News of Radio Prague

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President Havel hospitalized with bronchitis

President Havel was hospitalized with bronchitis on Wednesday after cutting short his state visit to France. Doctors have prescribed antibiotics and are treating a build up of mucus in the president's right lung. The president's personal physician Ilya Kotik advised a speedy return to Prague on Wednesday morning after the 65-year-old head of state spent a feverish night with breathing problems. President Havel flew to Paris on Tuesday for what was meant to be a three-day state visit. He held talks with the French president Jacques Chirac and Premier Jean Pierre Raffarin before falling ill. The president was forced to cancel the rest of his programme in France, including an appearance at a theatre festival in Avignon, where he was to receive a special award for his literary work. The organizers have said that a special dinner given in honor of Vaclav Havel will take place as planned.

Floods in southern Moravia

The governor of south Moravia Stanislav Juranek has called a state of emergency in five villages where heavy floods killed two people and caused extensive property damage on Tuesday. A huge clean-up operation is underway in the region and volunteers are helping to pile up sandbags on river banks as protection against further flooding. Meteorologists have forecast more torrential rain over the next 24 hours. Tuesday's floods took the region by surprise and rivers rose by two meters in places. The Interior Minister Stanislav Gross, who visited the region on Tuesday, said the state would provide humanitarian aid. The damage has been estimated at over 30 million Czech crowns.

Super bows out

Super –a tabloid newspaper launched by supporters of the opposition Civic Democratic Party just over a year ago - is facing closure. The paper's employees were informed of the decision on Wednesday, a day after the paper's final edition hit newsstands. The tabloid's circulation is said to have fallen to about 100,000 copies, half of what it was twelve months ago. The Civic Democratic Party, which the paper openly supported, suffered a stinging defeat in last month's parliamentary elections.

Bregenz Festival focuses on Czech culture

The internationally recognized Bregenz Festival on Lake Constance opened on Wednesday with calls for Czech-Austrian understanding following a series of political disputes. The Czech Republic and its culture is a major theme at this year's festival, which opens with Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's opera Julietta. The Austrian President Thomas Klestil said in his opening address that "it was vital to understand the other side and to put things in common above those which divide". Relations between Prague and Vienna have been strained for some time, with two outstanding issues being the Temelin nuclear power plant and the Benes decrees, a 60 year old controversy relating to the expulsion of ethnic Germans from post war Czechoslovakia.

Weather

Skies are expected to remain overcast with scattered showers and torrential rain in many parts of the country . Nighttime lows between 17 and 13 degs, day temps on Thursday between 20 and 24 degs C.