News of Radio Prague

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Temelin shutdown again

The Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia has been shutdown for the second time in less than a week due to turbine problems. According to the plant's spokesman, engineers at Temelin discovered vibrations in the turbine and ordered it turned off for two days for repairs. Output at the plant's first reactor has been reduced to under two percent. Temelin has suffered a series of setbacks since it commenced test operations last October, and had been on line for just days following a shutdown at the weekend. Austrian environmentalists, who are strongly opposed to Temelin, have been strongly critical of the latest shutdown.

Prague High Court gives go ahead for highway ring road

The High Court in Prague has overruled objections by environmentalists to a highway ring road around the West Bohemian city of Plzen. The court ruled that the Ministry for Regional Development's construction plans for the highway ring road, which has been fiercely debated by local residents and environmental groups for several years now, were in order, and that construction can go ahead. The High Court stated that objections submitted by environmental groups and two villages on the proposed route were insufficient. The ring road should be completed by 2005.

Zantovsky: poor relations with US not in Czech interests

The head of the Czech Senate's foreign affairs committee, Michael Zantovsky, has warned against harming relations with the United States over a Czech-sponsored UN resolution condemning Cuban human rights violations. Mr. Zantovksy, who is currently on a ten-day working visit to the US, said that relations with America are a key part of Czech foreign policy, and that it is not in Czech interests to weaken ties with its largest ally. The proposed UN resolution contains a clause that describes economic sanctions against Cuba as counterproductive. This clause has been criticised by the US, in particular by US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

Czechs tie with Denmark in World Cup qualifier

The Czech Republic has drawn 0-0 at home with Denmark in a World Cup qualifying match. The Czechs still lead their qualifying group, but their lead has been reduced to just one point. Both teams had several shots at goal, but Czech goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek and his Danish counterpart Thomas Soerensen both made several key saves.

Dzurinda: we have come a long way

Ahead of an upcoming visit to Prague on Friday, Slovak Prime Minister Mikulas Dzurinda has praised recent progress made in Czech-Slovak relations. "We have come a long way," Mr. Dzurinda told the Czech News Agency, and he said that after years of disputes following the split of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, he is optimistic about the future.

Supreme Court rules in favour of conscientious objector

The Czech Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a former conscientious objector who was sentenced to two years in prison in 1977 for refusing to participate in military exercises. The court ruled that the law was broken in Karel Ondrejcik's case, who refused to participate on religious, because he was not given a fair hearing to ascertain what the reasons for his refusal were. The Supreme Court has recommended that the district court in Decin in Northern Bohemia re-examine the case.

Government proposes issuing bonds to cover deficit

The Czech government has approved a proposal to issue state bonds worth 40 billion Czech Crowns, or more than one billion US dollars, to cover most of this year's state budget deficit, which totals 49 billion Czech Crowns. If the proposal is passed by parliament, the Finance Ministry will be allowed to issue the bonds this year. The Finance Ministry has proposed issuing the bonds to reduce the overall state deficit, which is expected to reach 370 billion Czech Crowns, or more than ten billion US dollars, by the end of the year.

Police find 33 immigrants being smuggled to Germany

Police in Northern Bohemia have discovered 33 Indian refugees concealed in a truck on its way to Germany. According to a spokesman for the Czech border police, this is the largest group of immigrants that officers have discovered trying to cross the German border illegally so far this year. Eleven of the refugees have already applied for political asylum in the Czech Republic, and have been returned to Czech refugee camps. The rest have been transferred to a camp for illegal immigrants.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Thursday should see cloudy skies with scattered rain showers in places. Daytime high temperatures are expected to reach eleven degrees Celsius. Night-time lows on Wednesday are expected to drop to minus four degrees Celsius. The weather is expected to stay the same on Friday.