News of Radio Prague

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Spolana halfway through chlorine removal operation

Officials at the Spolana chemical plant north of Prague say they have pumped out around six of the twelve to fourteen tonnes of chlorine from a partially submerged storage tank. They said specialists were converting the chlorine into a harmless chemical. Fire crews and buses are on standby to evacuate residents in the event of an emergency. Leaks of both liquid chlorine and chlorine gas from Spolana over the last ten days have alarmed the authorities and local residents. On Monday the government intervened after a second leak of chlorine into the air, and Spolana's director was sacked. No one was hurt in the leak, but crops in surrounding fields and gardens were burnt.

Spolana on Greenpeace "Company Crimes" blacklist

Greenpeace has included Spolana in its "Company Crimes" report presented at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. Greenpeace has expressed grave concern over the activities of Spolana, saying that the plant's management has withheld information on matters that posed a serious threat to the public. Greenpeace has repeatedly highlighted the danger of poisonous dioxins and an estimated 25,000 kilograms of poisonous mercury which are stored at Spolana.

14th century Charles Bridge reopens to public

Prague's 14th-century Charles Bridge reopened to the public on Wednesday, two weeks after it was closed and nearly submerged in heavy floods. There were concerns the bridge would be seriously damaged by the swollen River Vltava, but the famous monument appears to have emerged intact. The bridge was badly damaged in 1890, when several columns were swept away by the swollen river. Charles Bridge is one of Prague's most popular tourist attractions.

Czech Republic comes halfway in TI corruption perceptions index

The Czech Republic has come halfway down Transparency International's annual corruption perceptions index. The country came joint 52nd with Slovakia and Latvia, out of a total of 102 countries surveyed. Other post-Communist countries - including Poland and Hungary - were judged to be less corrupt, and came higher up the list. In first place was Finland, while Bangladesh and Nigeria came joint last.

Czechs less keen on death penalty than post-Communist neighbours

A new survey suggests support for the death penalty is far lower in the Czech Republic than elsewhere in the former Soviet bloc. The survey, carried out by the CVVM agency, claimed that 56 percent of Czechs supported capital punishment, compared to 60 percent of Hungarians, 68 percent of Bulgarians and 74 percent of Poles.

Police: man confesses to murdering 9-year-old girl

Police say a 20-year-old man has confessed to the murder of a nine-year-old girl whose body was discovered in the eastern village of Praskacka on Monday. The man is from the same village. Police are now investigating the motive for the crime.

Weather forecast

Thursday will be another hot and muggy day, with showers and storms throughout the country. Temperatures in the daytime will range between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius.