News of Radio Prague

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Czech politicians welcome Chirac's victory

Czech politicians have congratulated French President Jacques Chirac on winning a second term in office, calling it a victory for Europe and democracy. President Havel said that President Chirac's landslide victory in the second round of elections was proof that France was moving in the right direction. The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman said he had anticipated President Chirac's victory saying that it was unthinkable that in the present day and age France should be ruled by a post-fascist. Nevertheless, he described the French Presidential elections as a lesson to all left-wing parties in Europe, including the Czech Social Democrats.

Czech government makes a deal with CEZ

The Czech government will allow the power utility CEZ to buy up state shares in 8 power distribution companies .The state share in these companies has been estimated at 32 billion Czech crowns. Under the agreement reached the government will receive a 66 percent stake in CEPS, a company with its own transfer network, worth 15 billion, and the remaining 17 billion will be paid by CEZ in stages over the next four years. According to government spokesman Libor Roucek this move should improve the future government's position in privatizing the power utility CEZ, but the decision has already been criticized by the leader of the strongest opposition party Vaclav Klaus.

Greenpeace activists warn of mercury contamination

Greenpeace activists on Tuesday staged a brief protest at the Spolana chemical plant on the river Elbe in order to draw attention to dangerous mercury waste on the site. Some two dozen activists from six countries accompanied by a TV crew sailed down the Elbe on an inflatable boat and briefly landed on company property to collect soil samples and erect a sign that read " Attention! Toxic mercury contamination!" Greenpeace claims that the Spolana site contains at least 250 tons of mercury which could poison the river if a flood occurred. The group of activists are being questioned by police. It is not yet clear whether any of them will be fined for trespassing on private property.

Wrong blood type kills patient

A Czech doctor faces up to five years in prison for negligence which killed a patient. The doctor is being held responsible for the death of a 70 year old patient who was given the wrong blood type in an emergency blood transfusion during heart surgery. The patient was given blood intended for someone whose operation had been cancelled at the last minute. The doctor said that she'd been confused by "a similarity of names" and in the rush she hadn't checked all the respective data. She faces from six months to five years in prison.

Three cases of arson explained

A twenty two year old hospital employee has admitted to three cases of arson at a Prague clinic. Police believe he also sent the hospital management two –as yet unexplained- bomb threats. Luckily none of the fires caused loss of life or injuries. The material damage has been estimated at around 600.000 crowns. The man in question was earlier treated at a psychiatric clinic and has not provided any explanation for his actions.

SOS village gets financial gift

Members of the European aristocracy who gathered in the west Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary last weekend have donated close to 200 thousand crowns in charity to the SOS village for orphaned children located in the town's vicinity. The SOS village has 12 houses – in which carefully selected adoptive mothers raise from 6 to 10 orphans as a family. The director of the SOS village project Petr Zmuda said he was surprised and very grateful to receive the unexpected gift which is to be used for maintenance and furnishings.

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast for the coming hours :

we can expect more rain overnight from overcast skies and night temps between 9 and 5 degs C. Tuesday should bring a gradual improvement with intervals of rain and shine and temp between 19 and 23 deg C. On Wednesday the summer weather should be back with afternoon highs reaching 25 degs C.