• 01/03/2003

    Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said there is no danger that rising river levels in areas of Bohemia will lead to floods like those which caused devastation in August. Mr Spidla said on Friday that he was aware of the tension which had arisen over the rising river levels in recent days but reassured the public the situation was being constantly monitored and was under control. New anti-flood measures are being prepared and will draw upon 3.7 billion Czech crowns made available by the European Solidarity Fund, said the prime minister. The worst-hit river at the present time is the Vltava, which should be at it's highest in Prague around 10 o'clock on Friday evening.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 01/03/2003

    Prime Minister Spidla said on Friday he expected key negotiations on finding a successor to President Vaclav Havel to take place after a bicameral vote on January 15. Talks between the parties in parliament have not secured sufficient support for any of the official candidates to win at the first attempt. Mr Spidla has in the past not ruled out changing the constitution to allow a direct election if the January 15 vote fails to find a successor to Mr Havel, who steps down at the beginning of February.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 01/03/2003

    The prime minister has also been telling journalists about his government's preparations for a mid-June referendum on European Union membership, which will be the first referendum in the country's history. Mr Spidla said the coalition's campaign would be informative and of a political character rather than a ‘sales campaign'. Government ministers will explain both the pros and cons of joining the union in the coming months, added Mr Spidla.

    Author: Ian Willoughby
  • 01/02/2003

    Austrian anti-nuclear protesters in the town of Friedstadt have launched a hunger strike to protest the Czech Republic's controversial Temelin nuclear power plant, at a time when technicians at the plant are busy increasing capacity at the nuclear facility. Each of the plant's twin units is expected to be operating at full capacity by April after years of tests and delays, a spokesman for the CEZ power company has said; Unit 1 was idle in December to save fuel, while Unit 2 has been undergoing rotor repairs. The dozen Austrian protesters taking part in the hunger strike say it will last five days. Meanwhile, one organiser said an extended hunger strike would begin in April unless the European Union and the Czech Republic negotiate a new plan for Temelin as part of the EU enlargement treaty. The protest is the first hunger strike in a long series of anti-Temelin demonstrations on the Czech-Austrian border dating from the summer of 2000. Austrian protestors believe the plant is unsafe because it combines Soviet-era with more modern western technology.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 12/30/2002

    The Czech Army command has said there will be no change in the number of Czech soldiers working for NATO's political and military structures in 2003. A spokesman said approximately 150 Czech military officers would be serving in NATO's command facilities in Europe and the United States. Czech officers will also continue to serve at the headquarters of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom in Florida.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 12/30/2002

    Staff at the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power station have re-launched the plant's first reactor, which was shut down in early December in order to save fuel. The reactor will reach full capacity in January, in order to meet increased demand for energy. Temelin's recently-launched second reactor was re-connected to the national grid on Sunday morning, after a four-month shutdown for repairs.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 12/30/2002

    Police have issued their traditional firework warning ahead of New Year's Eve. A spokesman said people should only buy fireworks which carry official safety certificates, and should purchase them in shops, rather than from street markets. Dozens of people are injured each year in firework accidents, and there have been several fatalities.

    Author: Rob Cameron
  • 12/28/2002

    The Central Bank has called on the Czech government to adopt reforms in public finances that would make it possible for the Czech Republic to adopt the currency of the European Union, the euro, as early as 2007. In a statement released on the bank's internet site Friday, the Central Bank said that analysis had shown that overall the situation was favourable for the Czech Republic to join the Eurozone relatively quickly. But, the bank stressed the need for some changes in economic policy to ensure the opportunity would not be missed. At the same time the bank has conceded that the outlook for current fiscal policy is not entirely consistent with the quick adoption of the euro. Criteria which must be met in order for the country to adopt the European currency requires, for example that the public finance deficit not exceed 3 percent of the Gross National Product. Current budget policy indicates, however, that by 2006, the public finance deficit could exceed 6 percent of the GNP.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 12/27/2002

    The Central Bank has called on the Czech government to adopt reforms in public finances that would make it possible for the Czech Republic to adopt the currency of the European Union, the euro, as early as 2007. In a statement released on the bank's internet site Friday, the Central Bank said that analysis had shown that overall the situation was favourable for the Czech Republic to join the Eurozone relatively quickly. But, the bank stressed the need for some changes in economic policy to ensure the opportunity would not be missed. At the same time the bank has conceded that the outlook for current fiscal policy is not entirely consistent with the quick adoption of the euro. Criteria which must be met in order for the country to adopt the European currency requires, for example that the public finance deficit not exceed 3 percent of the Gross National Product. Current budget policy indicates, however, that by 2006, the public finance deficit could exceed 6 percent of the GNP.

    Author: Jan Velinger
  • 12/21/2002

    The most popular choice to succeed Vaclav Havel as president is ombudsman Otakar Motejl, according to a survey carried out at the beginning of this month by the CVVM polling agency. Some 45 percent of Czechs would like to see Mr Motejl become president, the poll suggests. Of the official candidates for the post, the most popular is Petr Pithart of the Christian Democrats, with 37 percent support. The former leader of the Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, came third in the poll, with 31 percent. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said that if a bicameral vote in January to elect a president fails, the constitution could be changed to allow for a direct election. President Vaclav Havel's term concludes at the end of next month.

    Author: Ian Willoughby

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