Daily news summary News of Radio Prague

20-08-2001

Temelin shut down again

The first reactor at the Temelin nuclear power plant was shut down for fifteen hours on Sunday, just days after being restarted following three months of repairs. The newly completed plant is currently in trial operation, but has suffered several technical setbacks in recent months. A spokesman said that the latest problem had arisen in the block's regulatory system, but was not connected with the nuclear reactor itself. The reactor is now running at minimum capacity. One of the most prominent Austrian anti-Temelin protestors, Josef Puehringer, described the current trials as dangerous, accusing the plant's managers of playing with fire.

In a separate development the Vienna head of the Austrian People's Party, one of the two parties in the ruling coalition, has recommended that Austria block the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union, unless it puts Temelin out of operation. His statement goes against the more cautious policy of the party at a national level, but has been welcomed by the Vienna chief of the party's coalition partner, the far-right Freedom Party.

Forest fire

A forest fire, described as the most serious in the area for many years, destroyed fifteen hectares of forest near the city of Brno over the weekend. Two aircraft helped to bring the fire under control, but there remains a serious risk that it could break out again in the current hot dry weather. Fire officers said that the most likely cause of the fire was negligence, possibly as the result of a discarded cigarette.

One dies, twelve injured in Prague coach crash

One man has died and twelve people have been injured in a coach crash in Prague. The injured include eleven children who had been returning from holiday in Italy. All but two have now been released from hospital. The driver was killed instantly when the coach swerved from the road into a concrete wall, and his co-driver suffered serious injuries. Police suspect that the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Further Czech troops arrive in Macedonia

Czech paratroopers taking part in a NATO mission in Macedonia to assist a fragile peace deal have begun to prepare the ground for the main contingent of three-and-a-half-thousand troops, due to arrive in the country in the next few days. Over a hundred Czech troops arrived in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, on Saturday, joining British and French troops to form a four-hundred-strong preparatory task force. They are to assess whether the situation is stable enough for the full force to arrive, with the aim of collecting weapons from ethnic Albanian rebels. The Alliance has delayed a decision on sending in the main contingent, because of concern that the fragile truce in the country could collapse. On Friday a small vanguard of sixteen Czech troops were the first NATO forces to arrive in Macedonia.

Memorial ceremony to Romany Holocaust victims

Only a handful of people attended a memorial ceremony on Sunday on the site of the Second World War Romany internment camp in the village of Hodonin u Kunstatu. Fourteen hundred Roma were sent to the camp between August 1942 and September 1943. A third of them died in the camp, and most of the others died later in the gas-chambers of Auschwitz. A wreath-laying ceremony was followed by a mass in the local chapel in the Romani language. The head of the Romany Association in Moravia, Karel Holomek, said he was deeply disappointed that the event had not aroused greater interest.

Havel visits rock festival

President Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar were among thousands of visitors on Saturday to the Czech Republic's largest open-air rock festival, in the north-eastern Czech town of Trutnov. Mr Havel, whose affection for the underground rock scene goes back to his days as a dissident, said that he tried to attend the festival every year, because rock music had always been linked with the ideals of freedom, tolerance and solidarity. Some eighty bands from both the Czech Republic and abroad have joined in this year's festival.

Romany music festival

And the weekend also saw the first major Romany music festival in the Czech Republic's second city of Brno for ten years. The festival included both traditional and contemporary Romany music as well as dance. One of the organizers said he hoped the festival would become an annual tradition, adding that next year he would like to invite the world's most famous Gypsy band, The Gypsy Kings.

Weather

And a glance at the weather: Today it will be mainly cloudy with showers and thunderstorms and temperatures between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius. And we can expect similar weather on Tuesday and Wednesday.

20-08-2001