News of Radio Prague

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Havel to be released from hospital within 24 hours

Czech President Vaclav Havel's health has improved enough to no longer need to be hospitalised. According to his personal doctor, Ilja Kotik, Mr Havel is expected to leave Prague's military hospital within the next 24 hours to recuperate at the Lany chateau presidential retreat in South Bohemia. Mr Havel, who has been in hospital with bronchitis since Wednesday after being forced to cut short his visit to France, is still on antibiotics and will continue breathing therapy after being discharged. Mr Havel, who is 65, has suffered from chronic bronchitis since an operation in 1996 to remove a malignant tumour from his right lung.

Four held over alleged plot to kill Czech reporter

Four people were detained on Monday for allegedly plotting to kill a Czech newspaper reporter. The suspects are accused of having conspired to murder Sabina Slonkova, an award-winning reporter for one of the country's largest daily newspapers, Mlada fronta Dnes. A source close to the investigation said the man allegedly contracted to carry out the murder cracked under pressure just before he was to execute the plot. He then turned himself in to the police. According to Mrs Slonkova, one of the suspects was a former secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Karel Srba. Mrs Slonkova, who covers security and political issues mainly at government ministries, reported on an affair last year involving the renting of a Czech government-owned complex in Moscow, in a contract that was described as highly suspicious. Mr Srba, who took the blame for the affair was forced to resign in March 2001.

Skromach: ministry to take steps to increase employment

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs plans to fight unemployment by increasing the minimum wage. The department's newly appointed Minister, Zdenek Skromach, told reporters on Monday that such a step would motivate Czechs to work and furthermore reduce the number of people asking for social benefits to make up for low wages. According to Mr Skromach, further steps needed to increase employment include the support of investors and small businesses. At the moment, the minimum monthly wage lies at 5700 Czech crowns (a little under 200 U.S. dollars), which is 40% of the average wage.

German prosecutor to investigate Sudeten German massacre

The public prosecutor's office in the Bavarian town of Hof has been asked to investigate into a suspected massacre of Sudeten Germans in WWII Czechoslovakia. According to eye-witness testimonies, tens of ethnic Germans were killed in 1945 in the North Bohemian Teplice region. A Czechoslovak military unit is believed to have carried out the massacre in a former munitions factory, killing between 34 to 99 people. The number of victims is unclear as witness reports vary. It is yet to be decided whether the prosecution in Hof will take the case.

Murderer of teen German to have been victim's friend

The Czech police believe that the murderer of the 18-year old German whose body was found in fields near the South Bohemian village of Bavorov on Thursday was his thirty year old friend, with whom he had travelled to the Czech Republic to sell a car. The suspect, also a German but originally from Kazakhstan, is accused of having shot the victim three times for not receiving a fare share of the money gained from the sale of the car.

Weather

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast. Tuesday will have overcast to partially clear skies with scattered showers and temperatures between 18 and 23 degrees Celsius in the North-west, reaching a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius in the South-east.