Meningitis claims three lives

Some Czech doctors are calling for compulsory vaccinations against meningitis, an inflammation of the brain, which has claimed three young lives in the past week. A student aged twenty, a fourteen year old girl and a year old baby succumbed to the disease within hours of seeking medical attention, despite getting intensive treatment. Meningitis is a disease which afflicts primarily young people and has been know to kill within 24 hours of the first symptoms. These are deceptively similar to the flu, and include headaches, fatigue, fever and vomiting. The health ministry says that although the disease can be lethal its incidence is not widespread enough to make vaccination compulsory. In 2003 there were 101 registered cases, of which ten patients died.

Iraq asks for Czech assistance in saving its cultural heritage

The culture minister on Iraq's governing council, Mufid al Jazairi has asked the Czech Republic to send experts who would help restore Iraqi cultural artefacts damaged during the war and in the course of the previous regime. Mr. Jazairi, who is currently on a visit to the Czech Republic addressed his request to the Czech culture ministry. The Iraqi official speaks fluent Czech, having spent several years in the former Czechoslovakia as a student, and he was extremely helpful in helping to secure the release of three Czech journalists held by Iraqi extremists a few weeks ago.

Communist party conference

The Czech communist party is holding its annual conference in Ceske Budejovice this weekend with several senior party posts up for re-election. Miroslav Grebenicek, who is expected to retain his leadership of the party, said in his opening address on Saturday that the party was ready to enter government and "tame" what he described as "rampant capitalism" in the Czech Republic. He said present day capitalism had been "unleashed from the chain of the welfare state" and slammed the Social Democrats for allegedly deserting their election manifesto. Although the Communists are currently the second strongest party on the Czech political scene no other party is willing to cooperate with them in government.

Prague Spring Music Festival underway

The 59th Prague Spring International Music Festival 2004 is underway in the Czech capital. This year's highlights include celebrations of the centenary of the great Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and performances by his great grandson Josef Suk and Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena. For the first time this year, the festival introduces a smaller series of late-night concerts called \"concerts without a break and without a jacket\" to take place in a more relaxed atmosphere. The Prague Spring Music Festival annually attracts thousands of visitors from both at home and abroad.

Open-door day at Czech Radio

Czech public radio on Saturday opened its doors to the public giving several hundred visitors a behind the scenes look at how programmes are made and put on the air. Visitors were able to meet in person with editors and technical staff of Czech Radio's seven channels, including Radio Prague, Czech Radio's international service.


Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius.