November 17th marks the twelfth anniversary of the fall of communism in former Czechoslovakia: on Saturday politicians, civic organisations, students and others gathered throughout the Czech Republic to commemorate the dramatic events of 1989. Candles and flowers were placed by the commemorative plaque on Prague's National street, which was the site of a key student demonstration and ensuing crack-down by riot police 12 years ago; the event sparked the beginning of the end for Czechoslovakia's communist regime. Deputy prime minister Vaclav Spidla placed a wreath by the plaque, and Czech president Vaclav Havel is expected to do so this by this evening. This is only the second year since the 17th of November was declared a state holiday, meant to commemorate not only the Velvet Revolution, but also an earlier protest in 1939, when students demonstrated against the Nazi occupation. The Nazis executed nine student leaders for their roles.
Vladimir Zelezny, the general director of the Czech Republic's most successful commercial station TV Nova has criticised some of the Czech media for the style of their reporting on his legal case; earlier this week Mr Zelezny was held by police in a temporary cell for some fifty hours, in connection with charges of trying to cheat a creditor. The chief investigator in the case had put forth the request that Mr Zelezny be remanded until trial, but that was struck down by a court on Thursday. In TV Nova's Call the Director programme Saturday Mr Zelezny was critical of opinion-editorials he said supported the view that he should face trial. Mr Zelezny said that they simply did not have enough knowledge of his case. He compared the tones of the articles to the atmosphere in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s, one of the darkest periods under the former communist regime. Mr Zelezny's criticism changes little on the fact, that if proven guilty, he could face up to eight years in jail.
A new poll to be released Monday by the OGM institute for Format magazine has shown that 47 % of Austrians believe their government should veto the Czech Republic's accession to the European Union, if the Czech Republic declines to shut down its Temelin nuclear power plant. 41 % percent of the Austrian population are of the opposite view. The Temelin power plant has been the source of continuing antagonism between Austrians and Czechs, with many Austrians arguing that the plant is unsafe. According to the poll a third of the Austrian population will take part in a referendum on Temelin in January, and 29 % are likely to support the demands of the right-wing Freedom Party. The controversial political party is advocating a state-wide petition to try and prevent their Czech neighbours from joining the EU, if the Temelin reactor is not shut down.
Saturday evening will see clear skies, with temperatures dropping just below 0 degrees Celsius. Sunday morning will be partly foggy, clearing up in the afternoon. Temperatures should reach highs between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.
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