News of Radio Prague

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Police file charges against 1968 Communist 'traitors'

Police investigators have once again asked the state prosecutor's office to indict two former high-ranking Communist officials for treason, saying there was enough evidence to prove they collaborated with Soviet officials immediately after the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. Similar attempts to try the two men, former Communist Party General Secretary Milous Jakes and former Czechoslovak Prime Minister Jozef Lenart, have failed in the past. The two men would be the most prominent Czech Communists to face trial since the 1989 fall of Communism. Police say the two committed treason by plotting to create a Stalinist 'worker-peasant' state with Soviet officials on August 22, 1968 at the Soviet embassy in Prague, one day after Warsaw Pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the reformist movement led by Alexander Dubcek. The talks did not have any concrete results. The two men could receive jail sentences of up to 15 years if charged and convicted.

Schuessel: Austrian veto of Czech EU membership "understandable"

The Austrian Chancellor, Wolfgang Schuessel, has said Austrian threats to veto the Czech Republic's membership of the European Union over the Temelin nuclear power plant are "understandable". Quoted in a newspaper interview on Monday, Mr Schuessel said the threats were understandable if Temelin did not have "maximum safety standards." Austrian politicians of all parties are heavily opposed to Temelin, which lies 60 kilometres from the country's northern border. They say its mixture of Soviet design and Western technology is unsafe, and point to a number of teething problems at the plant. The Czech authorities say the plant is safe and conforms to the highest standards. The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, is to pay a state visit to Austria on Thursday.

Temelin operator warns of "planned power changes" during test

Operators at Temelin warned on Monday that "planned power changes" would occur during the next few days as a testing programme is stepped up. The "planned events" were part of the second, "dynamic" test phase at the plant, which restarted two weeks ago following a three-month shutdown for major repairs, CEZ spokesman Milan Nebesar said. The tests could affect operations of the power-generating turbine and coolant pumps, which have had problems in the past, he added. Mr Nebesar said the plant was currently operating at 55 per cent capacity, adding that that the dynamic testing would be a "more demanding phase". The first of two reactors at the 3-billion-dollar reactor was launched last October. The second unit is scheduled to start next spring.

Police arrest body parts suspect, iDnes: corpse is man's girlfriend

Police in Brno say they have arrested a man accused of sending human body parts in the post. A spokeswoman said they had evidence that the man had sent two packages containing parts of a human body in mid-August. The body parts were discovered by post office employees, who were forced to open the uncollected packages due to the overpowering smell. The Internet version of the popular daily newspaper, Mlada fronta Dnes, claimed on Tuesday that the body parts are those of his girlfriend.

Education Minister: teachers' wages to rise by 10 percent

The Education Minister Eduard Zeman has said teachers' wages should rise by some 10 percent by the end of this year, as part of a package of reform to be submitted to parliament for the second time. The new legislation will include a 'career ladder' for Czech teachers, allowing better qualified teachers to rise up the pay scale more quickly. At present teachers are paid depending on their age and length of time in the profession.

Black doctor beaten up by racist patient

A 21-year-old man from the Southern Moravian town of Kyjov has been accused of racially-motivated assault after attacking a black doctor in the town's hospital. Doctor Alfides Monteiro was on duty at the hospital when the man was admitted with cuts to his arm. The man refused to be treated by a black man, hurled racial insults, and then physically assaulted him. The doctor, who came to the Czech Republic from Angola 16 years ago, is still recovering from his injuries at home.

Police in South Moravia discover 38 refugees hiding in goods van

Police in South Moravia discovered a group of 38 refugees hiding in a goods van on Friday. A spokesman said the group of refugees from China, Vietnam, Turkey and Iraq had entered the Czech Republic illegally from Slovakia. Police also arrested two men and the van's driver, who are accused of smuggling them across the border.

The ice man cometh again: Czech scientists to retrace steps of Oetzi

Scientists at a Czech university plan to improve their understanding of ancient man by literally retracing the steps of Oetzi, the name given to a mummified man locked in ice for some 5,000 years before being discovered in 1991. The scientists have created replicas of the animal-skin shoes worn by Oetzi, whose well-preserved corpse was discovered by hikers near the Austrian-Italian border 10 years ago. Members of the research team from Tomas Bata University in Zlin and Innsbruck University in Austria will put on pairs of replica shoes and take a high altitude walk near the discovery site in the Alps. An associate professor of shoe technology at Bata University said the goal was to learn more about ancient man's footwear and Oetzi's amazing ability to roam in a cold, harsh environment more than 3,000 metres above sea level.

Weather forecast

And finally a quick look at the weather. Wednesday will be a another rather cloudy day, with showers and rain in western parts of the country. Temperatures will rise in the daytime to highs of 18 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of 10 degrees.