News of Radio Prague

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Temelin could be shut down for one month

Operators at the Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia say the plant may be shut down for almost a month, as technicians try to rectify a number of problems. The Czech newspaper Pravo, quoting Temelin director Frantisek Hezoucky, said on Friday that the shutdown was expected to begin in June, when the Czech Republic's electricity consumption was low. The shutdown could delay commercial start-up of the controversial plant's first reactor, which is scheduled for June. Technicians have struggled for several months to fix abnormal vibrations, oil leaks and other problems with a power-generating turbine.

Austrian anti-nuclear activists launch new 'anti-Temelin' offensive

Austrian anti-nuclear activists announced they were launching a new offensive against Temelin on Friday, saying they would seek to establish ties with Czech politicians in their campaign against the plant. Green Party spokesman Rudi Anschober said his party would also be demanding the extension of a deadline for an environmental impact study until the end of the year, the halting of test operations, and the release of documents on the testing process. Earlier today a court in Prague ordered the deportation of a German environmental activist for letting off an air-raid siren at a demonstration against Temelin last year. The court found activist Volker Huvermann guilty of spreading false alarm.

Klaus: if Zeman resigns as PM, we withdraw from Opposition Agreement

The leader of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, has said if Milos Zeman resigns as Prime Minister, it will be the end of the so-called 'Opposition Agreement' - the power-sharing deal under which the Civic Democrats support Mr Zeman's minority Social Democrat cabinet in return for policy concessions and senior parliamentary seats. Mr Zeman has already said he will resign as leader of the Social Democrats at the party's national conference in April, but recently announced that he might offer his resignation as Prime Minister as well. Mr Klaus told the BBC on Friday that if Mr Zeman went, his party would no longer see any obligation to support the Social Democrat cabinet. However Mr Klaus also said he did not think Mr Zeman's offer to resign as Prime Minister was meant seriously.

Zeman defends Cuban human rights resolution

And earlier on Friday Mr Zeman defended his government's planned resolution condemning human rights abuses in Cuba, the wording of which has been criticised by the U.S. State Department. The resolution, to be submitted to a forthcoming U.N. human rights forum in Geneva, condemns human rights abuse on the island, but also criticises U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba, describing them as 'counter-productive'. Mr Zeman said in Prague on Friday that his government consulted its foreign policy with its partners, but emphasised that the Czech Republic was a sovereign state.

Zeman, Kavan could face police questioning over Zieleniec slander charges

Prime Minister Zeman and his Foreign Minister Jan Kavan could face police questioning over allegations of slander against the former Foreign Minister Josef Zieleniec. The state prosecutor involved in the case said on Friday that the two men could face questions to ascertain whether they had slandered Mr Zieleniec by claiming he had bribed journalists to provide positive coverage in the media. The accusations were made in 1999 by Mr Zeman and backed up by Mr Kavan. Both men later apologised to Mr Zieleniec after failing to provide evidence for the accusations.

Czech K-FOR soldiers deployed on Kosovo-Macedonian border

Thirty Czech soldiers have been deployed on the Kosovo-Macedonian border, as part as K-FOR's mission to prevent ethnic Albanian fighters re-supplying rebels across the border in Macedonia. A Czech Army spokesman said that the 30 soldiers, belonging to the 7th Reconnaissance Company, were part of the 400 K-FOR troops sent to the Macedonia border on Thursday to improve security. The Macedonian government has criticised NATO for failing to prevent ethnic Albanian rebels entering the country from Kosovo.

Kosovo Albanians sentenced for heroin smuggling

A court in the western city of Plzen has sentenced a Kosovo Albanian man to 11 years in prison for organising the smuggling of heroin to Germany. His brother was sentenced to 6.5 years, and a courier was sentenced to 4 years. The courier was caught on the border in May 1999 with four packets of heroin hidden in juice cartons. The two brothers deny all the charges and have appealed against the sentences.

Chief Rabbi opens Jewish Moravia exhibition in Brussels

The Czech Republic's Chief Rabbi Karel Sidon has opened an exhibition in Brussels devoted to the life of Moravia's pre-war Jewish community, most of whom perished in the Holocaust. The exhibition, entitled 'Jewish Moravia, Jewish Brno', contains a number of objects and photographs documenting the life of Moravia's Jewish community from its establishment in the Middle Ages to the present day. Before 1939 there were some 80,000 Jews living in Moravia - today that figure is around 500. But Rabbi Sidon said the community was growing once again, and the exhibition was part of an attempt to prove that Moravia's Jewish community was not dead.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weather. Friday night will be overcast with scattered showers and snow in mountainous areas. Night-time temperatures will fall to just above zero in some parts of the country. Saturday will remain cloudy, with more showers in places, and daytime temperatures peaking at 13 degrees Celsius. Sunday will be brighter, with sunny periods and the chance of light showers.