News of Radio Prague
Another body brings total number of flood casualties to 16
Czech police said on Monday they had recovered the body of another victim of floods that ravaged much of the country, bringing the death toll to 16. A police spokeswoman said the body of a 46-year-old man was found late on Sunday near the town of Litvinov, about 80 km north of Prague, adding that the victim probably died about 12 days earlier. Torrential rain in much of central Europe swelled rivers in the Czech Republic to record levels almost two weeks ago, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. Many of those evacuated remain barred from returning to their homes as numerous buildings suffer structural damage. Czech government officials have estimated the cost of repairing the damage to run between 2 to 3 billion U.S. dollars.
Spolana General Director fired
The General Director of the Spolana chemical factory, Radomir Vek, has been sacked following two serious leaks of toxic chlorine gas and liquid chlorine at the flood-damaged plant, just 25 km north of Prague. The plant's board has decided to replace Mr Vek with the General Director of Chemopetrol, Miroslav Kuliha, as of Tuesday. A third degree chemical alert was called in the north Bohemian town of Neratovice and several nearby villages on Friday following an accident at Spolana in which several hundred kilograms of poisonous chlorine gas were released into the air. A Spolana representative later admitted to other flood related problems, saying that close to 80 tons of chlorine had leaked into the river Elbe when the plant was flooded.
Meanwhile, at the plant itself, Spolana's emergency committee decided on Monday to begin pumping out the remaining 12 -14 tons of chlorine, to be converted into non-toxic sodium chlorate. Since a further leak of the chlorine gas into the air cannot be ruled out, rescuers have been put on alert and evacuation buses are ready to transport residents to a secure area.
Anonymous bomb threat closes Prague airport for four hours
Prague's Ruzyne international airport was shut down for four hours on Monday morning after a man who refused to identify himself called the airport at around 5.30 a.m. CET saying he had planted six bombs that would explode in 90 minutes. Airport officials immediately halted all outgoing traffic, forcing the cancellation of 13 flights, and evacuated the premises. Incoming planes were parked at a safe distance from the terminal and passengers had to stay on board. After no explosives were found when the airport was searched, the anonymous bomb threat proved to be a hoax and operations were resumed.
Czech beer sold as Belgian brand
The Belgian police have confiscated 400 barrels of Czech beer which was being sold under false pretences as the popular local Belgian beer Jupiler. One man, believed to be responsible for the fraud has also been arrested. The beer was mainly being sold to pubs and bars in the Brussels area. It is believed to have been produced in a pub south of the Czech capital, to be transported to Belgium and re-labelled as Jupiler beer. Since the beginning of the year, 300 to 400 50-litre barrels are to have been transported to Belgium.
And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Tuesday is expected to have partially clear skies with the occasional rain or thunderstorm in Bohemia. Temperatures in the daytime will range from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius.