News Saturday, OCTOBER 28th, 2000

By: Rob Cameron

Austrian anti-nuclear activists begin new demonstrations against Temelin

Some 200 Austrian anti-nuclear activists gathered at the Wullowitz border crossing on Friday in new demonstrations against the launch of the Temelin nuclear power plant, which lies just 50 kilometres from the Austrian border. Unlike previous border blockades, the demonstrators made no attempt to disrupt traffic. Demonstrators said they were waiting for the results of talks between the Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman, scheduled to take place on October 31st, before deciding on a future strategy.

Temelin director calls for objective reporting

Meanwhile, the general director of the Temelin nuclear power plant, Frantisek Hezoucky, has appealed to Austrian officials for greater objectivity in reporting on the Czech nuclear power station. Hezoucky sent an open letter to Wolfgang Kromp, the head of the Risk Assessment Institute in Vienna who recently inspected Temelin with a group of nuclear experts, asking him to give the Austrian public an objective report of his findings. Mr Hezoucky claimed that at the end of the inspection tour Mr Kromp admitted that many of his earlier concerns had been totally unjustified.

Sedivy: MiG crash partly due to human error

The head of the Czech Armed Forces, General Jiri Sedivy, has said the recent fatal air crash involving two MiG fighters was partly caused by human error and could have been avoided. General Sedivy said investigators were still piecing together the last minutes of the flight, in which two experienced pilots died. The two aircraft crashed near the Caslav air base during routine manoeuvres two weeks ago.

Allegations of police brutality being investigated

The Czech authorities have so far registered 320 complaints of police brutality against demonstrators during disturbances accompanying the recent IMF and World Bank meetings in Prague. Two parallel investigations are currently underway into the allegations. Meanwhile, according to police chief Jiri Kolar, three foreign citizens remain in detention in Prague, awaiting trial. A British anti- globalization activist was released on Thursday after paying the fast food outlet McDonalds more than a thousand dollars in damages.

Visegrad talks on minority rights

The member states of the Visegrad Group met in Prague on Friday to discuss minority rights in their respective countries. The meeting of Czech, Slovak, Polish and Hungarian representatives focused primarily on the situation of the Roma minority in their countries. Unemployment is high among Eastern Europe's Roma communities, and they are often exposed to violent attacks by neo-Nazi skinheads. Many have sought a better life in Western Europe in recent years.

Anarchists and ultra-right groups plan to hold gatherings on October 28th

The Czechoslovak Anarchists' Association has called a demonstration against fascism in Prague on Saturday, October 28th. The day is a national holiday in the Czech Republic, marking the birth of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. The ultra-right group Narodni Strana is also planning to hold a demonstration in the same square several hours later. Police are bracing themselves for clashes after the Czech government's rejection of Narodni Strana's application to register as a political party.

Apollo 13 commander presents Havel with piece of doomed craft

The commander of the Apollo 13 space mission, James Lovell, has presented the Czech President Vaclav Havel with a piece of the doomed Apollo 13 space module. Mr Lovell, who is of Czech descent, described the dramatic Apollo mission and the wonders of space flight to the President at Prague Castle on Friday. Apollo 13 was forced to abandon its April 1970 flight to the moon and barely managed to return to Earth.


Finally a look at the weekend's weather: Saturday will begin bright, but become gradually overcast as the day goes on with showers in places. Highest daytime temperatures will reach 14 degrees Celsius. Sunday will be similar, with temperatures reaching 16 degrees.