News of Radio Prague

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Havel to stay in hospital until the end of the week

Czech President Vaclav Havel will most likely stay in hospital until the end of the week, after tests revealed he has contracted bronchitis. The president’s personal doctor Ilja Kotik said the illness was not life-threatening. Doctors recommended that Mr Havel cut short his three-day visit to France on Wednesday. He had planned to attend a theatre festival in Avignon on Wednesday night and return to Prague on Thursday. President Havel has suffered from chronic bronchitis since a third of his right lung was removed in December 1996 following the discovery of a cancerous tumour. Doctors say treatment for his frequent respiratory problems has made him develop some resistance to antibiotics.

Lower house elects new leadership

Czech MPs have elected six deputy chairpersons of the lower house of parliament, completing the seven-member leadership of the chamber chaired by Social Democrat Lubomir Zaoralek who was elected last Thursday. The election-winning Social Democrats have another member in the leadership, deputy chairwoman Jitka Kupcova. Two of the deputy chairpersons of the lower house, Miroslava Nemcova and Ivan Langer, are members of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats, the second strongest party in this year’s elections. Christian Democrat Jan Kasal and Hana Marvanova of the Freedom Union represent the two-party bloc which has formed a coalition government with the Social Democrats. And for the first time since the fall of communism, the Communist Party has a representative in the lower house leadership, Vojtech Filip.

Women can study Catholic theology in Prague

After many years, the Catholic Theological faculty of Charles University in Prague is opening its doors to women, who will now be able to study theology in a common master programme. For the next school year, the faculty is taking in ten women and 26 men. Until now, women could only study as external part-time students. The openness is a result of a fundamental restructuring of the school. The ultra-conservative theological faculty had been criticised by both the University officials and the Church. The Education Ministry even threatened to suspend its accreditation, citing the exclusion of women from study as one of the reasons.

Kavan made honorary member of LSE

The former Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan has been made an honorary member of the academic council of the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), where he spent several years as a student. Mr Kavan, who was recently appointed Chairman of the U.N. General Assembly, is the 149th honorary member of the council. A representative of the LSE said Mr Kavan's life closely mirrored the fate of post-war Czech democracy.

Czech retail sales growth slows down to 2.6 pct in May

Czech retail sales rose by 2.6 pct year-on-year in May in real terms, the lowest growth rate since the beginning of this year. The Czech Statistical Office attributed the slowdown mainly to lower sales of motor vehicles and fuels. However, demand for other types of goods has been rising steadily. According to analysts, the retail sales growth testifies to an optimistic mood among consumers and their willingness to spend more.

Weather

And finally, a quick look at the weather. A low pressure area will be moving from Central Europe further to the East. We're expecting a mostly cloudy day with showers and thunderstorms, especially in eastern parts of the country. The highest daytime temperatures should range from 19 to 24 degrees Celsius.