News of Radio Prague

More precautions: foot-and-mouth disease

The State Veterinary Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture have debated further measures to avoid the possible spread of foot-and-mouth disease to the Czech Republic. Strict measures are already in place at all border crossings and international airports. Hygiene regulations for farm workers have been tightened and there is a ban on the movement of animals between farms. Access to all farms is restricted. The authorities say they will not order additional precautions unless the disease is transmitted to continental Europe. If it should appear in this country the State Veterinary Authority would consider inoculation of all farm animals at risk.

Temelin to be closed down for a week

The Temelin nuclear power plant, which is currently in trial operation, is to be closed down on Wednesday night for further repair work. According to Milan Nebesar, spokesman for the power utility CEZ, the repairs are aimed at further reducing vibrations in the pipes of a turbine and should last no longer than a week. After that the plant's reactor will be re-started. The plant's management has refused to comment on speculation that the plant's commercial launch will have to be delayed by approximately two months due to repeated technical problems. Meanwhile, Austrian anti-nuclear activists see this latest closure as fresh confirmation that the plant has numerous defects and should be closed down for a thorough inspection.

State attorney against Chvalovsky's release on bail

The state attorney on the highly publicized court case against Frantisek Chvalovsky, President of the Czech-Moravian Football Association, has filed a complaint against the judge's decision to release Mr. Chvalovsky on a ten million crown bail. The state attorney says that there is good reason to believe that the accused will make use of the opportunity to destroy evidence and influence witnesses. The President of the Czech-Moravian Football Association faces charges of fraud amounting to 640 million Czech crowns, or 17 million US dollars. His spokesman said on Tuesday that Mr. Chvalovsky was planning to travel to Switzerland this week for some important financial transactions.

Czech woman says she did not flee the Philippines

Helena Cizkova, who was arrested and allegedly charged with fraud in the Philippines along with thirteen other foreign nationals in mid-February, has rejected claims that she escaped from the island illegally. The 24-year-old woman, who was detained and jailed for a week on suspicion of fraudulent transactions on the Manila stock exchange, said that she and the rest of the group had been released on bail. She and the others left the Philippines on February 23rd allegedly on the advice of their lawyers. The local authorities insist that the group escaped from the country illegally after paying bail.

Croatian President visits Czech Republic

The Croatian President, Stipe Mesic, has been meeting senior Czech officials on his first ever state visit to the Czech Republic. The visit is seen as an attempt to revive Czech-Croatian relations which have suffered as a result of the Balkans war. The Croatian head of state was received at Prague Castle by President Vaclav Havel for talks which focused on the situation in the Balkans and European integration. On Wednesday President Mesic is due to meet with Prime Minister Milos Zeman and present a lecture at Charles University.

Beef fraud

The State Inspection Authority has discovered fresh cases of beef being secretly added to meat products such as salami and sausages. Nine out of 65 samples of meat products where beef was not on the label were found to contain it. Six of those samples were Czech products, while the remaining three had been imported from Hungary, Austria and Spain. The practice of secretly adding beef to certain meat products is a result of the BSE meat-scare and plummeting beef sales. The State Inspection Authority says it has doubled random checks and has thus far issued fines to the tune of 300,000 Czech crowns.


And finally a quick look at the weather forecast: Tuesday night should be cold and clear with nighttime lows dropping to minus 6 degs C. Wednesday should bring clear to partly cloudy skies and temps between 4 and 8 degs C.