News of Radio Prague

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Czechs mark 84th anniversary of foundation of Czechoslovakia

Czechs have marked the 84th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, with a number of ceremonies and public events across the country. The public holiday, which is celebrated every year in the Czech Republic, is no longer marked in Slovakia. The two countries became independent in 1993.

Havel forced to cancel state holiday engagements

President Havel was forced to change his programme for Monday's state holiday celebrations because of ill health. Mr Havel, who fell ill last week with his chronic breathing problem, was ordered by doctors to stay at home for most of the day. He was unable to attend the appointment of new generals and lay a wreath at the statue of Czechoslovakia's first President Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. He will, however, attend a gala evening at Prague Castle to award state medals, and will make a short speech.

High winds continue to cause havoc across Czech Republic

High winds continued to cause havoc across the country on Sunday night, bringing down trees and causing power cuts. Fallen trees blocked roads and railway lines throughout the country, and drivers have been asked to exercise caution after a number of accidents, one of them fatal. Meteorologists said the winds, which reached over 100 kilometres per hour in places, are expected to die down by Monday evening.

Little interest in first round of Senate elections

Voting ended at the weekend in the first round of the Senate elections, in a poll marked by widespread voter apathy. Officials said just 24 percent of people had bothered to vote - the lowest turnout since the upper house was created six years ago. The Senate is highly unpopular among the public, with most people seeing it as irrelevant. The low turnout was also due to the long weekend, which many Czechs are spending at their country cottages.

Civic Democrats come out on top of first round

A third of the Senate's 81 seats are being contested, but only one candidate was elected in the first round. The remaining 26 seats will be decided by a runoff next weekend. The main opposition Civic Democrats made the strongest showing, sending 19 candidates into the second round. They were followed by the ruling Social Democrats. The Senate has little real power, as vetoes can be overridden by the lower house. But its consent is crucial for changes to the constitution, and the elections will influence who is to succeed President Vaclav Havel in February.

Zelezny wins in first round, to stay on at TV Nova

TV Nova director Vladimir Zelezny, the only candidate to win in the first round, has said he will stay on as head of the popular television station. Mr Zelezny, who won the Znojmo constituency with just under 51 percent of the vote, told reporters he was capable of handling both jobs at the same time. Mr Zelezny was the most controversial candidate in this year's elections. He is being prosecuted for a number of fraud offences, including damaging the interests of a creditor and tax evasion. Some claim he sought public office in a bid to gain immunity from prosecution.

Weather forecast

Tuesday will be another mostly cloudy day, with the chance of showers or rain in places. Temperatures in the daytime will range from 6 to 10 degrees Celsius.