The second reactor of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia has been connected to the grid, ending a three-month planned shutdown, a spokesman for the plant said. During the reactor's closure a quarter of fuel was replaced and equipment checked. But according to the spokesman, the reactor will not be running at full capacity because of a defect found on the turbine's rotor. Temelin switched to full operation on October 11, 2004. Since then, the second reactor has had to be closed twice due to technical faults. The Temelin nuclear power plant has been a cause of controversy in recent years because it combines Soviet and American technologies, and critics have claimed that it is unsafe.
Some 80 Czech soldiers have left for Kosovo to replace their colleagues in the NATO KFOR mission in the province, the Defence Ministry said on Monday. The unit rotation started last Monday and should be completed on July 22. As of August 1, the Czech Republic will take over from Finland the command of the Centre Multinational Brigade in Kosovo for one year. The brigade is overseeing one of the four zones in Kosovo supervised by the NATO KFOR mission. The Czech military will command about 1,600 soldiers from five European countries. The Czech Republic has participated in the Kosovo mission since 1999.
The Prague City Court has approved a 10-year prison sentence that a Swedish court handed down in 2002 to a 30-year old Czech for drug trafficking. The ruling means the man, Ladislav Zerovnicky, could be extradited and serve his sentence in the Czech Republic. However, Mr Zerovnicky says he would like to stay in the Swedish prison. His defence counsel argues that Mr Zerovnicky is studying English and information technology in the Swedish prison and would like to complete his studies. Swedish police detained Mr Zerovnicky in July 2001 after customs officers found almost 17 kilos of heroin in his car.
The Czech Republic is lagging behind in adopting EU legislation, according to data released on Monday. The Czech Republic has the worst results of the ten new member states that joined the European Union in May last year. The statistics relating to June 1 show that the Czech Republic has failed to introduce in time 3.6 percent of EU regulations, which means 57 laws. Slovakia is performing much better, with 1.4 percent of legislation remaining to be adopted. The first three places with 0.7 percent were occupied by Hungary, Slovenia and Lithuania. Behind the Czech Republic are Greece, Luxembourg and Italy.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has rejected President Klaus's view that multiculturalism is the fundamental cause of terrorism. Mr Klaus said in an interview for Saturday's edition of the paper Mlada Fronta Dnes that multiculturalism is a tragic mistake of Western civilization for which all pay dear. He said it was the fundamental if not direct cause of terrorism. The prime minister told journalists that he did not share the president's view of the world.
There have been mixed reactions to President Klaus' vision of a future Europe. The president outlined his own vision for the old continent in Saturday's edition of Lidove Noviny, depicting an Organization of European States, which would benefit by free trade and movement of capital and labour but not be restricted in their sovereignty. Members of the coalition government said that the president's concept would mean turning back the clock by 20 years which would not be to Europe's advantage. On the other hand, a senior communist official liked the idea of losing less sovereignty to Brussels and said that he too considered European citizenship to be an "artificial product".
The police broke up a concert of some 200 skinheads in the Libava Valley on Saturday night. One of the skinheads, a Ukrainian national, was briefly detained for questioning. The event was curtailed on suspicion that it was spreading a racist ideology. The police say they are analyzing a recording of the concert.
The Czech Republic is sending humanitarian aid to flood devastated Romania. Bottled water, food and hygiene products as well as electric power generators are being dispatched to various parts of the country. A number of charity organizations, including ADRA and the Czech Catholic Charity have opened accounts to which the Czech public can contribute. The authorities are ascertaining what form of assistance the country needs most.
An engine powered glider crashed near Tabor, southern Bohemia, on Saturday, killing the pilot and severely injuring a young woman passenger. Just before the crash the pilot reported engine failure and said he was going to attempt an emergency landing. A team of experts are investigating the cause of the accident.
A mass grave containing the remains of German prisoners of war has been discovered in the Czech Republic. The grave, containing the remains of 55 men, was found near Drazenov, close to the city of Plzen. The search for the graves of German soldiers was instigated by the German government at the request of the families of German soldiers who went missing during the war. The remains have been excavated and are now being examined by German experts who will try to identify them.
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