The International Atomic Energy Agency, based in Vienna, announced on Friday that the inspection of the Temelin nuclear power plant in South Bohemia had not yet been completed, that's why no final document existed. An agency official told the Austrian APA news agency that the inspectors had first to sort out and discuss their findings, and only then prepare the final report. An unnamed source at the agency said they did not make conclusions fast enough for them to be used for commentaries in the Czech Republic on the same day. The official said this in reaction to a comment on Friday from the Director of the Czech Nuclear Safety Office, Dana Drabova, who announced all problems had been dealt with or minimised and that no reasons existed for further operation of the plant on just a trial basis. Anti-nuclear Austria has also voiced sharp criticism over the European Commission's decision not to organize an international conference to discuss closing down Temelin once and for all.
President Vaclav Havel has signed a new law under which elected representatives and members of the judiciary will not receive their 14th salaries . The so-called 13th and 14th salaries are two extra payments that some employees receive from their employers in addition to twelve regular monthly salaries. The law will be in force this and next year, and the president signed it as soon as he received it. The law is to save the state some 250 million crowns, or almost seven million US dollars.
The Czech police are to be provided with new Czech-made guns. The Minister of the Interior, Stanislav Gross, signed a contract for the delivery of 46,000 new pistols worth 557 million Czech crowns, or over 15 million dollars. The pistols are said to be the best available and the first 1,000 pistols are to be delivered to policemen in Prague and Central Bohemia by the end of this year.
Within two weeks the Czech Republic will become a member of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe - an EU initiative designed to contribute to political and economic reconstruction of the Balkans. The Pact's coordinator, Bodo Hombach announced this on Friday, after his talks with the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman in Trieste, Italy, at a meeting of the Central European Initiative.
The latest opinion poll carried out by the STEM polling agency showed that if parliamentary elections were held today, the centre-right Four Party Coalition would come first. Over 25 percent of respondents would vote for them, which is 2 percent more than in October. Second would be the opposition Civic Democrats with 23,1 percent of the vote and the ruling Social Democrats would finish third with 21, 4 percent. Only two thirds of those polled intend to take part in the elections, scheduled for the middle of next year.
The Communist party of Bohemia and Moravia is strongly rejecting any changes to the Czech border and visa policy towards Slovakia. The Communist Party Chairman, Miroslav Grebenicek, said that the planned introduction of long-term visas and stricter border regime on the common borders contradict a promise made by the Prime Minister Milos Zeman who said relations with Slovakia would always be above average. The problem was discussed earlier this week by the two countries' Interior ministers, Stanislav Gross and Ivan Simko, but their discussion ended in deadlock after the Slovak Interior minister rejected the Czech proposals. The Czech plan has also been rejected by the Slovak Prime Minister, Mikulas Dzurinda.
And finally the weather: we expect a cloudy weekend with snow showers in mountain and highland areas. Daytime highs between minus 1 and 3 degrees Celsius.
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