News Friday, NOVEMBER 03th, 2000

By Libor Kubik

Zeman warns against further border blockades by Austria

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has warned that further blockades of Czech border crossings with Austria may jeopardise dialogue between Prague and Vienna.

Speaking during a visit to Slovakia, the Czech Premier said that unless the blockades end by Monday, his planned visit to Vienna would be at risk.

Austrian anti-nuclear demonstrators have resumed their blockades in protest against the Czech nuclear power station at Temelin, have blocked even more crossings this morning, and said the last remaining checkpoint will be blocked in the afternoon. They are angered by Premier Zeman's refusal to stop the present trial run of Temelin just north of the Austrian border.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel has called on the protesters to prefer dialogue to blockades but an Austrian activist said they would continue until Temelin is stopped.

Germany critical of Temelin

Germany has also renewed its criticism of Temelin. The country's Environment Minister Juergen Trittin has told his Czech counterpart Milos Kuzvart that officials in Berlin would never have granted approval to start up a nuclear plant of Temelin design.

Mr Trittin, a member of Germany's anti-nuclear Green Party, also said the three- billion-dollar Temelin plant was never going to make a profit.

Temelin combines western safety systems with Soviet-era technology, leading many opponents to conclude that it is unsafe.

CzechRep, Slovakia agree to boost cooperation

The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman and his Slovak counterpart Mikulas Dzurinda have signed a cooperation agreement in Bratislava on the mutual protection of investments and opening more border crossing points.

They told journalists they were highly satisfied with the state of relations between the two neighbouring countries which became independent in 1993 after Czechoslovakia split up.

Mr Dzurinda urged NATO to hold its planned summit two years hence in Prague, saying this could be a positive signal to the region.

The Czech Republic, together with Hungary and Poland, joined NATO in March last year and Prague is seeking to host the summit.

Premier Zeman said Slovakia should soon be admitted to the European Union.

Russian lawyer receives rights award in Prague

A Russian lawyer active for years in human rights defence throughout the former Soviet Union has received a high award in Prague from the International Helsinki Human Rights Federation which has been holding a meeting in the Czech capital.

Mr Yuri Schmidt has in the past defended a Russian navy officer accused of hight treason for disclosing that Russian submarines are unsafe.

Mr Schmidt has defended also Afghan refugees in Russia and leaders of Nagorno- Karabakh and North Osetia.

Greek ForMin to visit CzechRep

The Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreu arrives in the Moravian town of Olomouc today at the start of an international conference on Southeast Europe and a meeting with his Czech counterpart Jan Kavan.

The two ministers are expected to discuss cooperation in the economic renewal of the Balkans in general and Yugoslavia in particular.

Govt. sends off-road vehicles to Macedonia

The Czech government is donating two off-road vehicles to firefighters in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

The interior ministry in Prague has said it is sending two Russian-built Lada-Niva cars worth over 20,000 dollars to its Macedonian partners.

Earlier this year, Macedonia suffered from widespread forest fires and a Czech police helicopter was flown there to help put the fires out.

Czech weather report

Friday will be a wet day with early morning lows between three and seven degrees Celsius and afternoon highs between 10 and 14 degrees.

The weekend will be rather cool, with scattered showers, morning lows between six and eight Celsius and afternoon highs on Saturday between eight and 12 degrees and on Sunday between six and 10 Celsius.