News of Radio Prague

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Havel resting at home after falling ill with chest infection

President Vaclav Havel is resting at home after falling ill with a chronic breathing problem. President Havel was forced to cancel his programme for two days after developing an infection in his upper respiratory system. The 66-year-old president nearly died after a lung cancer operation in 1996, and has suffered numerous bouts of respiratory illness ever since. Mr Havel's third and final term as Czech president ends in January.

Havel: Czech officials asking for trouble during NATO summit

Earlier Mr Havel warned officials they were inviting trouble at November's NATO summit in Prague, by focusing more on security than the historic agenda of the meeting. Mr Havel wrote in a newspaper article that he understood precautions were needed at such high profile events, but questioned whether officials were going too far. The president said the huge emphasis on security during the summit - which will see an estimated 12,000 police officers patrolling the streets and NATO warplanes patrolling the skies - could provoke, rather than prevent violent protests.

2002 worse year for farmers since fall of communism

The Czech farmer's union said on Wednesday that summer floods and lower commodity prices have combined to make this year the worst for Czech farmers since the fall of communism. In a letter to Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla, union officials called for higher subsidies to rescue farmers from bankruptcy. They said an increase in government payments to around 80 dollars per hectare was needed to keep crop farmers and many of their suppliers in business long enough to plant next year's crop.

Rusnok: Temelin reactor 2 should be fully operation by January

Trade Minister Jiri Rusnok has said the second reactor at the controversial Temelin nuclear power plant should be fully operational by January. Mr Rusnok said repairs to the unit's generator were almost complete, and the reactor should be fully online within three months. Temelin was first launched in October 2000, to the anger of environmental groups in neighbouring Austria and Germany, who claimed it was unsafe. Temelin's first unit was plagued with technical problems, which appear to have been resolved.

Drunk driver triggers scare at Israeli embassy

A drunk driver triggered an emergency on Wednesday after crashing his car outside the Israeli embassy in Prague. The embassy's security guards called the police shortly before dawn on Wednesday after the car crashed into a concrete flower box outside the building. Police, fearing a possible terrorist attack, arrived with a special team including a bomb squad. No bomb or other dangerous device was found. The driver faces charges of drunk driving and refusing to co-operate with police.

Ukrainian loses murder appeal

A court in Olomouc has turned down an appeal by a 38-year-old Ukrainian man, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing an American tourist in Brno. Forty-two-year old Michael Ganiani, an American musician, was shot dead outside Brno's Hotel Continental in April 2000, after intervening in an argument between the man and his girlfriend. The man, believed to belong to a Ukrainian criminal gang, is also being tried for extortion. Large quantities of weapons were found in his car when he was arrested.

Weather forecast

Thursday will see a band of high pressure arriving from the south-west, bringing with it mostly clear skies with some showers in places. Temperatures in the daytime will range from seven to 11 degrees Celsius, falling at night to one degree.