News

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Teenager drowns at Kladno Aqua Park

A teenage boy from Zimbabwe has drowned at an aqua park in the town of Kladno, near Prague. The boy's lifeless body was pulled out of one of the pools, where the park's guests and emergency health workers tried to revive him for an hour. The boy, who is believed to be around 17 years old, was part of a group of refugees' children who were visiting the park. Footage from a surveillance camera shows that the boy drowned as he came out of the Space Bowl - a large water ride in which the slider enters through a high speed enclosed AquaTube, lands on a bowl, and is then dropped into a splashdown pool.

This is the second death since the water park was opened three years ago. The first accident was in August 2005, when an eleven year-old boy also drowned at the Space Bowl attraction.

Jiri Paroubek may run for president in the future

Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has not ruled out his candidacy in a presidential election. In a televised debate programme on TV Prima, Mr Paroubek said he would not run for president next year although he believes that his last two years in politics have been successful. The former prime minister added that he would run for president sometime in the future if his popularity prevails.

Patients' Association says planned introduction of health care fees violates Constitution

The Czech Association of Patients says the Health Ministry's planned introduction of health care fees is unconstitutional. Under the ministry's proposed reform package, every trip to the doctor would cost patients 30 crowns, every day spent in a hospital or other health facility 60 crowns, and every visit to an emergency ward 90 crowns. However, a patient's expenses, including medication, would not exceed 5,000 crowns a year. The association's vice-chairman Josef Mrazek said in a televised debate on Sunday, that the introduction of such fees violates the Constitution and senators and MPs will be asked to turn to the Constitutional Court in protest.

New commission for health reform to be introduced in about two weeks

A commission that will be responsible for the country's health reform process will be introduced in about two weeks. In a Czech TV debate programme on Sunday, Health Minister Tomas Julinek said the commission will be made up of experts in the field and representatives of the five parties in parliament. Speaking in the same televised debate, Deputy Health Minister Pavel Hrobon warned the country's health care system will be 30 billion crowns (an estimated 1.4 billion US dollars) short in 2015, if the system of financing is not changed.

Should the country's politicians come to an agreement over the necessary changes, they could be put in place by the commission by 2010, Minister Julinek said.

Innocent bystander suffers light injury from rebounded bullet

A man suffered light injuries after he was hit by a bullet that rebounded off the body of a car. The bullet was shot by a police officer who was trying to stop a thief making an escape in the car. The incident happened in the Prague 1 district in the city centre.

Head of US Missile Defence Agency to visit Prague

The director of the US Missile Defence Agency, Henry Obering, will visit the Czech Republic on Monday. The main aim of the visit is to introduce Czech politicians to the technical parameters of a radar base that the United States is hoping to build in the Czech Republic. Mr Obering is scheduled to meet with President Vaclav Klaus, Senators, MPs, and will take part in Monday's National Security Council session. He is also expected to hold talks with the leader of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, whose party has been critical of the radar station.

Czech Police uncover gang forcing women into prostitution

The Czech Police have arrested seven men believed to have been smuggling women into the Czech Republic and forcing them into prostitution. The spokesperson for the country's anti-organised crime unit says the women from the former Soviet republics were promised cleaning jobs in the Sumava region. Upon their arrival, their passports were taken away and they were forced to work in night clubs. The gang was made up of Czechs, Russians, Ukrainians and an Austrian, TV Nova reports.

Czechs mark Earth Day

The Czech Republic marked Earth Day with events and projects around the country aimed at the protection of the environment. At an ecological education centre in the south Moravian town of Chaloupky, visitors learned about the importance of herbal plants, the natural environment, and farm animals. Prague Zoo introduced visitors to the moor frog, which is an endangered species because many of the wetlands needed for the frog's survival have been drained. The zoo in the Moravian town Zlin ceremoniously opened its "eco-corner" on Sunday at which visitors learned about recycling and walked through a maze made up of recycled paper. Besides other events around the country, numerous museums are also open to the public for free.

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. Although started in the United States thirty-seven years ago, Earth Day has been observed around the world since 1990.

Vyskov town representatives considering withdrawal of Klement Gottwald's honorary citizenship

Vyskov town representatives will decide on Monday whether or not to revoke the honorary citizenship of Czechoslovakia's first Communist president, Klement Gottwald. The revocation was requested by the Confederation of Political Prisoners and has the backing of the town council. The region's young communists have pledged to oppose the proposal. Klement Gottwald's exact birthplace is unknown but he is believed to have been born in the nearby village of Dedice.

During Gottwald's hard-line regime, hundreds were executed and thousands sent to labour camps. After the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, numerous towns and cities decided to strip Klement Gottwald of honorary citizenship.

Fed Cup: Czech Republic wins all five games against Slovakia and qualifies for June play-offs

The Czech team in the Fed Cup has won all five games against Slovakia in the first round of the World Group II matches this weekend. In Sunday's singles matches, Lucie Vaidisova defeated Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova 6:2, 6:7, 6:3 and Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova beat Magdalena Rybarikova 6:1, 2:1. In the doubles, the Czech beat the Slovaks 6:3, 6:3.

The Czechs are now leading 5:0 against the Slovaks and have qualified for the play-offs in June, in which the four winners gain a place in next year's elite World Group.

Ice hockey: Czechs in third place in Euro Hockey Tour

The Czech Republic has made third place in the Euro Hockey Tour. The Czech team beat Finland 2:0 in Saturday's match in Prague's Sazka Arena. The tournament is an annual ice hockey event for teams from the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden. The competition mainly serves as preparation for the World Championships or Olympics, allowing less experienced players to collect valuable ice time in their national colours.

Weather

It is expected to be sunny with cloudy intervals. Highest temperatures should range between 16 and 21 degrees Celsius on Sunday and between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius at the start of the week.