Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he supports Health Minister David Rath's information campaign in the form of paid newspaper advertisements. Mr Paroubek called it the only way to put right facts concerning the activity of the healthcare sector. Advertisements featuring Minister Rath's portrait have appeared in Czech papers this week promising to ensure more healthcare and medicines for Czechs in 2006. The ministry claims in the advertisement that it motivates physicians to prescribe cheaper generic drugs in higher quantity. The chairman of the coalition Christian Democrats, Miroslav Kalousek has called the advertisements unethical.
An elderly man was killed on Saturday morning after he was hit by the Pendolino high-speed train on the Prague to Ostrava route near the town of Kolin. The driver was unaware of the collision until the train arrived at a station where remnants of a human body were found on its front. Police are investigating whether the 78-year-old man was killed while crossing the tracks or whether he committed suicide.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek is to visit Norway and Denmark next week. He is due to meet his counterparts and other officials and he will also be received by Denmark's Queen Margarethe II. Prime Minister Paroubek will meet Czech expatriates in the Norwegian capital Oslo and in the Danish capital Copenhagen he is going to hold talks with businessmen investing in the Czech Republic.
Jakub Janda has become only the second Czech ever to win the Four Hills ski jumping tournament. Janda shared victory with Finland's Janne Ahonen when both men finished equal on points on Friday; it was the first time a tie was recorded in the Four Hills competition, which this year was seen as a warm-up for the Turin Winter Olympics. The only other Czech to win the prestigious ski jumping tournament was Jiri Raska, in 1971.
The state-owned air carrier Czech Airlines has denied allegations published in Saturday's issue of the popular tabloid Blesk that it had paid for a recent private stay of Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach in New York. The paper writes that Minister Skromach stayed in a hotel where Czech Airlines has an open account to accommodate its crews. Mr Skromach denied the accusation and said it was smear campaign. At a news conference on Saturday afternoon, Mr Skromach produced receipts to prove he had paid for the family trip himself.
Czech Railways is gradually decreasing the number of conductors on its trains, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. In an effort to save money, the company has increased the number of trains on which passengers stamp their own tickets in special machines. A quarter of Czech Railways routes - mostly in the regions - are now without conductors.
Between now and general elections in June the government is only planning one major privatisation, the sell-off of plane makers Aero Vodochody, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Friday. Mr Sobotka said the privatisation of the Czech national airline, CSA, would be a task for a future government.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’