Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych has made it to the semi-final of the Monte Carlo Masters series after turning around a losing match. The Czech was a set and 3 games down when he switched into overdrive against Swede Robin Soederling, winning the final 12 games in a row. The match ended 5:7, 6:3, 6:0. Berdych will next face either German player Philipp Kohlschreiber or the defending champion, Spain's Rafael Nadal.
The Czech anti-trust office has fined own hall in Moravia's Zlin a record 3 million crowns or roughly 145,000 US dollars for mistakes leading to bad tenders, the highest fine ever given for such a case. The anti-trust office investigated some 20 tenders by Zlin for almost one year. Anti-corruption police are also looking into a number of them. The town of Zlin has also violated the law in similar cases in the past with the highest fine before now reaching 700,000 crowns.
The Czech military is considering sending a special reconstruction team to Afghanistan that would operate in the province of Logar, southeast of the capital Kabul, in 2009. Currently, another Czech reconstruction team is operating in the north of the country, involving some 83 personnel cooperating with Danish and German soldiers. Deputy Defence Minister Martin Bartak said on Friday that the military was also considering plans for again deploying elite special forces from the Czech Republic to Afghanistan (in 2008). Earlier Czech special forces served in the combat zone in Afghanistan - taking part in missions against Taliban militia as part of the US-led operation "Enduring Freedom".
A bus carrying Belarusian and Russian tourists crashed near Rakovnik, central Bohemia on Friday, resulting in light as well as more serious injuries - namely fractures and concussions among passengers - requiring hospital attention. Four people - including the driver - received attention at a hospital. The cause of the crash remains unknown but is being investigated.
In related news, the opposition Social Democrats have said they are resolutely against the government's plan to introduce patients' fees for health care, saying they would abolish them upon returning to power. The statements were made by the party's leader Jiri Paroubek on Friday. Mr Paroubek said that the intention to introduce fees for visits to the doctors' as well as for prescribed medicines was an "awkward attack on social certainties". Under the plans patients would pay 30 crowns (1 US dollar and fifty cents) per item in prescriptions, 60 crowns day in the hospital, and 90 crowns for emergency treatment. The coaltion government is aiming to see the changes implemented as part of its overall reform package in 2008.
The United States consulted NATO allies on Thursday on plans for its missile shield in Europe before fielding complaints from Russia, which is wary about Washington's intentions. Deputy foreign minister Tomas Pojar and deputy defence minister Martin Bartak took part in the talks on behalf of the Czech Republic. The meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels are the highest-level talks so far on the US shield, to include 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic linked to an advance warning system in the Caucasus. The United States says the system is aimed at protecting its territory, but also many NATO allies, from missile attack by a "rogue state" like Iran.
The Senate has approved an amendment to the health care law giving patients the right to view and copy their medical records. Under the legislation, people should also have the possibility to pass this right onto their next of kin. Unless individuals wish otherwise, in cases of their death family members would be entitled to information about the cause of death and results of an autopsy. To become law, the amendment has yet to be signed be the President.
A new official census of homeless people living in the Czech capital suggests that there are around 2000 people without a permanent home in Prague. Around a thousand of them sleep rough, the other half use the services of shelters run by various charities. The new census was carried out by local town halls in individual Prague districts. A broad census conducted three years ago by humanitarian organisations suggested that there were around 3,000 homeless people in Prague, with some estimates putting the figure even higher at 6,000.
The head of the US Missile Defense Agency, Henry Obering, is expected to discuss the possible stationing of a US radar base in the Czech Republic with Czech deputies and senators in Prague on Monday. According to lower house defence committee chairman, Jan Vidim, Mr Obering wants to discuss the issue with Czech lawmakers before meeting the Czech National Security Council members later on Monday. The Czech Republic officially launched negotiations with the United States about the radar base in late March. A definitive decision on the project is up to parliament where its supporters do not have a clear majority. The radar construction is opposed by most Social Democrat lawmakers and by the opposition Communists. This week, a delegation of Czech MPs visited the Marshall Islands to see the local missile defence radar that would possibly be transferred to the Czech Republic.
The New York Rangers - with star forward Jaromir Jagr - have become the first NHL team in this year's postseason to advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs. The Rangers defeated Atlanta 4:2 on Wednesday night, completing a four-game sweep. Jagr as well as fellow Czech Michal Rozsival contributed with a goal apiece on the night while Martin Straka tallied one assist. The last time the Rangers won a playoff series was in 1997.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott