Anti-nuclear protestors held demonstrations and blocked border crossings and railway lines in Austria, Germany and Poland this weekend, in protest at the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power plant. The latest wave of protests began on Friday, when Austrian anti-nuclear activists blockaded the Wullowitz-Dolni Dvoriste border crossing for several hours, the first such blockade this year. On Saturday some 3,000 German protestors attended a demonstration against Temelin at the Philippsreut-Strazny border crossing, the biggest to take place at the crossing so far. And on Sunday demonstrators in Poland blocked railways to the Baltic seaport of Szczecin, to protest against planned shipments of nuclear fuel through Poland to Temelin. About 40 Polish activists and Greenpeace members from Austria and Germany also put flags with nuclear warning signs on navigation buoys in Szczecin harbour. The protest followed last weekend's shipment of U.S.-made nuclear fuel, which reached Temelin after being carried by rail through western Poland.
Opponents are calling on the Czech Republic to shut down Temelin, because they say its mixture of Soviet design and Western technology is unsafe. Temelin has suffered numerous problems since the first of its two reactors was brought online for testing in October. The plant's operators, the state-owned energy utility CEZ, say problems are normal in any testing period. A recent Czech-led independent commission, which included observers from the European Union, Austria and Germany, gave Temelin high marks in an environmental impact study.
The Interior Minister, Stanislav Gross, has warned of clashes between far-right and far- left groups on the May Day bank holiday. Mr Gross said decisions by the Prague authorities to allow some groups to demonstrate at the same time in close proximity to each other could lead to street clashes, something which has become a traditional feature of May Day in the Czech Republic in recent years. Prague City Council has also allowed a demonstration by far-right organisations on May 1st, but has banned a demonstration by leftist groups. However Mr Gross said extra police would be standing by to deal with any serious disorder.
Another chapter of the dispute over the country's public television network, Czech Television, was closed on Friday with the dismissal of all civil complaints stemming from the dispute. Quoting a government investigator, the CTK news agency said all 106 legal cases were found to be without merit because no crimes were committed. An investigator said that any offences that happened during the two-month crisis, including the take-over of the Czech Television newsroom by rebel journalists - were related to violations of labour, trade or administrative regulations, and not the penal code. Dozens of complaints were filed by individuals and groups representing the journalists, TV management and viewers during the crisis, which was sparked off by the appointment in December of Jiri Hodac as the network's new General Director. Critics said Mr Hodac would not guarantee freedom from political interference and claimed he had close links to the right-of-centre Civic Democrats. The dispute was accompanied by the biggest street protests since the fall of Communism. Mr Hodac resigned in January.
Police in Prague say they have broken up a gang manufacturing and selling the drug pervitine. A spokesman said four people were arrested in a special operation on April 19th in the village of Senohraby, east of Prague. All four have been charged with drugs offences. Police found a home-made laboratory and chemicals for producing the drug at a cottage belonging to one of the four. Pervitine, more commonly known as Piko, is an amphetamine-based drug similar to speed. It is highly popular amongst Czech teenagers, being cheap and commonly available. It is also highly addictive, and doctors say regular use produces serious physical and psychological damage.
The Czech Republic has launched its quest for a third consecutive world hockey championship title, beating Belarus 5-1 on Saturday. But in a surprising match on Sunday they drew 2:2 with Germany.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Monday night will be mostly clear with temperatures falling to lows of eight degrees Celsius. Tuesday will be another hot and sunny day, with clear skies and daytime temperatures reaching 27 degrees Celsius.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
Restaurant tells visitors to “clear their plates” or pay a 50 crown fine for wasting food
New index shows locations with best quality of life in Czech Republic
Archaeologists unearth rare Renaissance-Baroque brew house in ‘Czech Paradise’