News

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Paroubek set for shoe-in at party conference

The chairman of the opposition Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, will most likely be unchallenged for the party's top job at a conference next month. Mr Paroubek received the backing of regional branches in Olomouc and central Bohemia on Saturday, meaning he now has support from all regions of the country. The Social Democrats finished second in elections last June with 32.3 percent of the vote.

Man seriously injured after fall from police station window

A man is in hospital with serious injuries after attempting to escape from a police station in Kladno, central Bohemia, police said. Shortly after being arrested for robbery the man tried to escape by jumping out of a window at the station. He was knocked unconscious and suffered a number of injuries when he hit the ground. An investigation has been launched into the incident. In 2002 a man died after trying to escape via a police station window in Brno.

"Green" electricity consumption set to rise significantly in capital this year

The consumption of electricity produced using renewable resources could increase in Prague by over 400 percent this year, said a spokesperson for supplier Prague Energy. New large consumers have been signing up for the "green" electricity, which is slightly more expensive than regular power. Over 500 Prague households began using the service last year.

Region to give money to families of victim of hospital killer

The Vysocina regional authority is considering making a one-off financial "gift" to the families of those killed by an orderly at a hospital in Havlickuv Brod. Petr Zelenka has confessed to the killing of eight patients with a blood-thinning drug, while investigators say the real figure could be as high as 13. The regional governor Milos Vystrcil said on Sunday the money would be given before a court ruling on compensation, but after the facts of the case had been clearly established.

Two thirds think health care better than under communism, suggests poll

Two thirds of Czechs believe the country's health care system is better now than under communism, suggests a poll carried out for Czech Television by the Median agency. Fourteen percent of the poll's 400 respondents said the health system was "markedly better", while 53 percent said it was "rather better". The poll also indicates that 70 percent believe doctors in the state sector receive reasonable pay.

National Gallery opens doors for free to mark 211th anniversary

The National Gallery in Prague has marked the 211th anniversary of its foundation by opening its doors to the public free of charge all weekend. A group of aristocrats and intellectuals set up the Patriotic Friends of the Arts in 1796. They established two institutions, the Academy of Fine Arts and the publicly accessible Picture Gallery of Patriotic Friends of the Arts. The latter - combined with the Modern Gallery of the Kingdom of Bohemia, founded in 1902 - was the director predecessor of today's Czech National Gallery.

Anniversary of birth of Czech-Italian architect Jan Blazej Santini-Aichel marked

The 330th anniversary of the birth of architect Jan Blazej Santini-Aichel was marked on Sunday at a church in Zdar nad Sazavou, on the border of Bohemia and Moravia. The Prague-born architect of Italian origin is known for his Baroque Gothic style. Among his most famous works is the church of St John of Nepomuk in Zelena Hora, which is on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Folk costume ball marks beginning of 2007 "folklore season"

Zdar nad Sazavou was also the venue for the beginning of this year's Czech "folklore season". It began with a national krojovy (folk costume) ball in the town on Saturday. The chairwoman of the Folklore Association of the Czech Republic, Zdenka Psenici, said that in terms of size the ball had no parallel in Europe.

Train named after tennis star Berdych

A Pendolino high speed train has been named after the Czech men's tennis number one Tomas Berdych. The world number 19 launched the train with a bottle of champagne on Saturday. He said he had never dreamt he would have a locomotive named after him. Berdych and his Czech team-mates arrived in Ostrava on the train on Saturday. Next weekend they will be taking on the USA in the Davis Cup in the city.

Weather

It should be partly cloudy over the coming days, with rain or snow in places. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 8 degrees Celsius.