President Klaus has rejected criticism from former dissidents saying they were "lost" in present day society and incapable of sound judgment. Mr. Klaus aroused their anger recently by saying that non-elected non-governmental organizations /NGOs/ had a dangerous influence on public life. In a letter to the president the dissidents said that discrediting NGOs was an attack on fundamental democratic principles guaranteed by the constitution. The President said that while he appreciated the contribution former dissidents had made in helping to topple the communist regime, he suspected they were still living in the past themselves.
The German regional airline Cirrus Airlines on Monday launched a new regular service between Munich and the third largest Czech city Ostrava. Demand for this destination, predominantly from business people, is relatively strong and the new service will entail two flights a day. Ostrava Mosnov is the Czech Republic's second largest airport after Prague Ruzyne.
Hospitals have warned that unless they receive more money for their work they will be forced to economize severely which could adversely affect the quality of care provided. Operations may have to be postponed, certain medicaments may be in short supply and even the quality of hospital food could be affected, a spokesman said. The heads of hospitals from across the Czech Republic met in Prague today to discuss their problems and let the government know just how serious the situation is. Health minister Milada Emmerova has promised to look into the matter, but hospitals are seeking reassurances from the prime minister himself.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek is to have his own TV show. The prime minister will go on the air once a fortnight to answer questions from the public. The question and answer session with the prime minister will be aired on a satellite and cable TV network known as 24 CZ. The prime minister's spokesperson Lucie Orgonikova said Mr. Paroubek had agreed to do this in order not to lose contact with the public. The idea is not new, between 1990 and 1992 then Czechoslovak prime minister Marian Calfa had a ten minute show called "10 minutes with the Premier" and, during his years in office, the former President Vaclav Havel had a radio programme every Sunday. The latter was very popular with the public and the show remained a regular Sunday feature for ten years.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek met with his British counterpart Tony Blair on Monday, at the start of a two day visit to London. The two leaders discussed the ratification of the European Union constitution, further expansion of the EU and the Czech military presence in Iraq. The Czech Republic operates a 100 strong military police training base in southern Iraq and has a small team of surgeons in the country. The mission of the military police base has been extended several times and the Czech prime minister said he was prepared to support another extended term if necessary. During his two day visit to Great Britain, Mr Paroubek will also decorate Czech war veterans at the country's embassy in London.
The chairman of the Czech lower house, Lubomir Zaoralek, has called on North Korea to return to six-nation talks on the country's nuclear programme. Mr Zaoralek, who is leading a delegation of Czech MPs on a three-day visit to Pyongyang, said international negotiations were the best way to calm the situation and find a solution. He said the Czech Republic could serve as a mediator between North Korea and Czech allies such as the United States.
The Sokol sports and exercise movement is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the opening of its headquarters, the Tyrsuv Dum building in Prague's Mala Strana. President TG Masaryk was among those who backed its construction, and 14,000 people attended the opening on May 22, 1925. A Sokol official at the time said only two buildings in Prague had been built with that much love and sacrifice: the National Theatre and Tyrsuv Dum.
Popular American hip-hop artist and producer Kanye West is to make a video for his single "Diamonds" in Prague, according to MTV. The rapper said he would film in the Czech capital because of the "timeless" quality of the city's architecture. In the past international stars such as INXS and Linkin Park have shot videos in Prague.
A group of former dissidents have hit back at a recent statement by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who said that unelected non-governmental organisations had a dangerous influence on public life. In a letter to the president, the dissidents said discrediting NGOs was an attack on fundamental democratic principles guaranteed by the constitution. Signatories include Bishop Vaclav Maly, Rabbi Karol Sidon and former interior minister Jan Ruml.
Runners from Kenya have dominated the 11th annual Prague Marathon. The winner of the men's race was Kenya's Steven Matebo Cheptot in a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 42 seconds, while his countrymen took second and third place in Sunday's race. The women's race was won by the favourite Salina Jebet Kosgei, also of Kenya. Transport in the city was disrupted for several hours because of the marathon, which began and ended on Old Town Square and this year attracted a record 5,000 runners.