News of Radio Prague

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Four-Party Coalition collapses, Kuehnl resigns

Members of the opposition Four-Party Coalition say the political alliance is dead, as several months of bitter in-fighting culminated in collapse. The leader of the coalition, Karel Kuehnl, resigned on Friday, saying his post no longer had any meaning. The Four-Party Coalition was effectively disbanded the previous day, when the Christian Democrats - who had threatened to expel the heavily indebted Civic Democratic Alliance - said that they would contest June's general elections with their senior partner - the Freedom Union-DEU - alone. Mr Kuehnl, who is a member of the Freedom Union, has said the two parties will have to seek a new form of co-operation.

Civic Democratic Alliance to run alone

Meanwhile, the leader of the Civic Democratic Alliance, Michael Zantovsky, announced that his party was preparing to run alone in the elections. One of the Civic Democratic Alliance's senior members, former chairman Daniel Kroupa, announced on Friday that he was leaving the party. Mr Zantovsky said he regretted Mr Kroupa's decision.

Tvrdik: future NATO members will face tougher army reforms

The Czech Defence Minister, Jaroslav Tvrdik, has said future members of NATO will face tougher army reforms than the first post-Communist members who joined the alliance in 1999. Mr Tvrdik said there would be much more pressure on new members than there was for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, which are still struggling to bring their armed forces up to NATO standards. Mr Tvrdik recently announced a widespread package of reforms, including plans for a fully professional army. NATO meets in Prague this September to decide on further expansion to the east.

Austrian EU Commissioner: resolve Benes decrees dispute

European Commissioner Franz Fischer has called on the Czech Republic to resolve the lingering dispute over the Benes decrees - laws which sanctioned the expulsion of Czechoslovakia's large German minority after the Second World War. Mr Fischer, a member of Austria's ruling People's Party, said he was not in favour of his country blocking Czech EU entry over the issue. However he said it was in the Czech Republic's own interest to resolve the dispute once and for all. On Friday the Czech deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said under no circumstances would there be any negotiations on the Benes decrees, following a resolution in the Austrian parliament calling on the cabinet to push for the decrees to be abolished.

Austrian Sudeten German group calls for return of property

A group of Sudeten Germans living in Austria has called not only for the abolition of the Benes decrees but also for the return of confiscated property. The group said on Friday that any joint Austrian-Czech declaration on the decrees would not be enough.

Police arrest man suspected of stabbing boy

Police have arrested a man suspected of stabbing an eleven-year-old boy in Prague on Friday. The 25-year-old-man is said to have confessed to police, and has been charged with attempted murder. The boy was attacked as he was cycling on the pavement. He was dragged into nearby bushes, tied up with a rope and stabbed. He managed to escape his attacker and ran to his grandfather's house nearby. He is now in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

President's wife admitted to hospital

The wife of the President Vaclav Havel, Dagmar Havlova, was admitted to hospital on Friday suffering from an undisclosed health problem. A spokesman for Prague Castle said Mrs Havlova was being treated at the Institute of Experimental Medicine, but requested that no details be given.

Record temperature in Prague for sixth day in row

A new record temperature for Prague was set on Saturday, for the sixth day in a row. The temperature at 2 o'clock in the afternoon was 14.7 degrees Celsius, seven tenths of a degree higher than the previous record which was set in 1957.

Weather

And finally a look at the weather forecast for the remainder of the weekend. Saturday night will stay clear and cold, with the thermometer dropping to zero in some parts of the country. Sunday will be mostly sunny, with temperatures ranging from 11 to 16 degrees Celsius.