Roads around the northern town of Liberec were blocked on Saturday morning as hundreds of tourists were leaving the Jizerske Mountains and new holidaymakers were arriving at the ski resorts. Local hotel managers say the past week was one of the busiest in the season as children from the Czech Republic as well as some neighbouring countries had come to spend their school break in the mountains.
A few dozen far-right activists staged a protest against drugs, a growing influence of communism and what they called "foreign crime" in the town of Bruntal in North Moravia on Saturday afternoon. Some twenty left-wing activists also arrived in the town but police managed to keep the two groups apart.
Border police in North Bohemia turned back a lorry carrying a load of communal waste from Germany in the early hours of Saturday. The driver claimed he had only crossed the border to buy diesel. The Czech Environment Inspection Authority estimates some 15,000 tonnes of rubbish have been imported from Germany in recent months and dumped illegally in the Czech Republic.
Health Minister David Rath has called on the pharmaceutical wholesaler Pharmos to submit evidence proving alleged corruption practices at the Health Ministry, otherwise the ministry will take legal action against it. Pharmos initially agreed to resume supplies of medicines to three indebted teaching hospitals after it had stopped deliveries along with three other distributors. The company has now finally decided to end supplies because of alleged corruption at the ministry.
Former Czech president Vaclav Havel opposes plans to send a giant neon heart which temporarily adorned Prague Castle to the Afghan capital Kabul, warning that it might cause religious offence, the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. The heart, by artist Jiri David, became a highly visible landmark in the Czech capital at the end of Mr Havel's last term in 2002. The former president's secretary, Jakub Hladik, told the paper that there were indications that the heart could be viewed as a religious symbol and cause conflict. The heart had been bought by the World Development Organisation which came up with the idea of displaying it in Kabul.
Around 5,000 doctors and other health professionals protested against the policies of Health Minister David Rath on Prague's Old Town Square on Friday. They called for the sacking of Mr Rath, saying changes he wants to introduce would harm patients and return the Czech health care system to pre-1989 standards. The doctors say they fear the privatisation of their practices; they chose this date for their protest because it is the eve of the anniversary of the 1948 Communist takeover known as "victorious February".
Meanwhile, fire fighters say they uncovered serious problems concerning blocked escape routes while carrying out inspections of snow on the roofs of public buildings. Over 1,700 buildings were checked and a full one third of those did not have adequate fire escape routes, said a spokesperson for the Czech fire officers association.
A senior figure in the Czech secret services allegedly urged a Prague court to issue a warrant for the arrest of a controversial businessman at the request of the prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported on Friday. The paper says it has a copy of a letter from Vladislav Novak to the court in which he says the prime minister requested that a warrant be issued for Tomas Pitr, who is facing a jail term for tax fraud. Both Mr Paroubek and the Interior Ministry have denied the allegation.
Fire fighters in south Moravia say they have received many calls from people worried dead birds in the region may be infected with bird flu. They say the matter is not their responsibility and have called on concerned citizens to get in touch with the State Veterinary Authority. No cases of bird flu have been detected in the Czech Republic, though the disease has been found in several neighbouring countries.