Locals in the town of Lany near Rakovnik, west Bohemia, suffered a
radiation scare on Wednesday after a driver accidentally damaged a
measuring device containing radioactive material. The device used in
construction work on the Lany motorway, had been cordoned off for
safety was struck nevertheless. Police then closed off a small area
around the zone, before an expert from the Bureau for Atomic Energy
Safety investigated the scene and found that only an electronic part of
the device had been damaged and that no radiation had leaked.
Earlier the president's office also expressed concerns over the incident, given that Lany is the location of the president's official summer retreat, the Lany Chateau.
On Wednesday evening the Czechs will face the United States in the
quarterfinals at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague. The other
quarterfinal match being played in Ostrava sees Sweden face off against
On Wednesday speculation surfaced the Czechs could recruit a final player from the NHL for the duration of the tournament, after several teams were eliminated in the NHL playoffs on Tuesday. The list of possible players includes Robert Lang and Robert Fischer of the Detroit Red Wings, Tomas Kaberle and Robert Reichel of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Milan Hejduk of the Colorado Avalanche. Czech coach Slavomir Lener has indicated he will give the issue further thought only after Wednesday's game.
Pavel Telicka was among ten new commissioners named to the European Commission by the European Parliament on Wednesday. The ceremony in Strasbourg followed the recent accession of ten new member states to the European Union. The new commissioners, including Mr Telicka, will now work with original members of the European Commission, Mr Telicka in the health and consumer protection sector, a post headed by David Byrne of Ireland.
According to Roma advisor Lydie Polackova, based in the east Moravian city of Ostrava, several dozen Roma have already left the Czech Republic in search of job opportunities in Great Britain, just days after the Czech Republic joined the European Union. On Wednesday Mrs Polackova told the Czech news agency CTK that she knew of ten families that had already departed for the UK. But, she added the actual number could be higher. As an advisor, Mrs Polackova said she explained to Roma departing for England or Ireland they would no longer be provided the safety net available before Czech accession, when Czech Romany citizens had applied for asylum.
Czechs around the country including World War II veterans, public officials, and the prime minister himself, have marked the 59th anniversary of the Prague Uprising. 59 years ago this day an estimated 30, 000 Czechs took up arms in organised resistance against their German occupiers; five days of battles left thousands dead. In a commemorative ceremony on Wednesday Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla laid a wreath outside the Czech Radio building in Prague, where dozens died during some of fiercest fighting in May 1945. Mr Spidla reminded those at the ceremony that the uprising had countered plans by the Nazis to destroy Prague, words echoed by Andela Dvorakova, of the Czech Freedom Fighters Union.
On an official visit to Lebanon, President Vaclav Klaus discussed bilateral relations and regional policy in the Middle East with the Lebanese President Emile Lahud. After the meeting the two heads of state planted a cedar tree of friendship in the gardens of the presidential palace. The Czech president, who arrived in Lebanon on Monday, also witnessed the signing of bilateral agreements on closer cooperation in the fields of culture and science as well as between the two countries' chambers of commerce.
The Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday overturned a proposal for victims of the 1968 Soviet led invasion of Czechoslovakia to receive financial compensation. Deputies of the Social Democrat and Communist parties joined forces to reject a bill drafted by the Civic Democrats according to which the families of people who were murdered as well as those who were injured or raped by the occupying forces between 1968 and 1991, when the last Soviet troops left the country, would be eligible for compensation. The families of those killed would get a million crowns, people who had been injured or raped half a million. The Civic Democratic Party has said it is outraged by the result of the vote.
The Czech power utility CEZ has offered towns and villages in the vicinity of the Temelin nuclear power plant 50 million crowns in connection with a planned construction of a storage site for nuclear fuel. A CEZ spokesman said the money would in no way commit the locals, they could still voice their reservations to the project. Municipalities may voice their reservations during the process of granting a construction permit which might complicate the power utility's plans. In the mid 1990s CEZ distributed a similar sum among villages in the vicinity of the Dukovany nuclear power plant. The towns around Temelin are hesitant about taking the offered sum, many of the locals and environmental groups are strongly against accepting the money.
The Lower House likewise rejected an amendment to the law according to which TV and radio announcers would have to speak grammatically correct Czech. The bill's advocates, predominantly members of the Communist party, argued that the purity of the Czech language was under threat and the Czech Republic should follow the example of France in passing legislation which would help to preserve it. 127 out of 176 mps present voted against the proposal. Deputies for the Christian Democratic Party argued that nurturing and preserving the Czech language was not a matter for law-makers but for schools and parents who have the most influence on how the future generation of Czechs will speak their mother tongue.
Eight Cuban dissidents and former political prisoners arrived in Prague on Sunday to meet politicians and other Czech personalities supporting human rights around the world. The Cubans will meet with former Czech president and dissident Vaclav Havel, Senate Chairman Petr Pithart, members of the Czech Parliament, and had lunch with Deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Vosalik. According to Mr Vosalik, the Czech Republic is willing to finance a campaign that would promote democracy in Cuba from the foreign ministry budget meant for international help. After a meeting with the Chairman of the main opposition Civic Democrats, Miroslav Topolanek, the group was assured that the Czech Republic would continue to support its cause, even if a new government headed by the right-of-centre Civic Democrats was formed. Among the dissidents are three former political prisoners. They were invited to Prague by the Czech humanitarian organisation People in Need, which has been supporting human rights activists fighting against the totalitarian Castro regime in Cuba.
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