleagues from Belgium and the United States, they have come up with medical treatment that can facilitate and in some cases save the lives of people with serious viral diseases. The medication works with minimal side effects but the pharmaceutical company that is acquiring the licence is reluctant to introduce it on the market. Competition from less-effective but already established medication would be too strong, the paper writes.

Deserted laboratory stores dangerous chemicals

Fire fighters have cordonned off a former brick factory in the Moravian town of Jesenik after dangerous chemicals were discovered in a deserted laboratory. Some of the substances had begun to leak and even threatened to explode. The chemicals were contained in the room and posed no threat to the environment. No charges will be filed against the owner of the building.

Average salary reaches 20,211 crowns

The average salary in the Czech Republic has risen by 6.5 percent, according to new figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday. The monthly average salary now stands at 20,211 crowns (around 940 US dollars). However, economic analysts stress that the figure is influenced by the high salaries of a small minority; in reality, two thirds of the country's salaries are well below the 20,000 crown mark.

In Prague, the average salary rose by 6.2 percent to reach 25,282 crowns.

Poll: Church not important institution to over half the population

A little over half the population - some 55 percent - believe that confiscated property should not be restituted to the Church, results of an opinion poll suggest. The poll conducted by the STEM agency also indicates that 56 percent of Czechs do not consider the Church an important institution.

Kraus defends ski-cross world championship title

Czech ski-cross champion Tomas Kraus has defended his title at the Ski Cross World Championship in Italy. The silver medal went to Czech-Canadian Stanley Hayer and the bronze to Enak Gavaggia from France. Tomas Kraus has dominated European and world ski-cross events in the last few years. He won the European championship in 2003 and the world championship two years ago.

Weather

The next few days will have partly cloudy skies and day temperatures will not exceed 14 degrees Celsius.