Around 20,000 litres of radioactive water leaked out of the Temelin nuclear power plant in the southwest of the Czech Republic on Monday. According to a spokesman, the leak, caused by a water-level measuring problem in a reservoir, was contained within a limited area and did not pose a risk to the environment or to workers' health. Temelin's opponents say it is unsafe and should be shut down.
The last 2,000 conscripts in the Czech Army are due to leave their barracks on Wednesday, ending 140 years of compulsory military service in the Czech Lands. Throughout the year the Army has gradually been replacing conscripts with career soldiers. The move makes the Czech Republic one of the first countries in the region with a professional military. However, Joint Forces Commander Josef Sedlak warned on Tuesday of overly high expectations of the new army. He also said professionals could expect tougher training than their conscript counterparts.
The Agriculture Minister Jaroslav Palas has said he will run for the post of deputy chairman of the Social Democrats at the party's congress in March. The two candidates for the post of chairman are the acting head of the party, Prime Minister Stanislav Gross and the Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach. After a series of election defeats, the ruling coalition party's leadership says it needs to find strong personalities who would come up with a new programme and present it to the voters.
Czech Railways' new express train, the "Pendolino", will carry its first passengers during a test ride on Thursday. A spokesman for Czech Railways said the company will test the train on several regular express routes in the coming months to complete its trial operation. As of next December, the Italian-made Pendolino is expected to be used on international lines. The train's speed record in the Czech Republic is 237 kilometres per hour.
The Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda who is on a three-day official visit to Israel has met his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom for talks on the relations between the EU and Israel. After the meeting Mr Svoboda said that every country has a right to defend its territory and its citizens. He also said that the Czech Republic supports the Israeli proposal to add the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to the European Union's list of terrorist organisations. Mr Svoboda also spoke in favour of an increased participation of the EU and NATO in the Middle East peace process.
Czech police say they have detained 19 illegal immigrants from China together with two smugglers at the Bila-Konecna border crossing between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The 18 men and one woman were found hiding in the boot of a van by police who were checking the vehicle, a police spokeswoman said. A week ago police in the region detained 10 illegal immigrants from Asia.
Czech Airlines has announced an increase of over 20 percent in the number of passengers it is flying to New York, with a total of 155,000 people flying CSA to the city this year. A spokesperson for Czech Airlines said the fact more than half the tickets were sold in America meant the airline was by far the biggest Czech exporter on the US market.
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