News of Radio Prague

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Spidla discusses wide range of issues with Blair in London

The Czech prime minister, Vladimir Spidla, has held talks in London with his British counterpart Tony Blair. The two men discussed the enlargement of the European Union, NATO, Czech emigration to the UK and the Czech government's plans to buy Gripen war planes, which are made by a British-Swedish consortium. On the question of Iraq, Mr Spidla said it was necessary to deal with the issue through the United Nations, which should give weapons inspectors a clear and strong mandate to inspect any site in the country.

Havel slowly recovering from illness, says doctor

President Vaclav Havel is slowly recovering from an inflammation of his respiratory system, his doctor, Ilja Kotik, told reporters on Tuesday. The doctor said Mr Havel had not been overly taxed by his schedule on Monday, when he left his sickbed to present state honours on the anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia. Mr Havel, who suffers from a chronic breathing problem and almost died after a lung cancer operation in 1996, is continuing to receive treatment at his country retreat. His third and final term as Czech president ends in three months time.

Farmers collect 120,000 petition signatures ahead of Prague demonstration

Farmers' organisations have collected almost 120,000 signatures on a petition calling on the state to help them cope with the financial crisis they say is facing Czech agriculture. The petition is to be presented to the government and both houses of parliament on Wednesday morning, when around 3,000 farmers are due to hold a demonstration in the centre of Prague. Farmers in candidate countries are not expected to receive the same level of subsidies as those enjoyed by farmers in existing EU members.

Social Democrats dissolve Brno branch over non-existent members

The governing Social Democratic Party has dissolved its Brno branch after three of its candidates for next weekend's local elections were implicated in a scandal involving around 70 non-existent members. The three candidates in question resigned, but the Social Democrats stuck to their decision to dissolve the whole branch, saying a new local organisation would be founded before the end of the year.

Two killed in level crossing crash

Two people were killed on Tuesday morning when their car was hit by a passenger train at a level crossing at Hrusovany nad Jevisovkou, near Brno. Police are investigating the cause of the collision, in which a 28-year-old woman and her seven-year-old son were killed. Part of the car they had been travelling in was dragged some 200 metres by the train, before it managed to stop.

Weather

Wednesday should be cloudy with rain or showers in places. The maximum daytime temperature is expected to be 12 degrees Celsius.