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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday is expected to be overcast with scattered showers and day temperatures between 17 and 21 degrees Celsius.
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