There has been a mixed reaction to the agreement reached between the Czech and Austrian leaders on Thursday over the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power plant. Prague agreed to introduce tougher safety measures at the plant, while Vienna said it would not block the Czech Republic's accession talks with the European Union. The foreign affairs spokesman for the Czech opposition Civic Democrats Jan Zahradil said the party would push for the agreement not to be included in the country's accession protocol with the EU. The agreement has to be ratified by the other 14 EU member states, and Mr Zahradil said that could meet with opposition within the union.
In Austria meanwhile, Joerg Haider of the far-right Freedom Party said he is not prepared to accept any compromise over Temelin that had been reached under pressure from the EU. The Freedom Party has been pushing for a referendum in Austria on blocking Czech EU accession over the power plant and has also threatened to walk out of the governing coalition over the issue.
Following Thursday's meeting with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, Czech Premier Milos Zeman said on Friday that the improvements to Temelin would cost some 100 million Czech crowns, or about 37 million US dollars. The plant - located some 60 kilometres from the Austrian border - has been criticised for its combination of Soviet and Western technology.
The Uzbek opposition leader Mukhammed Salikh, who was detained at Prague airport on Wednesday on an international arrest warrant, has been remanded in custody. The Prague court now has to decide whether to extradite Mr Salikh to Uzbekistan. Mr Salikh lives in exile and has been sentenced in absentia to 15 years in jail for a bomb attack. He had come to Prague on the invitation of Radio Free Europe. A spokesperson for the station said that Mr Salikh faces certain death if he returns to Uzbekistan. Czech Interior Minister Stanislav Gross said that the police had no choice but to arrest him.
Faulty altimeters could not have caused a series of crashes involving Czech airforce planes, Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik has said. On Thursday all of the airforce's L 39 and MiG 21 planes were grounded as the Interior Ministry launched a criminal investigation into whether faulty altimeters were to blame for the crashes. Mr Tvrdik has written to Interior Minister Stanislav Gross requesting that the investigation be completed as quickly as possible.
Three miners were killed in a methane explosion in a coalmine on Thursday night. The blast occurred in a mine near Kladno, around 25 kilometres northwest of Prague.
Czech Premier Milos Zeman held talks with his Polish counterpart Jerzy Miller in Warsaw on Thursday. The two prime ministers discussed relations between the two countries as well as EU integration. Another item on the agenda was a project to build a new rail terminal in the north Moravian town of Bohumin. The terminal would extend the western part of the trans-Siberian railway from southern Poland to the Czech Republic.
The Czech crown reached an all-time high of 33.07 crowns to the Euro on Friday . The Czech crown has been getting steadily stronger lately and exporters have complained that the situation is costing them money.
And finally the weather in the Czech Republic this weekend - fog on Saturday morning will clear to give partially cloudy or clear skies. Temperatures will range from minus one to plus three degrees centigrade. The outlook for Sunday is the same, but temperatures will be slightly higher at between zero and plus four degrees Celsius.
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