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28-07-2004

Outgoing cabinet confirms Telicka's dismissal

The outgoing Cabinet has confirmed the dismissal of the Czech's European Commissioner, Pavel Telicka. Mr Telicka is to be replaced in Brussels by Vladimir Spidla, who resigned as prime minister last month. Wednesday's action overturns a Cabinet decision made five months ago, which guaranteed Mr Telicka a mandate until 2006. With newly appointed Prime Minister Stanislav Gross expecting to have a new government formed early next week, this week's session was most probably the last for the old Cabinet. Vladimir Spidla and his cabinet resigned shortly after the ruling coalition parties' poor showing in the elections to the European Parliament held in June. However, Mr Spidla says his Cabinet has met a significant part of its policy aims and has nothing to be ashamed of. In Brussels, Mr Spidla is mainly interested in the justice, enlargement or transport portfolios. The next executive European Commission, which takes office in November, will be put together by new Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso of Portugal.

Hygienists in northern Bohemia alarmed over growing number of Meningococcus infections

Hygienists in the Usti nad Labem region, northern Bohemia, have begun testing ventilation systems in night clubs, following alarming numbers of infections with the Meningococcus bacteria this year. The Meningococcus bacteria, which is responsible for a number of diseases, has infected an alarming number of people with meningitis, an inflammation of the coverings of the brain and spinal cord. Of the 11 cases recorded in the region, five have resulted in deaths. Places with still and smoky air offer the best conditions for airborne infections. Night clubs are seen as particularly dangerous as the large crowds of people make it easier for infection to spread faster. Babies, toddlers and teenagers between the ages of 15 and 20 years have proven to be most vulnerable to the Meningococcus bacteria.

President Klaus sends J.K. Rowling reply

Czech President Vaclav Klaus has taken up the issue of the state of Czech psychiatric hospitals in his reply to British author J.K. Rowling. The author of the popular Harry Potter children's books had sent a letter to Mr Klaus and other Czech politicians in mid-July urging them to stop the use of caged beds in Czech psychiatric wards and institutions to restrain people with mental disabilities. Upon receipt of the letter, President Klaus summoned experts in the field to Prague Castle to discuss the state of the mental health care system. "The problem that you mentioned is, of course, very serious, and is the subject of permanent professional study within our country... I cannot but disagree with the impression that in Czech health-care institutions there occurs regular abuse of the aforementioned beds, or even the abuse of mentally disabled children," Mr Klaus wrote.

Czech high-jumper Baba comes second at Stockholm meeting

Just over two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Athens, Czech high-jumper Jaroslav Baba came second with a jump of 230 centimetres in an IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday evening. Baba is a member of the biggest Czech team ever to be sent to the Olympics.

Weather

Thursday should have partially clear skies with occasional showers. Day-time temperatures should reach a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius.

28-07-2004