An international team of nuclear safety experts has begun a week-long inspection of the Czech Republic's controversial Temelin nuclear power station. The 11-member team, organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency, plans to study technical safety improvements recommended by the Agency in 1996. Temelin went into test operation last year, but has suffered a number of technical problems and has been shut down for repairs several times, most recently three weeks ago. Temelin has many opponents, including fiercely non-nuclear Austria. Anti-nuclear activists say the plant's mixture of Soviet design and Western operating technology poses a risk to safety; the Czech authorities say Temelin is safe.
And a group of demonstrators continued to occupy the headquarters of Austria's conservative People's Party on Tuesday morning, in protest at the government's handling of Temelin. About 25 activists of the environmental organisations Greenpeace and Global 2000 occupied the building on Monday to demand that the Austrian government take a tougher line over the Czech nuclear plant. There are tensions within Austria's ruling coalition over opposition to Temelin: both members of the coalition are against the plant, but the far-right Freedom Party insists on vetoing the Czech Republic's membership of the European Union if Prague refuses to consider shutting it down. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel has said there will be no veto of Czech EU membership over Temelin.
The leader of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, Vaclav Klaus, met the head of the country's largest commercial TV station, Vladimir Zelezny on Monday, four days after Mr Zelezny was released from police custody. A spokesman for Mr Klaus - who is also the speaker of the lower house - said the two men had discussed "the need to protect the freedom of the business community" and also the need to prevent businessmen from "becoming victims of political campaigns." Mr Zelezny was detained last week on charges of damaging the interests of a creditor. He is accused of ignoring an international arbitration ruling which ordered him to pay compensation to a former business partner.
The opposition Four-Party Coalition has called on Mr Klaus to submit to the Senate the original version of a controversial bill. The party said if the speaker of the lower house refused to submit the original amendment, it would take the matter to the Constitutional Court. In an unprecedented vote on Thursday, the lower house revoked a bill two weeks after it was approved - a move the opposition says was illegal. Mr Klaus says the bill - an amendment to the Commercial Code - was revoked because it was confusing and contained mistakes. The Four-Party Coalition says amending legislation is the work of the Senate.
And a new survey released on Monday showed the Four-Party Coalition regaining the lead in the opinion polls, eight months before the next general election. The state-funded CVVM agency said the poll showed 22.5 percent of respondents would vote for the Coalition if an election were held tomorrow. The ruling Social Democrats came second, with 20 percent, while Vaclav Klaus' right-of-centre Civic Democrats remained third with 19 percent.
Analysts say the Czech crown continues to strengthen on the currency markets - the crown reached the record high of 33.18 against the euro on Monday, and ended the day's trading at 33.14 crowns to the euro. The crown also fell sharply against the dollar, and experts say the Czech National Bank is unlikely to intervene at this stage.
A spokesman for the highly successful Skoda Auto carmaker has said talks on building a joint car assembly plant in the Russian city of Izhevsk have collapsed. The spokesman said three years of discussions on building a plant with the Russian manufacturer Izhmash Avto had come to nothing. He said Skoda, which is fully owned by Germany's Volkswagen Group, was now planning to build an assembly plant with Volkswagen at another location in Russia.
The Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has begun a two-day official visit to Slovakia with a meeting with his Slovak counterpart Mikulas Dzurinda in the capital Bratislava. The two men discussed mutual co-operation in negotiations on joining the European Union, as well as bilateral relations. Later Mr Zeman met the Slovak President Rudolf Schuster, who called for both the Czech Republic and Slovakia to be admitted to the EU simultaneously.
The three-times World Champion javelin thrower Jan Zelezny has been voted Czech Athlete of the Year - for the seventh time. The 35-year-old world record holder was followed in second place by decathlon stars Tomas Dvorak and Roman Sebrle.
And finally a look at the weather. Tuesday will be overcast with rain or snow forecast for north-eastern areas. The rest of the country will be rather cloudy, with the chance of isolated showers or sleet. Daytime temperatures will peak at 5 degrees Celsius, with the thermometer falling on Tuesday night to lows of minus five.
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