Czech power producer CEZ said on Friday it would shut down for almost a month the first of two reactors at its nuclear power plant Temelin for planned maintenance work. The shutdown will last from August 2 to August 29. CEZ, which covers 60 percent of the domestic market and claims to be Europe's second biggest electricity exporter, operates two 1,000 megawatt reactors at Temelin, some 60 km north of the Austrian border. Opponents, mainly in the nuclear-free Austria say Temelin's mixture of Soviet design and Western operating technology poses a risk to safety; Temelin's operator CEZ says the plant is safe.
President Vaclav Klaus, who is recovering from a recent illness at the presidential summer residence in Lany, central Bohemia, will stay there for another week, according to the Press Department of the Presidential Office. President Klaus is also expected to appoint new constitutional judges at the Lany Chateau and also charge Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla with taking over some duties of the justice minister since current Minister Pavel Rychetsky is leaving his post to become a Constitutional Court judge.
Police say they have arrested a fifty-five-year old man suspected of threatening to poison drinking water in Prague this week. A police spokeswoman said the man is suspected of scaremongering and blackmail. An anonymous blackmailer wrote to the mayor of Prague Pavel Bem on Tuesday threatening to poison drinking water in pipes in Prague with cyanide and mercury unless given an unspecified amount of money. If convicted, the man is facing up to three years in prison.
The mayor of the northern town of Usti nad Labem Radek Vonka has called on the Cervenak family to use the money they are to receive on the basis of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to pay back the debts they have with the town. The family's lawyer Klara Vesela-Samkova rejected this, saying she will not recommend to the Cervanks to do so. The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights confirmed on Tuesday that the Czech state had agreed to pay the Romany family an out of court settlement after a case they took was dealt with too slowly by the Czech courts. The Cervenak family are to receive 900,000 crowns in the settlement. The family took a case in 1993 against the town of Usti nad Labem, after losing their state flat when they briefly moved to Slovakia. According to the Usti and Labem town hall, the Cervenaks owe 30,000 crowns in rent and another 100,000 crowns in penalties for delay in payment.
The district court in Usti nad Orlici, East Bohemia, where the descendant of a noble family Franz Ulrich Kinski won four property feuds, has cancelled two scheduled hearings, Mr Kinsky's lawyer told journalists on Friday, adding that the judge had passed the case to the Constitutional Court. Since 2001, Mr Kinsky has filed a total of 157 lawsuits, seeking the recognition of his ownership of large amount of property. Franz Ulrich Kinsky is the descendant of a noble family whose property was confiscated after World War Two on the basis of the so-called Benes decrees, which legalised the confiscation of the property of those who collaborated with the Nazi occupation. In order to prevent Czech courts from passing contradictory verdicts in Mr Kinsky's cases, politicians have called on the Supreme Court to issue a unifying attitude. The Court is to produce it by the end of August.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment to the law on the state budget for 2003. The amendment, passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier this month, raises the budget deficit to 10.6 billion crowns and both spending and revenues by another 2 billion crowns. The 10.6 billion crowns is the compensation the Czech Republic was ordered to pay the US company CME for failing to protect its investment in the commercial channel TV Nova.
A spokesman for President Vaclav Klaus says he is making a good recovery from a recent bout of illness. Mr Klaus is convalescing at the presidential chateau in Lany, just outside Prague, after being hospitalised last week with tonsillitis and pains in his hips. He was released from hospital on Sunday, and will spend a week at Lany before returning to work. The spokesman said the president was reading and taking short walks. Mr Klaus, who is 62, is a keen sportsman and has no history of serious illness.
Alois Grebenicek, a former Communist secret police officer accused of torturing political prisoners in the 1950s, has died in hospital at the age of 81. Mr Grebenicek, a former investigator for the Communist-era State Security service or StB, was charged over the offences six years ago, but never appeared in court, citing ill health. The presiding judge said the case was now closed and she had no comment to make. Several of his alleged victims have expressed their frustration that Mr Grebenicek had not been brought to justice. Alois Grebencek was the father of the chairman of the present-day Communist Party, Miroslav Grebenicek.
Police in Prague say a man was shot in the arm on Monday after bumping into another passenger in a metro station. The 27-year-old man is now recovering in hospital. He told police the incident happened inside a metro carriage at the Muzeum station, in the centre of Prague. He said he had accidentally bumped into another passenger, a man described as Czech speaking and around 30. He had apologised, but the other passenger drew a pistol and fired once at close range, hitting him in the upper arm.
President Vaclav Klaus has been released from hospital after being admitted earlier in the week. Mr Klaus, who turned 62 last month, had been suffering from tonsillitis as well as pain in his joints. Mr Klaus' spokesman said on Sunday that the president felt well but that there would be slight changes to his programme next week. Mr Klaus, an avid sport fan often seen on the tennis courts and ski slopes, is generally considered to be in good health.
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