News Tuesday, DECEMBER 19th, 2000

By Rob Cameron

Czech politicians criticise Schroeder remarks over free movement of labour

Czech politicians have criticised calls by the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, for a seven-year postponement of the free movement of labour for new EU members. Mr Schroeder said many Germans were worried about an influx of labour from Eastern Europe when countries such as the Czech Republic and Poland join the EU. The EU's Schengen Treaty guarantees the free movement of goods and labour across European Union borders.

Anti-Temelin convoy heading for Vienna

A convoy of 70 vehicles is to drive through the centre of Vienna on Tuesday, to protest against the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia. Members of the protest, called 'Wake Up Vienna!,' will deliver a list of demands to the Czech Embassy and the Austrian Government. Protestors also plan to install a billboard outside the Austrian Parliament, to warn of the dangers of nuclear power. The Austrian anti-nuclear lobby has rejected an agreement reached last week by Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman. Prague agreed to an environmental impact study sponsored by the European Union, and will not put Temelin into full operation until the study is completed.

Kavan out of post-op intensive care

The Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Kavan, has been moved out of intensive care following heart surgery on Friday. Mr Kavan, who had a quadruple bypass, has been moved into a regular ward and could be home for Christmas, said his spokesman Ales Pospisil. Doctors say there were no complications during the operation, and that the minister is recovering well.

Czech arrested for smuggling illegal immigrants into Austria

Austrian police have arrested the Czech driver of a vehicle carrying 11 foreigners, who they say crossed the border illegally. The group - eight Chinese and three Indians - were travelling with no documents when the vehicle was stopped near the Austrian town of Mistelbach, close to the Czech border. The Czech driver was arrested and charged with smuggling offences.

Board of Czech Television faces stormy protests

The supervisory board of Czech Television, the country's public television network, meets on Tuesday amid continuing accusations of mismanagement and failing to resist political pressure. The board, which is appointed by a parliamentary commission, will discuss the appointment of a successor to outgoing Czech Television General Director Dusan Chmelicek, who was sacked last week after less than a year in the job. Waiting for board members outside the station's Prague headquarters will be a demonstration by more than forty media organisations, who are calling for the board to resign immediately.

Government to spend 200 million on high-rise repairs

The government is to release 200 million crowns for the regeneration of the country's high-rise tower blocks - known as 'panalaks' after the panels of concrete from which they are made. The country's high-rise estates were built by the Communists from the 1960s to the 1980s, to meet an acute housing shortage during rapid industrialisation. Most of them, however, were built to last only decades, and need regular investment.

Weather And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. There'll be an overcast start to Wednesday, with fog in places, but the clouds will clear as the day goes on. Temperatures will reach a maximum of two degrees Celsius in the daytime, falling to lows of minus seven in some areas at night. I'm Rob Cameron, and that's the end of the news.