News of Radio Prague

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Czechs wait for mysterious German letter calling for Prague to shut down Temelin

The Czech government is waiting for a letter from Germany, which apparently calls on Prague 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.

Amelie From Montmartre wins Crystal Globe at Karlovy Vary

The French film Amelie From Montmartre has won the main prize, the Crystal Globe, at the 36th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The film, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, tells the story of a Paris waitress who discovers a box in her apartment containing the former tenant's childhood belongings. The special prize went to the Polish Film Hi, Tereska, and the Hungarian director Ibolya Fekete won the Director's prize for her film Chico.

Czech tennis legend Lendl inducted into Hall of Fame

The former world number one Ivan Lendl has been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Lendl, who lives in the United States, spent 270 weeks ranked as world No.1, just three weeks short of Jimmy Connors's all-time record. Over the course of his career, Lendl won 94 singles titles, including three U.S., three French and two Australian Opens, bet never won Wimbledon. Lendl was born in the city of Ostrava in 1960, but emigrated from Czechoslovakia in the 1980s and became an American citizen in 1992. He retired from tennis in 1994 because of recurring back problems.

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. The study also revealed a rise in the number of racially-motivated and other extremist crimes.

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

Monday will see cooler weather arriving in the Czech Republic from the west. The day will be mostly cloudy, with more rain and storms in places. Daytime temperatures will peak at around 24 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of 15 degrees.