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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.