News Friday, OCTOBER 06th, 2000

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By: Libor Kubik

Czech charity raises funds for Serbia

The Czech humanitarian organisation People in Need has launched a fundraising effort on behalf of Serbia.

The appeal follows in the wake of the start of a people's revolution in Yugoslavia.

Riots broke out in Belgrade on Thursday, the parliament building was set on fire and the opposition took over the state television.

The Czech foundation has released half a million crowns from its own resources and launched a fundraiser SOS Serbia. It invited people to send donations to the charity\s account in the IPB Bank in Prague.

Havel: Yugo election outcome rejection is unacceptable

Czech President Vaclav Havel has described the rejection of last month's presidential vote outcomes by the Yugoslav regime is unacceptable, and the Czech Foreign Ministry has condemned Slobodan Milosevic's efforts to reverse the outcomes.

The president praised what he described as the prudent yet determined position of Serbia's democratic opposition, who have said the election results were manipulated.

The Foreign Ministry expressed deep concern over the latest developments in Belgrade and said it hoped for a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Yugoslavia's Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday that the election, in which the incumbent president Slobodan Milosevic apparently lost, must be repeated. The opposition claim that their candidate Vojislav Kostunica won the election in the first round.

Austrians to block Czech border over nuclear plant

Several thousand Austrian environmentalists have begun a 13-hour blockade of border crossings with the Czech Republic in protest at the planned launch of the controversial Temelin nuclear plant.

The Czech power company CEZ intends to activate the Soviet-designed power station some 50 kilometres from the Austrian border in the next few days, despite repeated protests from the Czech Republic's fiercely anti-nuclear neighbours.

Austria has even threatened to torpedo Czech efforts to join the European Union if its demands that the plant's activation be postponed until a team of international experts verifies its safety are not met. EU officials, however, say they have no mandate to interfere in the Temelin dispute.

The demonstrators, joined by government officials, have been blocked several border crossings with tractors since six o'clock this morning.

The Upper Austrian police headquarters said that traffic between the two countries would be paralysed and only pedestrians would be able to cross.

Austrian-Czech tensions over Temelin heightened when an Austrian inspection team were barred from sensitive areas of the reactors.

Central bank governor withdraws from EBRD race

The Czech National Bank's Governor Josef Tosovsky has withdrawn his candidacy for the post of vice governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Announcing his decision at a Prague press conference, Mr. Tosovsky said he was frustrated by so much foot-dragging about the decision who should fill the post.

He said he had been assured he was the most suitable candidate but had decided to pull out as no decision was in sight five months after deliberations started. He said he was pessimistic about an early nomination of a candidate.

Prague to reward cops injured in IMF riots

The City of Prague plans to award medals to police officers injured during violent clashes with anti-globalisation protesters coinciding with IMF and World Bank meetings late last month.

Rudolf Blazek, a city father in charge of security, has said medals tied to financial awards will go to 19 officers. A silver medal and 100,000 crowns will be awarded to the Prague Police Chief Radislav Charvat.

EU hopefuls urge Brussels to speed up talks

Leading candidates for European Union membership have urged the bloc to start making concessions to speed up their negotiations.

The pleas came as the 15-nation bloc held a new round of technical negotiations in Brussels at expert level with an increasingly impatient Czech Republic and five other frontrunner candidates.

All six countries started membership talks with the EU in March 1998.

Hockey: Hasek gets rough NHL start

Ice hockey - and Czech Dominik Hasek's farewell season got off to a rough start when the Buffalo Sabres' star goaltender suffered a knee injury in the first period of a game with the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

Hasek sustained what team officials described as a strained ligament behind his left kneecap. The incident occurred during a goalmouth scramble with 8 minutes 25 seconds to go in the opening period. Sabres defenceman Alexei Zhitnik checked Blackhawks All-Star Tony Amonte, who fell on a sprawled Hasek in the crease.

Two years ago, Hasek became the first netminder to win back-to-back Hart Trophies as NHL's most valuable player. He won five Vezina Trophies, backstopped the Czech Republic to the gold medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and carried the Sabres to last year's Stanley Cup Finals.

Czech weather report

And finally, the weather:

Friday will be a wet day in the western parts of the Czech Republic but it will be sunny in Moravia and Silesia. Daytime highs in Bohemia between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius and in the east, between 15 and 18 degrees, cooling to between seven and nine degrees in the night.

The weekend will be cloudy, with scattered showers and morning fogs especially in Bohemia. Nighttime lows on both days between seven and 11 Celsius, afternoon highs on Saturday around 15 degrees in the west and a little warmer in the east. Sunday's daytime highs between 13 and 17 degrees Celsius.