News of Radio Prague

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Vaclav Klaus released from hospital

Vaclav Klaus, the head of the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party, has been released from hospital after being admitted earlier in the week for treatment of an inner ear ailment. Mr Klaus had been suffering spells of dizziness and loss of balance; the ear ailment and symptoms could be related to either a common cold, or to stress and overwork. Mr Klaus, who turned 61 last week, had been under a great deal of pressure in the weeks leading up to parliamentary elections as well as media pressure to resign as party leader after his party's second-place showing. Mr Klaus will spend the rest of the week at home in order to fully recover.

Czech prime minister decries sentencing of Belorussian journalists

Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman has decried the sentencing of two Belorussian journalists of the weekly Pahonia, who were given 24 and 30 months of "monitored labour", for allegedly insulting the country's hard-line ruler Alexander Lukashenko. It is the first time that Belarus's law on slander against the president has been enforced, and the sentence involves implemented labour under police control. Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman criticised the sentencing as going against basic human rights and freedoms, and observers around the world widely consider the charges politically motivated. The weekly Pahonia severely criticised Lukashenko in the past, and called upon Belarus citizens not to vote for him in last year's elections.

President Vaclav Havel meets Lebanese counterpart in Prague

President Vaclav Havel has met with Lebanese counterpart Emil Lahud, during the Lebanese president's first visit to Prague. On the table for discussion Thursday was the current situation in the Middle East; both Havel and Lahud agreed that the sooner an international conference on the region was called, the better. Earlier this spring the United States, member states of the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations all agreed on the necessity for an international conference; on Thursday Vaclav Havel stressed that both he and President Lahud had agreed that before any such conference was called it would be necessary to outline an agenda representing the many interest groups involved.

2 pilots killed in ultra-light plane

Two pilots in a two-seat ultra-light plane were killed on Thursday after their plane crashed in the Nymburk region, some 60 km from Prague. Details are still unknown, and police are investigating the reason behind the accident. One thing is certain: the month of June has seen a marked increase in plane crashes in the Czech Republic, several of them fatal. June 1st another plane near Nymburk crashed, killing a 52-year-old pilot, and on June 20th a plane seating 4 crashed near Sumperk, killing one and seriously injuring three.

Two trams collide in centre of Prague, 3 suffer minor injuries

Two trams collided in the centre of Prague on Thursday in what has been the second tram collision in the capital this week: on Monday eighteen people were seriously injured in a five-tram pileup in Prague, six of them seriously. Thursday's collision was less dangerous, with three people suffering only minor scrapes.

Police arrest church-plundering gang

Police have arrested four men involved in stealing valuable historical items from small-town churches in Moravia, with damages being estimated at 2 million crowns. Police, however, were able to recover most of the stolen items, which included valuable crosses and paintings. The gang member believed to have organised the robberies, has extended knowledge on historical items, police revealed, as well as a PhD in philosophy. If convicted each of the four suspects could face up to eight years in prison.

Vandal admits to spray painting more than 30 Czech Railways trains

A 19-year-old vandal has admitted to spray painting more than 30 trains belonging to Czech Railways, police have revealed. Originally, the teen was charged in May in connection with three cases but has now provided police with extensive photo documentation to many more. Police say that the spray painter regularly posted information about his activities on the internet, and was unemployed. Final estimates on damages by the vandal have not yet been calculated.

Crown reaches new record level against Euro

The Czech crown reached a new record level against the Euro on Thursday, trading at 29.47, after the Central Bank decided not to apply intervention measures. Against the U.S. dollar the crown reached 29 crowns 88 hellers.

Two Czech players through second round in men's singles matches at Wimbledon

Two Czech players have advanced through second round in men's singles at the Wimbledon tennis championships in England. Radek Stepanek beat Dutch player Raeomon Sluiter in four sets, while Jan Vacek defeated Croatian Mario Ancic in straight sets. Just days ago it was a nerveless Ancic who knocked the seventh-seeded Swiss player Roger Federer from the tournament, making Thursday's win a valuable scalp for Vacek.

Weather

Thursday evening will see partially clear skies and temperatures of about 15 degrees Celsius. Friday is expected to be cloudy with some rainy periods, and temperatures reaching highs between 17 and 22 degrees Celsius.