News

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Doctors launch week of protests against health minister

Doctors have launched a week of protest actions against the policy of health minister David Rath. They say that the planned events will be largely symbolic and will not restrict care or in any way damage patients. The week-long protests against the minister's reforms will involve demonstrations in the three largest cities Prague, Brno and Ostrava, the distribution of leaflets and debates with the public. The protesters say that the minister's reforms are harming both medical staff and patients and have worsened the quality of health care afforded in many areas.

Minister in fist-fight at dentists' national conference

Strained relations between dentists and the health minister came to head at the national conference of Czech dentists on Saturday. One of the delegates to the conference Miroslav Macek - a member of the Civic Democratic Party and advisor to President Klaus - started a fist fight with the health minister who was present at the gathering. The two men were separated by the minister's aide and Macek left saying he'd started the fight over a private affair.

Jiri Pekarek, the Chairman of the Czech Dentists Association apologized to Mr. Rath on behalf of all present. Pekarek said dentists were offended that the minister had described them as puppets of the opposition Civic Democratic Party. Minister Rath has said on several occasions that the week of protests against him is orchestrated by the leading opposition party.

The attack was severely condemned by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek who said at an impromptu press conference that he viewed the attack as a political affair and called on President Klaus to reprimand his advisor. Mr. Paroubek said the Civic Democrats were creating an atmosphere conductive to violence against left wing parties. The President's Office has not commented on the affair. The Civic Democratic Party has distanced itself from Macek's action.

Police detain man believed to be behind anonymous threats to companies

The police have detained a man who is alleged to have sent anonymous letters to several Czech firms threatening to poison their food products. One of the letters was sent to the Opavia biscuit company warning that their products would be contaminated with a toxic substance that is extremely hard to detect. The suspect is a 28 year old from the town of Opocno and he appears to have been motivated by the desire for revenge. He has been charged with scaremongering and may be sentenced to three years in prison.

Czechs to play in the final of the World Ice Hockey Championships

The Czech ice hockey team beat Finland 3:1in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Riga on Saturday. Finland's Riku Hahl opened the scoring eight minutes into the game but midway through the second period Tomas Pleskanec levelled the score with a short-handed marker. Jaroslav Hlinka then gave the Czech team an edge when he scored into an empty net with less than a minute on the clock. And in the third period, with less than four minutes to the end of the game, captain David Vyborny scored the winner, opening the way for the Czech national team to defend its 2005 title. The Czechs will play for the gold on Sunday evening.

Weather:

Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy with some scattered showers and day temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.