Photos of a wall built by the authorities in the north Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem to separate local residents from Romanies have gone on show at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The wall was built in 1999. It was removed after being criticised by human rights groups as an example of institutional racism in the Czech Republic. Romany groups are calling on the UN to appoint a special representative on Romany issues.
The best-selling Czech novelist Iva Hercikova has died at the age of 71. Police said she took her own life last Saturday, but have released no further details. The author wrote over 20 novels and short story collections in a career spanning five decades. Iva Hercikova is perhaps best known for Pet holek na krku (Five Bad Girls), which was made into a successful film in 1967.
The president of the Czech Republic's police force, Vladislav Husak, could be removed, Pravo reported. The interior minister, Ivan Langer, dismissed a suggestion he would replace Mr Husak with Martin Kotlan; however, the minister added that nothing was definitive. Mr Kotlan was deputy police president from 1998 to 2002.
The Brno city council has agreed to transfer the Tugendhat villa to the state. The move is intended to facilitate the return of the important Modernist building to its original owners, the Tugendhat family. The Tugendhats, who are Jewish, lost the villa when they fled Czechoslovakia in 1938 ahead of the Nazis. The family says the building, a UNESCO world heritage site, will remain open to the public.
The Constitutional Court has ordered the Health Ministry to create a new system of coverage for medicines by public health insurance by the start of next year. The court said the current system was not based on objective criteria and was not justified. It called on the Health Ministry to state clearly why the costs of certain medicines should be covered.
The Czech ski-jumper Jan Mazoch has been released from hospital in Krakow, ten days after crashing badly in a World Cup event in Poland. Mazoch, who had been put into an artificial coma to limit damage to his brain, has been transferred to a hospital in Prague. A medical official at the hospital in Poland said there was no reason he could not ski again if his rehab went as expected.
In related news, opponents of the US radar base in the Czech Republic took part in a protest event in Prague on Monday evening. Their march through the city centre went ahead despite a ban by Prague city hall. Some two thousand people are estimated to have taken part. Civic groups and associations who organized the march say that the presence of a US radar base in the Czech Republic would harm the country's security interests. They have called for a referendum on the issue.
Four professional soldiers have been arrested at an air base in Caslav, Central Bohemia, as part of a major drugs raid by police, the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reports. The paper says that the four men are suspected of receiving and distributing heroin. The detained soldiers are aged 20-22 and are part of the technical personnel of the air base. They have been relieved of their duties until the case is fully investigated. A senior police officer told Mlada Fronta Dnes that the drugs investigation in Caslav was still ongoing.
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