A police raid at the studios of the Czech Republic's biggest private TV station Nova and a partial blackout at the private station TV3 mark continuing turmoil among the nation's broadcasters. A spokesman for TV Nova, whose director Vladimir Zelezny has been at the centre of an international business dispute for two years, said on Wednesday that the police investigation would have no impact on broadcasting. The police have reportedly searched computer files and confiscated documents at TV Nova. Meanwhile, a Prague court ruled on Wednesday that Zelezny's lawyer and close associate Ales Rozehnal, who spent three days in detention for police questioning, will remain in prison. Both men have been charged with fraud. At private TV 3, an investor dispute led to a partial blackout, knocking TV 3 off the air for all but cable and satellite subscribers. TV3 newscasters said prior to the blackout that standard programming would be unavailable for one month "for technical reasons". TV3's license holder Martin Kindernay has said that he holds no responsibility for what he described as "pirate broadcasts" available to cable and satellite subscribers.
Amidst growing pressure from anti-nuclear activists, the Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel told reporters in Vienna on Wednesday that his government was not backing down on its earlier demands regarding the controversial nuclear power plant at Temelin. A heated debate regarding the Austrian government's commitment to the nuclear-free cause broke out earlier this week after Austrian environment minister Wilhem Molterer said that the Czech Republic was fully entitled to make its own decisions about nuclear power. "Our position on this is as firm as ever" Chancellor Schussel said on Wednesday " Prague must either present sufficient security guarantees or close down the plant". Meanwhile, Hubert Gorbach, the deputy chairman of the right wing Freedom Party which is in government with the conservative People's Party said the differences over Temelin were so great they threatened to tear apart the governing coalition.
Police in Ostrava are investigating the death of a police inspector who was shot and killed by a member of a local police patrol after he pointed his weapon in their direction and threatened to shoot them. The incident took place shortly after midnight at a petrol station, which the inspector had just entered when the patrol car arrived. The officer who shot the police inspector said the man was brandishing a gun although he was in plain clothes. When the patrol ordered him to drop the weapon he turned in their direction and threatened to shoot them. One of the officers fired his gun first. It is not clear whether the police inspector was caught in the act of trying to rob the petrol station or whether he was under the influence of alcohol.
The Czech foreign trade deficit is expected to widen in the year 2002. The Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, Zdenek Vorlicek said at a press conference in Prague on Wednesday that the ministry expects a further deceleration of both exports and imports. For this year, the ministry predicts that the foreign trade gap will exceed 3 billion USD. A 2002 forecast originally predicted economic recovery but the economic decline in the United States following the September terrorist attacks has shaken these expectations. This year the Czech foreign trade deficit has grown faster than in the preceding year, reaching 2.2 billion USD in the first nine months.
We can expect a cold night with overcast skies and rain. Nighttime lows between 7 and 3 degs. Thursday should be partly cloudy to overcast across most of the Czech Republic with rain in places and sleet and snow showers in the higher altitudes. Day temps between 7 and 10 degs C.
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