News of Radio Prague

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Germany calls for talks with Czechs on Temelin safety concerns

The German government said on Tuesday that it wanted talks with the Czech Republic over safety issues at the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant. The German government released a fresh statement on Tuesday, toning down an earlier unofficial statement which had called on Prague to shut down Temelin altogther. Germany is now saying it has a number of technical reservations towards safety at the plant. Berlin reiterated that it was the Czech Republic's sovereign right to choose nuclear power, but that Germany's proximity to the plant gave it the right to make its voice heard. Germany also reassured Prague that it would not seek to link the Temelin issue with the country's bid to join the European Union. Temelin, situated around 60 km from the German and Austrian borders, has provoked anger in both Berlin and Vienna, with environmental activists and some senior officials saying its mixture of Soviet design and Western operating technology poses a risk to safety.

Spidla: Temelin is Czech issue

The Czech Republic's deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Spidla, said after a government meeting on Tuesday that the country was fully capable of operating Temelin to the highest standards. Mr Spidla told reporters he supported Czech technical experts who gave Temelin the green light last year, and said any future action would be "a fully sovereign decision by the Czech Republic." The Prime Minister, Milos Zeman, is expected to release a statement on the matter on Wednesday. Temelin has suffered numerous technical problems since going into test operation last October, and is currently shut for repairs on a generating turbine, situated in the non-nuclear side of the plant.

CEZ: Czech Republic can get by 'in short term' if Temelin is shut down

Meanwhile the Czech power utility CEZ, which owns and operates Temelin, said on Tuesday that the country could get by on current supplies and imports of electricity in the short term, if Temelin were to be shut down. However CEZ said long-term reliance on existing sources of energy would lead to higher electricity prices. Shares in CEZ slumped over 12 percent on Monday to 68 crowns, their lowest level since August 1999. On Tuesday, they had recovered to 73 crowns by mid-morning.

Prosecutors charge policeman who shot dead passer-by

Turning to other news now, and a policeman who accidentally shot dead a passer-by while trying to stop a stolen car has been charged with causing her death. A police spokeswoman told reporters that the officer, who has not been named, had violated police firearms regulations. The incident took place in the town of Melnik, near Prague, shortly after 9 o'clock on Monday morning. The officer opened fire on the moving vehicle, accidentally killing a 46-year-old female pedestrian. He faces up to five years in prison if found guilty.

British immigration officials to check planes to London for Roma asylum seekers

Reports from Prague's Ruzyne Airport say that British immigration officials will begin checking passengers to London from Wednesday, in a bid to deal with growing numbers of Roma people applying for asylum in Britain. The Czech News Agency reported on Tuesday that the measures were being taken based on an agreement signed between Prague and London in February. The British Embassy says they are to deal with growing pressure on the British asylum system. Hundreds of Roma families have sought asylum in Britain in recent years, claiming widespread racial discrimination and persecution at home. The Czech government says they are economic migrants.

Businessman sentenced to 12 years in prison for murdering grandmother

A businessman who murdered his 69-year-old grandmother has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. The court heard how the 24-year-old man from Olomouc, in north Moravia, strangled the woman and then robbed her of jewellery and a camera worth around 20,000 crowns, or around 500 U.S. dollars. The man claimed he accidentally killed his grandmother in a rage after she insulted his wife.

Woman who cut police rope found guilty of attempted murder

And a woman who tried to cut a rope being used by a policeman to scale down the side of a tower block has been given a suspended sentence, after being found guilty of attempted murder. Daniela Chodounska was seen trying to cut the rope being used by a member of an elite police unit which was trying to apprehend the notorious escaped convict Jiri Kajinek. Mrs Chodounska is the wife of Petr Chodounsky, another convicted murder and a former accomplice of Kajinek's.

Austrian soldiers detain 33 illegal immigrants near Czech border

Soldiers patrolling Austria's northern border detained a group of 33 illegal immigrants near the town of Hohenau on Monday, apparently after they had crossed the Czech border illegally. The group consisted of 12 children and 21 adults from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Refugees enter Austria illegally almost daily, many of them via the country's border with the Czech Republic.

Czech govt hopes to raise 500 million dollars on 3G mobile licences

The Czech government hopes to raise more than 20 billion crowns, or around half a million U.S. dollars, by selling licenses to operate the UMTS or so-called third-generation mobile phone networks. The Czech Telecommunications Office has offered three licenses exclusively to the current three GSM operators for 6.7 billion crowns each. Although the three operators have shown an interest in acquiring the licences, doubts have been raised about the cost. UMTS systems allow mobile phones to be used for a variety of services including video transmissions and access to the Internet.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weekend's weather. Wednesday will see more cool and cloudy weather with showers in places. Daytime temperatures will reach a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of 15 degrees.