News Monday, DECEMBER 18th, 2000

By Nick Carey

Temelin shut down

The Temelin nuclear power plant has gone back on line, following a shutdown at the weekend. The controversial power plant was shut down late on Friday night due to a malfunction of the plant's condenser pumps. CEZ, the company in charge of constructing and operating Temelin, said in a statement that the first reactor at the plant, which began test operations in October, went into automatic shutdown after a pump malfunction. According to the Czech Nuclear Safety Agency, the shutdown was normal, and demonstrated that the plant's security systems were in working order. The malfunction occurred only hours after the nuclear safety agency had given the go ahead for CEZ to raise output in the first reactor to thirty percent. Austrian politicians reacted angrily to the news, saying that they were not informed of the shutdown until twelve hours after it took place, and some have called for the plant to be shut down permanently. The Czech Nuclear Safety Agency gave its approval for the plant to go back on line early on Monday morning.

Fresh demonstrations against Temelin

On a related note, fresh demonstrations against the Temelin nuclear power plant were held on both the Czech-Austrian and Czech-German borders on Saturday. Protestors claimed that an agreement reached by Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel and Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman earlier this week to implement further safety checks at Temelin, was insufficient.

Centre-right agrees to fight Communism

Representatives from centre-right parties from Central and Eastern Europe have agreed to unite in their fight against Communism. The joint declaration came at a meeting of thirteen parties from the region that was held in Budapest this weekend. The representatives, which included Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus from the Czech Republic, called for a united fight against communism, which they said had eliminated democratic and civic values in Central and Eastern Europe up until the fall of communism in the region in 1989. In a speech to delegates, Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek stated that only the centre-right could face up to the pressures and scheming of renamed Communist parties, which are in fact merely full of old communists. The conference also discussed the future membership of Central and Eastern European countries in the European Union, and issued a declaration that the new members of the Union, should have the same rights and obligations as current EU member countries.

Kavan: Czech presence in EP too small

In a letter to the European Commission, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has lodged a complaint over the amount of seats that will be allotted to the Czech Republic in the European Parliament, after the Czech Republic joins the EU. The Czech Republic is to receive twenty seats in the parliament, but Mr. Kavan says in his letter that this is unfair, as current EU countries with a similar population will receive two seats more than that. Mr. Kavan originally expressed his satisfaction with the deal, which was agreed at the historic EU summit in Nice last week, but now he wants the European Commission to resolve the situation in the European Parliament.

Germany: opinion poll favours expansion eastwards

A fresh public opinion poll in Germany has shown that most Germans are in favour of expanding the EU eastwards. Seventy four percent favour Hungary's bid for EU accession, sixty percent support Polish membership, and sixty one percent back the Czech Republic's candidacy. The poll shows, however, that the German public is not in favour of Turkey joining the Union, as only twenty eight percent said they were in favour of supporting Turkey's membership.

TV Nova: Bush had Czech ancestors

The Czech Republic's largest private television station, TV Nova, has broadcast a bizarre revelation about the new President-elect of the United States, George W. Bush Jr. According to TV Nova, Mr. Bush is a descendant of England's King Henry III, and as a result, his ancestors were related to the Czech Premyslid dynasty, and specifically King Vratislav II. The connection, the television station admits, is tenuous, as Mr. Bush is thirty four generations removed from Czech royalty, and consequently his blood is less than one percent Czech.

And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast.

Tuesday day should see overcast skies with snow showers expected in places, especially in hilly areas. The highest daytime temperatures should reach two degrees Celsius. The highest temperature during the night should be around minus two degrees Celsius, and could go as low as minus six. I'm Nick Carey, and that's the end of the news.