Daily news summary News

03-04-2004

EU health ministers join forces to prevent cross-border medical care

Health ministers from fifteen current and future European Union member states have agreed to join forces to discourage patients from one country from seeking health care in another after the EU expands in May. The ministers agreed to regularly exchange information on patients who seek cross-border medical care at the end of a two-day conference in Senohraby, 30 kilometers south of Prague. Studies have indicated that patients from Western European countries could be tempted by cheaper health care costs in the ten nations joining the EU. The "Prague Declaration", a document calling for measures to be taken if the health care system of any one country was threatened, was signed by the health ministers of the ten new EU nations (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) as well as the five current members (Austria, Greece, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands).

Commemorating US editor and columnist Alan Levy

The US editor and columnist Alan Levy is dead. Mr Levy, lived and worked in Prague since the 1960s, passed away at the age of 72 years on Friday after a brief and courageous battle with cancer. Mr Levy first came to the Czech capital from New York as a journalist in 1967. He was editor-in-chief of The Prague Post, a popular English-language weekly, since its founding in 1991, when he was hired by the owners to help launch the newspaper. His column, "Prague Profile," introducing personalities from all walks of life, was one of the paper's most-read features and appeared 549 times. During his journalistic career Mr Levy interviewed personalities such as former Czech president Vaclav Havel, Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, the Beatles, and authors Graham Greene and W.H. Auden. He also chronicled the Prague Spring reform movement and the Warsaw Pact invasion that followed in numerous articles and a book called "Rowboat to Prague".

Spidla: Social Democrats only ones brave enough to lead Czechs into EU

The Social Democratic Party was the only party brave enough to lead the Czech Republic into the European Union, Social Democrat Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said on Saturday. Speaking at a meeting of party liners on the Central Bohemian Rip Hill - the place where the first Czechs are believed to have settled - Mr Spidla said all other parties were too weak and lacked the courage to prepare the country for the EU. He added that the results of the next parliamentary elections will only be in his party's interest if its members believed in themselves and their political manifesto, a programme which allows the average Czech to make an honest living.

Bohumil Hrabal Centre to be founded in Prague

Bohumil Hrabal fans came together in Prague on Saturday afternoon to commemorate the famous Czech novelist with the setting of a foundation stone for the Bohumil Hrabal Centre at Prague's Liben district. The centre, which will have a bookshop, gallery and a tavern, is to be built on Na Hrazi street, where Hrabal lived between 1950-1973 and where he wrote several of his earlier books. Close to three million copies of his books were printed during his life-time and he was translated into twenty-seven languages. Bohumil Hrabal's contribution to modern European literature includes "Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age" and "Closely Watched Trains". Mr Hrabal died on February 3, 1997.

Weather

Sunday will have overcast skies with occasional rain and day-time temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.

03-04-2004