News of Radio Prague

Minister Kavan says Austrian petition may damage relations

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has warned that the Austrian petition against the Temelin nuclear power plant could damage bilateral relations. "The closure of the Temelin nuclear power plant is out of the question. The Czech Republic never accepted the argument that only a closed Temelin equals a safe Temelin" the Czech Foreign Minister said in an interview for the Austrian weekly Profile due to hit news stands on Monday, the same day on which the petition, organized by the Austrian Freedom Party, is to be open for signature.

Rift over Temelin in |Austrian governing coalition

The petition, which demands that Austria should veto Czech EU membership unless the Temelin nuclear power plant is closed down, has come under severe criticism from the conservative People's Party, the Freedom Union's coalition partner. In a strongly worded letter to 2,500 mayors from his party, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said support for the petition would damage Austria internationally and isolate it within the EU. Political commentators are speculating whether the growing rift over the Temelin nuclear power plant could bring down the Austrian governing coalition. In a related development, the Czech government has postponed a planned nuclear safety exercise in the vicinity of the Temelin nuclear power plant, saying it did not want the exercise "misinterpreted" by anti-nuclear activists.

Social Democrats to launch petition

The governing Social Democratic Party has decided to launch a petition to support its drive for a law on national referendum. According to party leader Vladimir Spidla the petition will be open for signature at public places and the party's headquarters as of January 21st for the duration of one week. The Social Democrats have long tried to get a proposed bill on national referendum approved but have been hampered by opposition from the centre right Civic Democrats and members of the opposition Four Party Coalition. The governing Social Democrats have now hinted that in return for support for their bill on national referendum they would be prepared to support the Four Party Coalition's proposal for a direct election of the President.

Change of lifestyle cuts heart attacks by half

Over the past ten years a change of lifestyle in the Czech Republic has cut the number of heart attacks by a half. Cardiovascular diseases are still widespread but doctors say that due to better eating habits Czechs have prolonged their average life-expectancy and significantly reduced the risk of heart attacks in middle age. Over the past ten years Czechs have learnt to eat more vegetables, fish and poultry. Eating habits have also been influenced by the fact that since 1989 the state stopped subsidizing products such as red meat, butter, lard and cheeses, which formed a stable part of the Czech diet.

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast for the coming hours:

We can expect a cold night with temperatures dropping to minus 10 degs C. Monday morning is expected to be foggy and overcast in many parts of the Czech Republic but skies should clear as the day progresses. Meteorologists forecast more snow showers and day temps between 0 and minus 4 deg C.