Culture Minister Pavel Dostal dies

The Czech Culture Minister Pavel Dostal, an anti-communist dissident playwright turned politician, has died after a year-long battle with cancer, at the age of 62. Pavel Dostal died on Sunday morning at the Masaryk Oncology Institute in Brno where had been receiving cancer treatment after he had a tumour removed from his pancreas last autumn. Pavel Dostal was the longest-serving minister in the Czech cabinet. He served as culture minister since 1998 under four prime ministers. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said that "Pavel Dostal was an excellent minister, a real servant of the state. He led Czech culture through a difficult transformation period. He had an extraordinary influence over the artistic community. He was a tireless political personality, but also a good husband and father."