These are the main Czech stories this hour, now a brief news bulletin read by Libor Kubik.
Czech Deputy Premier Egon Lansky said on Thursday his Social Democratic government had no wish to meddle with the election campaign in the neighbouring Germany.
President Vaclav Havel, in a statement from hospital, has said that as shown by the Czech parliamentary election, votes cannot be canvassed by creating a negative picture of citizens from a neighbouring state. He said through his spokesman it should be no different in Germany.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl had accused Czech Prime Minister Milos Zeman of unacceptable and absurd interference in Germany's affairs by saying Czech-German tensions would be defused if the Social Democrats won the election, and of indirectly comparing a Sudeten German lobby group and Czech extremist parties.
Here in Prague, the opposition Christian Democrats have described Zeman's statements as most unfortunate.
The Czech Communist Party indicated on Thursday it will indirectly support the Zeman cabinet's policy statement by abstaining from the crucial vote scheduled for August 18.
The party's vice chairman Vaclav Exner said the Communists would formally announce their decision early next week.
Two right-of-centre opposition parties -- the Freedom Union and the Christian Democrats -- have said they will vote against the government programme. The main opposition Civic Democrats of Lower House speaker Vaclav Klaus have indicated they will enable Zeman to survive the vote of confidence by staging a walk-out from the voting floor.
President Vaclav Havel's doctors said on Thursday his condition was stable after intestinal and throat surgery a few days ago.
Havel's personal doctor Ilja Kotik said the president was breathing normally against an artificially induced air pressure. But he said his medical team has yet to decide when it is safe to abandon tracheotomy.
Slovakia's Premier Vladimir Meciar said on Thursday he wants Bratislava's political relations with Prague to standardise on a higher level than they are today.
Speaking in a televised interview, Meciar stressed the necessity of solving all problems ensuing from the division of former federal assets.
He said Slovakia is prepared to negotiate with Prague now that Czechs have a new premier, chosen in a legitimate election. Meciar praised former premier Vaclav Klaus and his successor Milos Zeman for striking a political deal which restores stability in the Czech Republic.
The Czech crown continued its slump on Thursday under the influence of the financial turmoil in Russia and South East Asian markets.
The crown, which ignored the central bank's decision to lower interests rates, sold at 18.09 to the German mark at the end of Thursday's trading. Experts predict a further weakening of the crown's exchange rate in the coming days.
All shipping on the river Elbe in the Czech Republic was at standstill for a second day running due to low water marks.
Wednesday's torrential rains did little to ease the critical situation. But a few barges carrying cargo to Germany were released thanks to an artificial wave.
Talking about weather -- We expect this weekend to be rather cooler than the past few days of tropical heat. Daytime temperatures on both days should be from 24 to 28 degrees Celsius, and nighttime lows between eight and 12 degrees.
And that's the end of the news.
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