News of Radio Prague

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Upper Austria province to take CEZ to court over Temelin

The province of Upper Austria has announced it is going ahead with a lawsuit against the Czech power utility CEZ, which owns and operates the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power station. The governor of Upper Austria, Josef Puehringer, said the province would seek a court ruling to prevent CEZ from putting Temelin into full operation in its present technical state. Mr Puehringer said the suit would be against the effects of a possible incident at Temelin, which has suffered serious technical problems since going into test operation last year. A lawyer from the province said if the lawsuit was successful, CEZ would be unable to put Temelin into commercial operation or even continue with tests without paying large fines.

Austrian power utility says German partner will pull plug on Czech electricity

Meanwhile a spokesman for Austria's state-owned electricity utility Verbund has claimed the German power company E.ON is planning to halt electricity imports from the Czech Republic because of German opposition to the Temelin plant. The spokesman said E.ON was pulling out of contracts with CEZ on the supply of electricity to Germany. A CEZ spokesman denied the claims, saying the company was still in talks with the German firm. E.ON is CEZ's largest foreign customer, accounting for approximately one quarter of Czech electricity exports.

Austria to release compensation funds 'within three weeks'

Austria has told Prague it will begin ordering compensation payments to former Nazi slave labourers within three weeks. The Czech Republic's chief negotiator for compensation, Jan Sechter, said Austria was still waiting for the withdrawal of multiple lawsuits in the United States before releasing the funds. Vienna has said it will not pay compensation until the individual suits are withdrawn. Mr Sechter said some 10,000 people would be eligible for compensation. Germany has already begun paying compensation to some 70,000 former slave labourers, forced to work for German firms during the Nazi occupation.

Liechtenstein prince fails in European Court suit against Berlin =

The ruler of the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein has failed in his bid to win back an oil painting, seized after the Second World War by the Czechoslovak government and exhibited ten years ago in Germany. The European Court of Human Rights rejected the lawsuit filed by Prince Hans Adam II against Berlin, saying that a Second World War peace treaty blocked any renegotiation of war reparations. Prince Hans Adam has spent years in the courts trying to recover the oil painting, "Scene at a Roman Lime Kiln", by the Dutch painter Peter van Laer. The picture, estimated to be worth some 225,000 dollars, was exhibited in Germany in 1991 on loan from Czechoslovakia. The prince says the post-war confiscation was unfair, because the Liechtenstein family - who lay claim to large amounts of property in Czechoslovakia - were not German.

Deputy Foreign Minister Palous names as new man in Washington

The Czech Republic's deputy Foreign Minister Martin Palous has been named as the country's new ambassador to the United States. Mr Palous, a former dissident and spokesman for the Charter 77 human rights movement, will be appointed by President Vaclav Havel. Mr Palous replaces Alexandr Vondra, who is leaving the post to take charge of preparations for next year's NATO summit in Prague.

Lumberjack faces 10 years in prison after falling tree kills two

A lumberjack from the eastern town of Olsovec faces up to 10 years in prison, after cutting down a tree that crushed a passing car, killing a man and a woman travelling inside. Police said the 42-year-old man would probably be charged with a violation of safety procedures leading to death. The victims were driving past the wood-cutting area when the tree fell on their car, killing them instantly.

New study: 16 percent have personal experience of domestic violence

A survey carried out by the Interior Ministry shows 16 percent of respondents admitting to personal experience of domestic violence. Thirteen percent said they had been the victims of violence, while three percent admitted to being the aggressors. The most frequent victims were women, although the study showed an increase in the number of male victims. An Interior Ministry official said domestic violence was a real problem in the Czech Republic, and the ministry was proposing measures to combat it.

Croatia deports two Czechs for possession of marihuana

The Croatian authorities have deported two Czech youths for possession of marihuana. A Czech consul spokeswoman said Croatian police had discovered minor amounts of the drug, which the youths claimed someone had hidden in their car. It was the first such case this year.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weekend's weather. Saturday will be another rather cloudy day, with showers and isolated storms. with daytime temperatures peaking at 27 degrees Celsius. Sunday will stay cloudy, but warmer, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees.