The Czech President, Vaclav Havel, has called on the lower house to clarify controversial remarks on European integration by the speaker of the lower house, Vaclav Klaus. Speaking at a meeting of parliament leaders in Brussels, Mr Klaus said the EU should consider halting the process of European integration and spoke out against what he called "the creeping, silent unification of the continent". His comments have been sharply criticised by many political opponents. Mr. Klaus, leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, described reactions to his comments as "a storm in a teacup." The Czech Republic's chief negotiator with the EU, Pavel Telicka, said the remarks would not affect the country's bid to join the European Union.
A Russian Industry Ministry official has said the Czech carmaker Skoda Auto is planning to build a car assembly plant in the Moscow region in Russia. The assembly plant is expected to produce 20,000 cars a year. Skoda sales in Russia have risen substantially in recent years. The original plan to build a joint car plant with the Russian manufacturer Izhmash Avto near the Russian town of Izhevsk failed in November.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Trade and Industry has confirmed that minister Miroslav Gregr is considering his resignation, due to the postponing of the completion of the Temelin nuclear power plant. Last year Mr Gregr promised to resign if Temelin's second reactor was not operational by January 2002. However deputy minister Zdenek Vorlicek has said it is unlikely that Prime Minister Milos Zeman will accept the resignation six months before the general elections. Mr Vorlicek told reporters he would consider accepting the function if the Prime Minister called on him to do so.
And a Prague court has ruled that Prime Minister Zeman does not have to apologize to journalist Ivan Brezina, whom Mr. Zeman accused of being corrupt in 1999. Mr. Zeman accused the journalist, who wrote articles in favour of nuclear energy, of being on the payroll of the Czech Republic's energy utility CEZ, the owner and operator of Temelin. A lower court previously ordered Mr. Zeman to apologize to Mr. Brezina and pay him 300,000 crowns, or around eight thousand US dollars. The ruling has been overturned and Mr. Brezina has to cover legal costs.
A new mineral spring has been discovered in the West Bohemian spa town of Marianske Lazne. Hydrologists say the fresh spring was found just 100 metres away from another water source, which was contaminated by toxic waste several years ago due to negligence on the part of a local sewer cleaning company. According to the director of the town's spa facilities, the new spring could be providing water to the public by next year.
Friday will be cloudy with rain and sleet in places and snow in mountainous areas. Temperature will rise to four degrees Celsius. Saturday will be cloudy with some bright spells and temperatures ranging from minus three to one degree Celsius.
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