More ministers will be replaced in the centre-right Czech government, Prime Minister Petr Nečas told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Saturday. Mr Nečas said the shakeup could involve ministers from any coalition party, including TOP 09. Five cabinet members for the TOP 09 party survived this week’s government reshuffle that saw Public Affairs chair Radek John leave the Interior Ministry to be replaced by non-partisan Jan Kubice, while Vít Bárta, of Public Affairs, stepped down as transport minister and was replaced by Radek Šmerda. Mr Nečas specifically mentioned Health Minister Leoš Heger, of TOP 09, and said he was not happy with the advance of the health care reform. The planned shakeup might also involve Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra of the senior coalition Civic Democrats and Education Minister Josef Dobeš, of Public Affairs.
Hundreds of Czech Catholic pilgrims are planning to attend the beatification of John Paul II in Rome on May 1, the pilgrimage’s organizers from the Hradec Králové diocese said. Most of the pilgrims will travel on a special train dispatched by the Czech Railways for the occasion. The ceremony will also be attended by Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, the archbishop of Olomouc, Jan Graubner, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, and other Czech Catholic dignitaries. Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world are expected to arrive in Rome for the beatification of John Paul II who died in 2005.
A spell of sunny weather broke several temperature records around the country on Saturday. A weather station in Příbram, central Bohemia, registered the temperature of 23.1 degrees Celsius, which topped the previous record from 1885. Meteorologists issued a warning against an increased risk of fires on Saturday for the whole of the Czech Republic. Fire fighters also asked for extreme caution when starting outdoor fires as record numbers of fires are registered each April; over the last fire years, fires caused damages worth nearly one billion crowns.
Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital requires patients, including children, to swim in the nude in its rehabilitation pool, Czech TV reported on Friday. The report said that preschool girls were often in the pool at the same time as adult men, as were young boys and adult women. Several patients complained about the rule, Czech TV said. A hospital spokesman defended the measure saying patients’ swimwear could bring bacteria into the pool. The spokesman said this was confirmed by tests conducted by the hospital’s hygienists. However, a leading Czech sexologist, Petr Weiss, said that in more conservative countries, the practice could be labeled as sexual abuse of children. In contrast, other Prague hospitals reportedly require patients to wear swimsuits in their rehabilitation pools.
Prague zoo started selling elephant dung as fertilizer to members of the public on Saturday. Most of the several dozen plastic buckets with the droppings sold within an hour, the news agency ČTK reported. As part of the launch, the zoo’s director, Miroslav Bobek, signed the containers for people as souvenirs. The zoo sells 1.5 kilo of elephant dung for 70 crowns, or 4.2 dollars; each of the zoo’s three elephants produces between 140 and 180 kilos of dung a day. One customer, who bought three buckets, told the ČTK agency he would use two to fertilize his exotic plants, and give the third to his mother for her roses. The zoo will be sold n on weekends only.
Eight people died in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic on Friday and Saturday despite a police road-safety operation. Traffic police said they would conduct an increased number of checks over the Easter weekend, focusing on speeding and drink driving, the most common cause of accidents in the Czech Republic. Last year, 6 people died in road crashes on Easter, and 16 were killed the previous year.
The Czech Republic’s national hockey team beat Russia 6:3 in Brno on Saturday, in a preparatory game ahead of the world championships. The 39-year-old Czech star forward Jaromír Jagr scored one goal and three assists in the game, to the delight of the cheering crowds in Brno’s sold-out Rondo arena. The Czechs showed one of the season’s performances, with a great showing by goalie Ondřej Pavelec. The Czech Republic will play Sweden on Sunday before heading to the world championships in Slovakia that kick off on Friday.
Sunny and dry weather is expected to continue until early next week when rain showers and occasional storms will occur. Highest day temperatures will range between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.