News of Radio Prague

Temelin dispute rages on

The dispute continues over safety at the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power plant, with senior officials on both sides of the border warning the dispute is worsening relations and could delay the process of European Union enlargement.

Czech ambassador: return to atmosphere of "nervousness and mistrust"

The Czech ambassador to Austria, Jiri Grusa, has warned relations between the two countries have returned to an atmosphere of nervousness and mistrust. Mr Grusa told Austrian radio that the relationship between Prague and Vienna was fraught with tension over the plant, saying Austria's junior coalition Freedom Party was mostly to blame. The far-right party has called for a veto of Czech EU membership if Temelin goes into full operation. The Freedom Party's senior coalition partner - Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's People's Party - has said the threat of veto is unacceptable, and has called for more negotiations with Prague.

Austrian enlargement envoy: Temelin dispute "destroying" relations with Prague

Meanwhile Austria's special envoy for EU enlargement, Erhard Busek, has said the dispute over Temelin is destroying relations with Prague, and is having a negative effect on cross-border trade and tourism. Mr Busek, a former Vice-Chancellor of Austria, also spoke out against threats to veto Czech EU membership. Speaking in an interview with the Austrian daily Die Presse, Mr Busek said there was no question of shutting down Temelin. He also said EU enlargement without the Czech Republic would be pointless.

Austrian Social Democrats call for new elections

And Austria's opposition Social Democrats have called for new elections, saying Mr Schuessel's coalition was paralysed by internal differences over Temelin and other issues. On Thursday the European Commission rejected an Austrian initiative for a European conference on ways for the Czech Republic to shut down Temelin. On Friday the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was quoted by Czech officials as saying there were no safety grounds on which to halt the plant's trial operation. Anti-nuclear activists say Temelin's mixture of Soviet design and Western operating technology poses a risk to safety; the Czech authorities insist the plant is safe.

Czech Republic to become member of Stability Pact

The Czech Republic is set to become a member of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe - an EU initiative designed to contribute to political and economic reconstruction of the Balkans. The Pact's co-ordinator, Bodo Hombach, made the announcement on Friday, after talks with the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman in Trieste, Italy, at a meeting of the Central European Initiative.

Pithart visits Ground Zero, warns against curbing of human rights

The chairman of the upper house, Petr Pithart, has ended his visit to the United States by warning against the curbing of human rights in the name of greater security. Speaking after a visit to Ground Zero - the site of the destroyed World Trade Center - Mr Pithart said fundamental human rights and freedoms must not be given up in the name of patriotism or security.

Search for bank robber in Usti nad Labem

Police are searching for a man who made off with more than a million crowns in cash from a bank in the northern town of Usti nad Labem, after threatening staff with explosives. Pyrotechnic experts later said the package used by the man to threaten staff did not contain a bomb. None of the bank's staff were injured in the incident.

Police warn drivers to avoid snowbound mountain roads

Police have warned drivers to avoid roads in hilly and mountainous areas of north Moravia. A spokesman said many roads were covered with thick snow, and some had been closed. Snow ploughs and gritting lorries are now trying to keep local roads clear of snow and ice.


And finally a look at the weather. Sunday will see more cold weather, with a mixture of sunshine and cloud and more snow in north-eastern parts of the country. Temperatures in the daytime will range from minus 1 to plus three degrees Celsius, falling on Sunday night to lows of up to minus seven in eastern parts of Moravia.