News of Radio Prague

Temelin controversy continues

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel has ruled out the possibility of his country's vetoing Czech membership in the EU in connection with the ongoing controversy over the Temelin nuclear power plant. "No amount of vetoes would make Temelin safer" Mr. Schussel told reporters in Vienna on Tuesday, saying that his government would continue talks with Prague. The remarks came shortly after the Austrian Right Wing Freedom Party said it would launch a nationwide petition for Austria to veto Czech membership in the EU if the Temelin power plant becomes fully operational. Earlier Tuesday, Austrian anti- nuclear activists disrupted a public hearing on the safety of the Temelin nuclear power plant held at Vienna's historic Hofburg Palace. Austrian and EU officials present at the hearing later described it as "fruitful".

Austria's environment minister, Wilhelm Molterer, added his voice to that of the Chancellor's, urging anti-nuclear activists to show greater restraint. "The Austrian government wants to continue talks in line with the Melk agreement", the environment minister said. "Anyone who casts doubt on this agreement, is undermining the Austrian government's position and playing into the hands of Temelin's advocates".

Czech EU envoy negotiates free movement of labour issue

In bilateral talks with Czech officials, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland have said they will not impose restrictions on the free movement of labour after the country joins the European Union. The Czech Republic's chief envoy to Brussels, Pavel Telicka, has so far met with the representatives of nine EU states. Mr. Telicka told the CTK news agency that he hoped that at the end of the marathon negotiations, 5 to 7 EU members would waive their right to a transition period . Germany, Austria and Finland have so far asked to impose a restriction period to be revised after two years. Other EU members, such as France, are as yet undecided, having asked for more time and negotiations. The Czech government has said it is in no hurry to close this particular chapter with the EU, emphasizing that it wants to negotiate the best possible deal with all 15 member states.

Mother of missing girl tries to commit suicide

The mother of five year old Terezka Cermakova, who has been missing for a week now, is hospitalized with serious internal injuries after jumping from a third floor window on Tuesday. Doctors report that her condition is no longer life-threatening. Mrs. Cermakova had been under severe pressure after admitting to police that she was drunk on the day her daughter disappeared and does not remember the events of that fatal day clearly. On Tuesday 600 policemen and numerous volunteers combed the Kladno region where the little girl went missing – the biggest ever operation launched in search of a missing child in the Czech Republic –without finding any trace of her.

President's veto of media law overruled

The Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday overruled President Havel's veto of the media law. In a fresh vote 135 out of 176 MPs present voted in favour of the controversial legislation. The President vetoed the law on the grounds that the proposed system of renewing radio and TV broadcasting licenses would allegedly complicate free competition in the field. The right of centre Four Party coalition has said it is disappointed by the outcome of the vote and that a group of its senators were considering taking the law to the Constitutional Court.

Gratias Agit Awards

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has presented the Jan Masaryk Gratias Agit Award to 15 individuals and organizations who have special merit in promoting democracy in the Czech Republic and serving the country's interests abroad. Among those honoured were foreign nationals who actively supported the local dissident movement by helping to raise funds and smuggling forbidden literature and documents into the former Czechoslovakia.

And finally, a quick look at the weather:

Wednesday should be another very warm and sunny day with afternoon highs between 26 and 30 degs C. Good as that sounds, it is not expected to last. A belt of rain will bring scattered showers, thunderstorms and a steep drop in temps on Thursday and Friday – to between 19 and 23 degs C.