News

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Doctors, pharmacists, and hospitals pleased with new health minister

Czech doctors, pharmacists and hospital management say a meeting with new Civic Democrat health minister Tomas Julinek has been productive in finding ways out of the country's health crisis. Health workers from all spheres of the sector have been protesting at measures introduced by Minister Julinek's predecessor, Social Democrat David Rath, whose reforms they say have harmed patients and lacked efficiency. Mr Julinek is also scheduled to meet with the country's health insurers and presidents of three medical chambers.

King of Cambodia considers Czech Republic his second home

At a meeting with President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle on Tuesday, King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia said he considers the Czech Republic his second home. The 52 year old monarch lived and studied in Prague for 13 years. He speaks fluent Czech and was presented with the Foreign Ministry's Gratias Agit award this year for promoting the good name of the Czech Republic abroad. During his one-week visit to the Czech Republic, which was launched on Tuesday, King Sihamoni will also receive honorary citizenship of Prague.

Prime and Foreign Ministers welcome participants of Week of Czechs Living Abroad

Some 200 people from all over the world, who are of Czech origin and are in Prague to attend the "Week of Czechs Living Abroad", were welcomed by Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and Foreign Minister Alexandr Vondra on Tuesday. The Week of Czechs Living Abroad centres around seminars and talks on relations between the Czech Republic and people with Czech ties abroad. It was first held in 1998 and is organised by the International Coordination Committee for Czechs Abroad, in cooperation with the Senate, Foreign Ministry, and Charles University and is held under the auspices of President Vaclav Klaus.

As part of the event, an award ceremony will take place on Friday to honour women of Czech origin for their outstanding achievement in art, science, sports, charity work, business, and public life. Among those nominated for the prize are Madeleine Albright and Ivana Trump. On the same day, a resolution will be made evaluating the Czech state's ties to problems faced by Czechs abroad. Accompanying programmes include exhibitions, film screenings, and a tour of the National Archives.

Prime Minister Topolanek opposes plans to build Berlin expulsions centre

New Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek opposes plans by a group representing Germans forced out of eastern Europe after World War Two to build a permanent centre on the expulsions. Reiterating a long-standing Czech position, the prime minister, leader of the right-wing Civic Democrats, said his government wanted relations with Germany to focus on "the present and the future". The Centre Against Expulsions, a foundation linked with the League of German Expellees, plans to build a permanent centre on the subject in Berlin.

The League represents 12.5 million Germans evicted from eastern Europe after the war, including about three million from former Czechoslovakia. Mr Topolanek said he would coordinate the Czech position with Poland, which also opposes the plan.

Over 70,000 drivers affected by point system, ten drivers lose licence

Some 72,500 motorists have already broken traffic regulations and have at least one point since the new point system was introduced in July. Ten drivers have collected twelve points and lost their licence, the transport ministry says. The ministry also says the number of accidents and mortalities has decreased significantly in the last two months as drivers have been more cautious.

Former anti-drugs chief believed to have committed suicide

Police are investigating the death of a former head of the national anti-drugs squad. Josef Sterba headed the police unit in 1990. He was rushed to hospital with a gunshot wound to his head last week and died in hospital on Tuesday. The 53-year old man is believed to have committed suicide.

Dalai Lama to visit Prague next month

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be visiting the Czech Republic next month to attend the Forum 2000 conference, which takes place in Prague from October 8-10 under the auspices of former President Vaclav Havel. The Forum 2000 conferences are held regularly since 1997 to debate the key issues facing civilization and explore ways to prevent conflict. The Dalai Lama has been a regular participant. On October 11, he is also scheduled to give a public talk at Prague's Sparta sports arena.

Liptal near Vsetin named Village of the Year

Liptal near Vsetin, in north Moravia, has been named Village of the Year in the Regional Development Ministry's national competition that is held every year. Liptal was awarded for its development plans, folklore programmes, and projects involving children and the youth. The village competed against 355 villages from 13 regions. It receives one million crowns, to be used for future development projects.

Weather

Wednesday will continue to be partially cloudy with scattered showers but the remaining week is forecast with clear and sunny skies and temperatures reaching 25 degrees Celsius.