The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party held its annual party congress this Saturday at which it strongly criticised the coalition government. Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla and his deputies were the main targets, being held responsible for the coalition's "anti-reform, anti-Europe, and pro-corruption" stance. In his address, Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek said the recent unsuccessful attempt to remove the government through a no-confidence vote only confirmed his view that the coalition party MPs were greedy and incompetent politicians whose goal was to impoverish the ordinary Czech citizen, while profiting in the process.
Eight Iraqi children were flown back home on Saturday after undergoing heart operations in the Czech Republic. The children aged between one and ten years were treated in Prague as part of a humanitarian programme under which seriously ill Iraqi citizens are offered free medical care in the Czech Republic. Doctors say the operations were successful and the four girls and four boys now have the chance to lead long and healthy lives back home. Two new young patients are expected to arrive in Prague on Sunday.
The Czech Republic is in dire need of more addiction treatment programmes that use substitution drugs. At a three-day conference called AIDS, Drugs, and Us that came to an end on Saturday, over one hundred experts in the field agreed that the country needed more than the nine centers that are currently providing methadone treatment. The conference full of seminars and lectures also covered the topics of drug prevention, the AIDS situation in the country, and new forms of treatment. National Health Institute statistics show that there are 663 HIV positive people in the Czech Republic, of which 168 are already at the AIDS stage. Participants therefore discussed the possibility of launching a nation-wide campaign that would inform children in schools about the importance of safe sex and other issues involved with the deadly disease.
Dentists from all over the country flocked to the town of Karlovy Vary on Saturday to discuss the current state of the health sector. While the Czech government has promised 3.4 billion Czech crowns to hospitals and 3 billion crowns to health insurance companies, doctors who are not attached to hospitals, which also include dentists, and pharmacists say their problems are not being considered. In order to attract state attention, they plan to shut down their clinics and pharmacies for one hour on January 6.
Sunday is expected to have early morning fog with overcast skies and temperatures ranging from five to nine degrees Celsius.
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