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Health Minister Emmerova presents ten-point plan

During a presentation of her ten-point health care plan on Monday, Health Minister Milada Emmerova said her top priority is to guarantee all citizens health care that is affordable, in their locality, and in time. The new concept was presented to doctors and journalists in the northern Moravian town of Decin. Mrs. Emmerova also rejected claims of some doctors that the health ministry plans to nationalise private surgeries. The health minister hopes to achieve these goals with the help of a nationwide network of hospitals and more effective financing. Doctors, however, are sceptical, saying the new concept is too general and will not help tackle the problem areas in the health sector.

Man who spent six months at Prague airport granted asylum in Germany

A Lebanese Palestinian, who spent several months in the transit area of Prague's Ruzyne airport, has been granted asylum in Germany. In August last year, Ibrahim Zijad came to Prague on a Czech Airlines flight from Istanbul without a passport or other identification. The Czech Republic rejected his application for asylum, forcing him to stay at the airport's transit area for over six months before he was transferred to a refugee centre. After he had to leave the centre following a court decision, he decided to try his luck in Germany and was successful.

MEP Grebenicek says state should offer employment plan tailored to the Roma community

Czech Communist Party MEP, Miroslav Grebenicek, said on Monday that the state needed to do more to help integrate the Roma into the rest of society. Following a visit to the Chanov district in the northern town of Most - one of the poorest in the region, housing mainly Romani people - Mr Grebenicek noted that 85% of the region's Romani men and women lost their jobs through the decline in the mining industry and the shut down of the Poldi steelworks. To help them get back on their feet, he said, the state ought to offer regional employment programmes especially for the Roma community. Its youth, should be given the best education possible and introduced to after-school activities, Mr Grebenicek said.

Swiss President in Prague

Swiss President Joseph Deiss is currently in the Czech Republic on a two-day official visit. Mr Deiss met with his Czech counterpart, Vaclav Klaus, as well as other senior politicians on Monday. Unlike the Czech Republic, famously neutral Switzerland is neither an EU member nor part of NATO. However, it plans to divide one million Swiss francs (over 650,000 euros) among the new EU member states to help balance out economic differences within the union. In the Czech Republic such financial support could be used to improve infrastructure, research, and the promotion of technology education.

Czech organisation to help fight drug addiction in Afghanistan

A Czech organisation that has been fighting drug addiction for the past thirteen years has been promised eight million Czech crowns (some 100,000 Euros) from the EU budget to reduce drug addiction in Afghanistan. In the next two years and in cooperation with local partner organisations, the Podane Ruce (Helping Hand) organisation hopes to make a significant change with its "Breaking the Cycle" project. An estimated 30% of Afghanistan's population is addicted to opium. Experts believe that 80% of the world's heroin is produced in Afghanistan. There is currently only one hospital with 60 beds in the capital city of Kabul that is available to treat the country's drug addicts.


Tuesday is expected to have overcast skies and day-time temperatures between 10 and 14 degrees Celsius.