The Czech Republic has come under fresh criticism for allowing the practice of "cage" beds in its psychiatric institutions. The beds have bars on all sides and the top is covered by netting from which the patient cannot escape. Joanne Rowling, author of the famous Harry Potter books, has written a letter to the Czech embassy in London protesting against what she described as an appalling and cruel practice, most especially with regard to child patients. The British Sunday Times brought an in depth report on this practice some time ago, writing that children were trapped in these cage beds for hours without the presence of an attendant or nurse. The practice has also been criticized by Human Rights Watch.
A ten year old girl who was badly mauled by a Doberman just outside her home north of Prague is reported to be in stable condition. She was badly bitten on the face, back of her head and shoulders and was operated on shortly after being rushed to Prague's Motol hospital. The child was reportedly playing out in the street with a friend when the Doberman attacked her from behind. Its owner has been charged with causing bodily harm through negligence. The locals told the police that this was not the first time that the dog had been allowed to run lose unattended.
The 39th Karlovy Vary Film Festival ended with a gala evening and prize awarding ceremony on Saturday night. The main prize - the Crystal Globe - went to the Italian film A Children's Story. The best director Award went to Xavier Bermudez of Spain for his film Leon and Olvido. The best documentary award went to the Russian 2003 documentary Wedding of Silence. The week long festival attracted over 100.000 visitors and showed over 230 films from around the world, many of them premieres.
The Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic will pay a one day visit to the Czech Republic on Monday. The Slovak head of state, who took office last month, is thus fulfilling an unwritten agreement between the Czech Republic and Slovakia in that their presidents always schedule their first visit abroad to the former "sister state". The Czechoslovak federation broke up in 1993, but it was what the papers described as "a velvet divorce" and the two countries have maintained above-standard relations ever since. They supported each other in their ambition to join the EU and NATO and they cooperate closely within the Visegrad Group. On the eve of his visit to Prague, President Gasparovic described Czech-Slovak relations as problem-free and said he was greatly looking forward to the one-day visit.
Monday is expected to be cloudy to overcast with rain and day temperatures between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius.
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