News of Radio Prague

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Austrian nuclear demonstrators block Czech border at Wullowitz

Austrian anti-nuclear activists held fresh blockades of the Czech-Austrian border on Friday, closing down one of the most important border crossings with the Czech Republic. Austrian police stood by while hundreds of demonstrators stopped traffic at the Wullowitz border crossing, the first blockade to take place this year. The activists want the Czech Republic to shut down the Temelin nuclear power station, located several dozen kilometres from the Austrian border, because they say its mixture of Soviet design and Western technology is unsafe. Temelin has suffered numerous problems since the first of its two reactors was brought online for testing in October. Last year saw a series of blockades by anti-nuclear activists. The local authorities refused to call the police to end them, saying Austrians had the right to protest against Temelin.

3,000 demonstrate on Czech-German border

Meanwhile some 3,000 German protestors attended a demonstration against Temelin on Saturday, at the Philippsreut-Strazny border crossing. They did not prevent traffic from crossing the border, but the demonstration was the biggest to take place at the crossing so far. A special commission is currently reviewing the plant's impact on the environment, as part of an agreement between the Czech and Austrian governments signed in the Austrian town of Melk. A report is due in June, when Temelin was originally meant to go into full operation.

Czech TV dispute slips further into history books

Another chapter of the dispute over the country's public television network, Czech Television, was closed on Friday with the dismissal of all civil complaints stemming from the dispute. Quoting a government investigator, the CTK news agency said all 106 legal cases were found to be without merit because no crimes were committed. An investigator said that any offences that happened during the two-month crisis, including the take-over of the Czech Television newsroom by rebel journalists - were related to violations of labour, trade or administrative regulations, and not the penal code. Dozens of complaints were filed by individuals and groups representing the journalists, TV management and viewers during the crisis, which was sparked off by the appointment in December of Jiri Hodac as the network's new General Director. Critics said Mr Hodac would not guarantee freedom from political interference and claimed he had close links to the right-of-centre Civic Democrats. The dispute was accompanied by the biggest street protests since the fall of Communism. Mr Hodac resigned in January.

Police break up suspected pervitine gang

Police in Prague say they have broken up a gang manufacturing and selling the drug pervitine. A spokesman said four people were arrested in a special operation on April 19th in the village of Senohraby, east of Prague. All four have been charged with drugs offences. Police found a home-made laboratory and chemicals for producing the drug at a cottage belonging to one of the four. Pervitine, more commonly known as Piko, is an amphetamine-based drug similar to speed. It is highly popular amongst Czech teenagers, being cheap and commonly available. It is also highly addictive, and doctors say regular use produces serious physical and psychological damage.

Croatia initials free trade agreements with Czechs

Croatia has initialled free trade agreements with the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The liberalisation of trade in industrial products will take place next year, the country's economics ministry announced on Friday. The ministry also said that Croatia's aim was to sign similar accords with all Central European Free Trade Associations countries, since Croatia wants to become a full CEFTA member in the near future.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Saturday night will be cloudy with rain in places, especially in northern areas. Night-time temperatures will fall to lows of four degrees Celsius. Sunday will remain cloudy, with showers and isolated thunderstorms in the west and brighter weather in the east. Daytime temperatures will peak at 20 degrees Celsius. And meteorologists say we can expect brighter, sunnier and warmer weather next week.