News of Radio Prague

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Havel attempts to diffuse furore caused by Zeman's remarks on Arafat

President Vaclav Havel has written to his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak to assure him that the Czech Republic's wish to see peace in the Middle East has not changed. Mr Havel sent the letter in an effort to diffuse the international furore caused when the Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman allegedly compared Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Adolf Hitler. Though Mr Zeman has denied making the remarks, Egypt requested that a trip he planned to make to Cairo be cancelled.

Palestinians pulls out of Prague talks in protest over Zeman's remarks

Meanwhile a group of Palestinian intellectuals and members of non-governmental organisations who were due to attend a conference on the Middle East in Prague have pulled out in protest at Mr Zeman's alleged statements. The conference, which takes place in two weeks, has been organised by the London School of Economics and President Havel's Forum 2000. Mr Havel's spokesman said he regretted the fact the Palestinians had pulled out.

Czechs pulls out of Visegrad Four summit over Hungarian statements

The Czech Republic has pulled out of a meeting of the Visegrad Four countries over statements made by the Hungarian Prime Minister Vitkor Orban. Mr Orban said that the Benes decrees were not compatible with EU membership. Under the decrees the German minority was expelled from Czechoslovakia after World War II. The meeting of the Visegrad Four, which also includes Poland and Slovakia, was due to take place on March 1.

Kavan denies plan to expel Palestinian ambassador

The Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has strongly denied reports in Friday's press that the Czech Republic was going to expell the Palestinian ambassador to Prague. The daily Pravo said Prague wanted ambassador Samih Ismail Abd al-Fatah to be replaced over alleged anti-American comments he has made since the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Czech anti-chemical unit to begin leaving for Kuwait on Tuesday

The first members of a Czech anti-chemical unit are to fly to Kuwait on Tuesday, the unit's spokesperson has said. The Liberec-based unit is to participate in the United States-led military campaign in the region and will stay at a US base. The Czech unit of 250 soldiers is to work with troops from Germany and is expected to stay in Kuwait for six months.

Ulihrach beaten in tennis by Britain's Henman

The Czech tennis player Bohdan Ulihrach has been knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Rotterdam World Indoor Tournament - he lost 5-7 3-6 to Britain's Tim Henman on Friday.

Weather

And finally a look at the weather forecast. Saturday should be cloudy with rain in places, with maximum daytime temperatures of eight degrees Celsius. Sunday is expected to be cloudy with snow in some areas and a little colder with temperatures between zero and plus four Celsius.