News of Radio Prague

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Part of military hospital departs for Afghanistan

The main part of a Czech military field hospital departed for the Afghan capital Kabul on Friday evening. The remaining equipment and the rest of the 200-member contingent are to be transferred to Kabul by air by May 9th. Czech doctors are expected to provide medical care to members of international military units watching over the situation in the country after the fall of the fundamentalist Taliban regime. Last week, 30 Czech soldiers left for Afghanistan in order to prepare grounds for the hospital at the military base of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul. Currently five Czech medical personnel are working in a British field hospital in the region which is to be replaced by the Czech establishment.

Tvrdik sums up year in office

Summing up his first year in office the Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik said his ministry was still in a critical state but positive changes had started. When Mr Tvrdik resumed the office a year ago he was delegated by Prime Minister Milos Zeman to reorganise the army with the aim of making it fully professional.

Czech soldiers to participate in UN peacekeeping units

In his speech Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik also said the ministry was considering the detachment of several hundred infantry for UN peacekeeping units. Currently, Czech soldiers are participating in a NATO mission in Kosovo as part of the KFOR unit. An anti-chemical unit is taking part in the US-led "Enduring Freedom" operation in Kuwait and a military field hospital is now being transferred to Afghanistan.

Czech citizens wishing to vote abroad to register at embassies by Sunday

Sunday, May 5th is the deadline for Czech citizens living abroad to register at Czech embassies and consulates before this year's parliamentary elections; otherwise they will not be allowed to cast their votes. Embassy officials say that only a few hundred people have registered so far and no major changes are expected by Sunday. The largest number of Czechs have registered in neighbouring Slovakia where approximately 200 people wish to vote. Czech diplomats have agreed that people are less interested in this year's general election than Czech authorities expected. According to unofficial estimates there are about 70,000 Czech citizens living abroad, many of whom have criticised the fact that they have to travel to distant embassies rather than cast their votes by post.

Cannabis legalisation advocates meet in Prague

Several hundred people met on Prague's Letna Plain to support the legalisation of cannabis and protest against the official drug policy on Saturday. The event was a part of an international campaign "The Million Marijuana March" aimed at eradicating of what the organisers call "myths about marijuana" and informing the public about other uses of hemp products, such as in the textile industry, cosmetics or medicine. Similar meetings are expected to take place in 170 countries around the world on Saturday.

Weather

And finally a look at the weather forecast. Saturday night will be cloudy with rain in places and isolated thunderstorms. Night time temperatures are expected to range from 14 to 10 degrees Celsius. Sunday should also be overcast and rainy with isolated thunderstorms. Daytime temperatures are expected to rise to 19 degrees Celsius. Monday should be brighter with temperatures between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.