News of Radio Prague

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Havel visits flood-hit villages

President Vaclav Havel and his wife Dagmar have visited several villages affected by the recent floods, to see the damage for themselves and offer support. The presidential couple visited villages in the Strakonice, Klatovy and Prague-West areas, bringing with them cleaning equipment, gloves and tools to help the clean-up operation. Mr Havel said the best thing he and members of his staff could offer flood victims was psychological and moral support.

Flood death toll rises to seventeen

Police said the death toll from the floods rose to seventeen on Saturday, after a man pumping water from his cellar fell unconscious and drowned. A police spokesman said the man was pumping floodwater from his cottage in the southern town of Trebon when he was overcome with petrol fumes and lost consciousness. Around ten people were swept to their deaths by swollen rivers during the floods, the remainder died from heart attacks or accidents during rescue work.

More than eight million crowns donated by British public

The Czech Embassy in London says people in Britain have donated almost 160,000 pounds, or more than eight million crowns, to a special fund for Czech flood victims. An embassy spokeswoman said there was great interest among the British public in the floods. The British government has donated around 100,000 pounds and special drying equipment, while Prince Charles has also contributed money from his own foundations.

Kids back to school, but many schools remain closed

School started on Monday for around 1.5 million Czech school pupils. However, several dozen flood-damaged schools throughout the country remain closed, and many children will not return to their classrooms until mid-September or the beginning of October. The Education Ministry is organising recreational trips in the countryside for children from flood-hit areas.

British, Czech air forces take part in joint military exercise

British and Czech air force personnel have gathered at the Namest nad Oslavou air base in South Moravia for a five-day joint military exercise. Sub-sonic aircraft and teams of air force controllers will simulate co-ordinated air attacks on ground targets. Czech air force controllers - whose job it is to guide pilots to targets on the ground - have already taken part in similar exercises in Britain. The Czech Republic became a full member of NATO in 1999.

Man gets 25 years in prison for murdering teenagers

A man who murdered his partner's two teenage daughters has been sent to prison for 25 years. The man, a 35-year-old former prison warden, was found guilty on two counts of murder by a court in Prague. The man claimed that he was hallucinating on drugs at the time, and believed the younger girl was a ghost. He claimed the older girl committed suicide. Both defences were rejected outright by the court.

Weather forecast

Tuesday will be another mostly clear and sunny day, with temperatures rising in the daytime to 24 degrees Celsius in places. Temperatures at night will fall to lows of seven degrees.