News of Radio Prague

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BBC: Germany to ask Czechs to shut down Temelin

Reports from the BBC say Germany is to ask the Czech Republic to shut down the controversial Temelin nuclear power station in South Bohemia. The BBC reported on Friday that Berlin had approved a statement calling on Prague to withdraw Temelin from service. German ministers are reported to have serious concerns over safety at the plant, which went into test operation last October. If the report is confirmed it will be a further blow to Temelin, which has suffered numerous technical problems since going into test operation and is currently shut for repairs on a turbine. The report has caused considerable confusion in Prague. The leader of the Czech Republic's ruling Social Democrats, Vladimir Spidla, said on Saturday that the document did not exist. However the Foreign Ministry announced shortly afterwards that the document was real, and was on its way to Prague.

German energy company halts imports of Czech electricity

In a separate development on Friday the German energy giant E.ON confirmed it was halting imports of all electricity from the Czech Republic. The decision came after public pressure in Germany from opponents to nuclear power, who are concerned about safety at Temelin. A further factor is thought to be a law recently passed in Germany that will enable the government to ban imports of electricity produced in nuclear plants in Eastern Europe which are suspected of being unsafe. E.ON was the Czech Republic's largest foreign customer, accounting for a quarter of the country's energy exports. A spokesman from the Czech energy company CEZ declined to comment on the decision, saying that talks were still under way with E.ON.

Czech soldier dies while diffusing mortal shell in Bosnia

A Czech soldier has died while diffusing a mortar shell in Bosnia. Defence Minister Jaroslav Trvdik said the 23-year-old soldier, a member of the SFOR peacekeeping mission, had died after inhaling poisonous chemicals produced when six mortar shells discovered by local residents were detonated in a controlled explosion. The soldier died shortly after being transferred by helicopter to a nearby military hospital.

Interior Ministry: rise in support for extremist groups

The Interior Ministry has released a study warning of rising support for extremist groups in the Czech Republic. The study suggested that support for extreme-right skinhead groups had risen by 25 percent since 1999, while support for far-left and anarchist groups had risen by at least 60 percent. The study estimated that there were around 6,200 active far-right skinheads in the Czech Republic, mostly in Prague and North Moravia, while there were around 4,200 members of far-left and anarchist groups.

Further racist attacks on Roma

Meanwhile Czech police have reported two separate serious racist attacks against members of the Roma minority. Following one incident in the eastern city of Ostrava a man was hospitalised with serious injuries after being stabbed repeatedly by four skinhead youths, who set upon a group of Romanies in the street. In the western town of As, near the German border, three youths face charges of propagating racism, after they smashed down the door of a flat belonging to a Roma family. A police spokeswoman said they broke windows and shouted racist slogans.

TV Nova: man died of legionnaire's disease at Na Homolce hospital

TV Nova claimed on Friday that a patient apparently died of legionnaire's disease at Prague's Na Homolce hospital last week. Doctors believe the man, who was admitted to hospital with heart problems, was carrying the highly infectious virus when he arrived in hospital, although they are still waiting for the results of laboratory tests. Workers at the hospital have begun taking special precautions to prevent the disease from spreading.

Czech media magnate faces further investigation

The supreme court of the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein has said it suspects the Czech media magnate, Vladimir Zelezny, of serious fraud. The court has asked the Czech authorities to help in gathering evidence, and the District Court for central Prague has promised to co-operate. Vladimir Zelezny's multi-million dollar transactions with a foundation based in Liechtenstein are already being investigated in the Czech Republic. Czech police suspect Mr Zelezny of damaging the interests of the American-owned company CME, once a major investor in Mr Zelezny's highly popular commercial TV station, TV Nova.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weekend's weather. Sunday will be another warm and humid day, with showers and isolated thunderstorms in places. Daytime temperatures will reach 29 degrees Celsius, falling to lows of around 17 degrees. Monday will be cooler, with more clouds and daytime temperatures falling to around 23 degrees.