News of Radio Prague

Talks on forming a governing coalition continue

The Social Democrats and the parties of the centrist Coalition grouping are holding a fresh round of talks on forming a governing coalition . The Social Democrats have tabled a government agenda which their potential coalition partners from the Christian Democratic Party and the Freedom Union described as a good basis for further negotiations. The proposed agenda has three main pillars: public spending, public finance reform and the purchase of 24 Gripen fighter jets for the Czech Air Force. According to the proposed agenda the tax burden is to remain steady, and although the Social Democrats are keen to introduce a number of welfare programmes, they accept that the state budget must be brought into order and the state deficit kept under control. Vladimir Spidla, the leader of the winning Social Democratic party, is to meet with President Havel on Tuesday to report on the negotiations.

Multiple tram collision injures 18 people

Eighteen people are reported injured in a multiple tram collision which happened in Prague on Monday morning. Six people are said to have sustained serious injuries. The CTK press agency says that rescue workers had to pry some of the injured from the mangled wreckage of the streetcars. Investigators are trying to determine why one of the two-car trams slammed full speed into the rear of another. The accident –involving 7 carriages altogether -occurred at a stop where three trams had stopped for passengers. It is the second major tram wreck in six days in the Czech Republic. Last week sixteen people were injured in an accident in the west Bohemian city of Pilsen.

Klaus in hospital

Vaclav Klaus, the head of the centre right Civic Democratic Party, has been admitted to hospital with dizziness and loss of balance. Doctors say the symptoms may be the result of an inner ear ailment. The former prime minister, who turned 61 last week, has been under a great deal of pressure in recent days. His Civic Democrats suffered a stinging defeat in last weekend's parliamentary elections and Mr. Klaus has been under severe media pressure to resign as party leader. He is expected to remain in hospital for up to a week.

Greenpeace protest against GM corn

Greenpeace activists wrapped corn plants in plastic bags and launched a hot air balloon above a corn field in Moravia on Monday in the latest attack against an American company's test of genetically modified plants in the Czech Republic. About 20 Greenpeace activists participated in the protest against the company Monsanto, which is testing corn plants that have been modified to resist insecticides and insect killing bacteria. The company says that the modified plants are already widely grown in the US and pose no problem to the environment, but Greenpeace activists fear that pollen from the modified plants could contaminate plants on nearby farms. There were no reports of arrests.

British immigration controls reintroduced at Ruzyne Airport

British immigration officials have re-introduced strict immigration controls at Prague's main airport Ruzyne in an effort to prevent Czech economic asylum seekers from entering Great Britain. The immigration controls were first introduced a year ago in the wake of a Romany exodus to Great Britain. They are part of an agreement between the Czech and British governments aimed at preventing the re-introduction of a visa regime between the two countries. Since the summer of 2001 these controls been introduced for short periods a dozen times, each time sparking protests from human rights activists.

And finally a look at the weather forecast for the coming hours:

The coming night is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with more storms and scattered showers in the eastern part of the country. Tuesday should be partly cloudy with intervals of rain and shine and day temps between 20 and 24 degs.