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Stropnický: 100 Czech soldiers could join NATO eastern force this year

The minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said the Czech Republic could send 100 soldiers to serve with NATO forces in eastern members of the alliance. Speaking on a Czech Television discussion programme on Sunday, Mr. Stropnický said if preparations went according to plan, the mission could be sent in the second half of the year. Reacting to Russia's treatment of Ukraine, NATO decided to beef up the defence of its easternmost members with a new rapid reaction force composed of 5,000 soldiers.

Four sites for new reservoirs selected, says Jurečka

Four suitable sites for new reservoirs aimed at combating water shortages in the Czech Republic have been selected, the minister of agriculture, Marian Jurečka, said on TV Prima on Sunday. The station reported that the four spots were Pěčín in north-eastern Bohemia, Vlachovice in eastern Moravia and Senomaty and the nearby Šanov in the Rakovník district in the Central Bohemian Region. Locals and preservationists have opposed the plans. Minister Jurečka said the areas in question had suffered during droughts in recent years, adding that the planned reservoirs were a long-term project and would not be built under him or possibly even under his successor.

Personnel shortage could slow plans for network of psychiatric centres

Plans to create a new network of around 30 psychiatric centres in the Czech Republic in the next few years could be held back by a lack of qualified personnel. Martin Hollý, the head of a psychiatric specialists organisation, said on Czech Television on Sunday that staff would need to receive special training before the centres could go into operation. The facilities are being created as part of a reform of the Czech psychiatric care system. The need for such reform came into the spotlight in 2003 when international institutions criticised the Czech Republic for the continued use of caged beds in mental hospitals.

Three die in apartment building fire

Three people died in a fire in a two-storey apartment building in the small town of Vendryně in Frýdek-Místek district in Silesia on Saturday night. Others were taken to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. The news website iDnes.cz reported that the building served as a cheap guesthouse.

Dentist ordered to pay compensation to Roma family over discrimination

A dentist has been ordered to apologise in writing to Roma family and pay them CZK 30,000 in compensation for refusing to treat them because of their skin colour, the news website Lidovky.cz reported on Sunday. Members of the family had set up an appointment with the Brno dentist by telephone but when they arrived at her surgery she refused to register them and denied having agreed to treat two of them, who had acute problems with their teeth. She had repeatedly denied discrimination before admitting to it in court, Lidovky.cz said.

Jágr becomes third top scorer in history of NHL

The Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr has become the third highest goal-scorer in the history of the NHL. Jágr, who is 44, found the net twice in Florida Panthers’ 3:1 win over Winnipeg Jets on Saturday to reach a total of 742 goals, passing out the previous third top scorer, Brett Hull. Only Wayne Gretzky (894) and Gordie Howe (801) have scored more NHL goals than the Czech; Jágr said he hoped to surpass them some day.

Sparta remain three points off top with win over Mladá Boleslav

Sparta Prague remain three points behind at the top of the Czech soccer league after a 2:0 win over Mladá Boleslav on Sunday. Sparta’s 20th win in 21 home games saw recent signing came after leaders Viktoria Plzen grabbed three points with a 1:0 win over Teplice. Sparta beat Krasnodar 1:0 in the first leg of a Europa League tie this week and travel to Russia for the second leg on Thursday.