News of Radio Prague

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European Parliament calls for Brussels to release 1 billion euros in post-flood humanitarian aid

The European Parliament has passed a majority of resolutions allowing the European Union to release 1 billion euros in post-flood aid to countries Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. The parliament asked the European Commission to set-up a European Fund that would be used to help repair the devastation from floods that hit Central Europe in August. Thursday's resolution states that the billion euros needed would be released immediately, and would be taken from left-over funds from the 2002 European Union budget. The resolution also welcomed plans by European investment banks to provide cheap loans to help companies afflicted by the floods as well as to help repair damaged infrastructures.

Czech President Vacav Havel and Austrian counter-part discuss Czech-Austrian ties

Czech President Vacav Havel has met with Austrian counter-part Thomas Klestil in the south Moravian town of Znojmo to discuss ways of solving continuing disputes in Czech-Austrian relations, disputes which include the Czech operation of the controversial nuclear power plant Temelin and the historic Benes Decrees, which sanctioned the expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II. The two leaders released a statement Thursday saying historic reflection would be the basis for constructive dialogue and that it was now up to political elite to face up to the task. The statement, however, did not offer any concrete steps. The two presidents also discussed the importance of continued regional co-operation, as exemplified after last month's catastrophic floods.

Threat of infections in areas hit by floods to last 2-3 months

The threat of dangerous infections including hepatitis A, salmonella, and dysentery is expected to continue for 2-3 months in areas in the Czech Republic that were hit by last month's floods. Michael Vit, the chief health inspector of the Czech Republic told journalists on Thursday that it was therefore essential for citizens in those areas to take proper steps to safeguard their health. The chief health inspector said that all children between the ages of three and five in the flood-hit areas would receive vaccines against hepatitis A. Vit added that three weeks after the floods fears of possible epidemics in the Czech Republic remained unfounded. So far, five patients have been infected with light cases of bacterial infection in south Bohemia; while two cases of suspected hepatitis A have not yet been confirmed.

Military to withdraw substantial number of field hospital personnel in Afghanistan

The Czech military is planning to withdraw most of its field hospital personnel in Afghanistan by the end of the year, personnel that has been on duty since late April as part of the ISAF operation in that country. Only about twenty Czech doctors and other medical personnel will remain at the international hospital in Afghanistan. The Czech army hopes to save up to a half a billion crowns by recalling most of its medical staff, funds the military plans to set aside for emergency situations and technical repairs for returning foreign missions.

Weather

Finally, a look at the weather: Thursday evening should see partial cloudiness with temperatures dropping to between 15 and 11 degrees Celsius. Meteorologists say Friday will be partly cloudy with a chance of isolated showers. Temperatures during the day should reach highs between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius.