The Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia has recommenced test operations. Temelin was shut down last month following the discovery of cracks on steam pipes in the non-nuclear part of the station. The shutdown means that a full trial operation of the plant, which was due to take place in May, will be delayed by one month. The issue of the Temelin nuclear power plant has severely strained relations between the Czech Republic and neighbouring Austria, which is a nuclear-free country. Following blockades of Czech-Austrian border crossings by Austrian environmentalists last autumn, the Czech government agreed to carry out an environmental impact study at the plant, before it begins commercial operations. The shutdown of the plant has further heightened concerns in Austria over safety standards at Temelin, and environmentalists are planning fresh demonstrations to protest against the plant.
Vratislav Sima, an aide to Social Democrat Prime Minister Milos Zeman, is to be charged with slander in connection with an alleged campaign intended to discredit one of the country's most popular politicians, Petra Buzkova, who is a member of the same party. News of the campaign, called Operation Lead, broke last year when a document containing false allegations about Mrs. Buzkova, including collaboration with the communist secret police and child abuse, was leaked to the press. A police investigation apparently led to the computer of one of the prime minister's aide. The man in question accused Vratislav Sima of compiling the document. Petra Buzkova has dismissed the material as "a pack of lies", saying she was shocked that her political opponents could stoop so low. There has been much speculation in the Czech press as to whether members of Mrs Buzkova's own party were trying to publicly discredit her.
Czech President Vaclav Havel has been released from hospital after almost two weeks of treatment for mild pneumonia and bronchitis. President Havel has had frequent problems with his lungs since an operation to remove a malignant tumour from a lung in 1996. The president fell ill in Kuwait on February 12th during a visit to several countries in the Middle East, and had to be flown to Prague for treatment in hospital. President Havel will continue his treatment and recuperate at the presidential chateau of Lany just outside Prague. According to a presidential spokesman, President Havel will be well enough to meet Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, who is due to arrive in Prague on Thursday.
A police officer is reported to have shot dead a pit-bull terrier after it attacked a couple walking their dog in Prague. The pit-bull, which had been running wild, attacked the couple after fighting with their smaller dog. The police officer, who had been sent to scene following reports of a stray pit-bull in the area, arrived on the scene in time to prevent serious injuries. He shot the dog when it tried to attack him as well. There have been frequent cases of dogs attacking people in the media recently. The issue has created public concern, but so far parliament has not been able to agree on ways to control dangerous dogs.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Sunday should see partially cloudy to cloudy skies, with scattered snow showers. Daytime high temperatures are not expected to get above minus one degree Celsius. Night-time lows on Saturday are expected to drop to as low as minus seventeen degrees Celsius.
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