News

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Independents lodge complaint against election validity

The Independents political movement has lodged a complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court questioning the validity of the June 2-3 elections, the Independents' election leader Jana Hamplova said on Monday. She said that the Independents want the court to rule that the mandates of 200 deputies elected over a week ago are invalid. The Independents argue that the public service Czech Television only provided space in its pre-election discussion programmes to five political parties that later emerged successful from the election and therefore created the impression that there were only five electable parties on the Czech political scene.

According to the Supreme Administrative Court, it is the 26th complaint regarding the elections it has received, but it is the first complaint filed by a political party or movement.

Murder trial adjourned over defendants' age and health

Prague's City Court has adjourned the trial of two elderly men in connection with a murder case dating back to 1957. The two men, Milan Michel and Stanislav Tomes, both former agents of the communist-era intelligence service, are accused of sending a letter bomb to a senior French politician, which killed his wife by mistake. The case was adjourned on Monday due to the two men's age and ill health. The legal proceedings were launched in 2001 after five years of investigation by the Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Crimes of Communism. The two men face up to 15 years in prison, but because of their age and poor health, they are unlikely to serve sentences even if they are eventually convicted.

Chemicals maker fined two million for cyanide leak

The Czech Environmental Inspection office has decided to fine the chemicals maker Draslovka 2 million crowns for a leak of hazardous cyanides into the Elbe River in January. The firm will pay 1.9 million crowns (86,000 dollars) for illegal release of dangerous material and 100,000 crowns for failing to announce a warning in time. Company representatives said they respected the decision, adding that the firm wanted to invest 30 million crowns in special preventative and corrective measures this year. In January a cyanide leak from Draslovka killed some 10 tonnes of fish in an 83-kilometre stretch of the Elbe. Neighbouring Germany complained at the time that it had received the information about the accident too late.

Inspection intends to fine German companies for illegal waste imports

The Czech Environmental Inspection has said it intends to fine German companies as well as Czech ones for illegal imports of waste into the Czech Republic. According to the inspection, the German companies failed to make sure their Czech partners were authorised to deal with waste. Altogether 15,000 tonnes of waste has been brought to the Czech Republic. The Environmental Inspection is dealing with 16 illegal dumps, including six or seven from which the waste has not yet been removed. Following an agreement with the Czech Environment Ministry, the German side has removed the waste from most of the sites.

CEZ: UK headhunts Czech nuclear experts

The Czech power utility CEZ said on Monday that Western European power companies, faced with a shortage of skilled technicians and amid expectations of a nuclear power renaissance, are headhunting Czech nuclear power experts. A CEZ spokesman said that many western European countries had run down their nuclear industries and now lacked the necessary experts. The head of the Czech Nuclear Society, Vaclav Hanus, said that some new graduates in nuclear subjects had already taken up offers in Britain. He said British companies were prepared to offer 10,000 pounds (18,400 dollars) as a welcome bonus to new recruits. CEZ, which operates two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic, says it sees the situation as a threat.

Czech Republic beats US 3:0 in their opening World Cup match

The Czech Republic has beaten the United States 3:0 in a crucial World Cup Group E match. Jan Koller opened the scoring in the fifth minute, nodding home a right wing cross from Zdenek Grygera that eluded two US defenders. Tomas Rosicky gave the Czechs a 2-0 lead in the 36th minute, blasting a right-footed 25-metre shot past Keller who dived to his left in a vain attempt to deny the midfielder. Rosicky scored a third goal in the 76th minute.

Weather

The current warm and sunny weather is expected to continue throughout the first half of the week, with daytime highs reaching 27 degrees Celsius.