Police say the prolonged weekend, when many people took Monday off ahead of Tuesday's state holiday, brought an increase in the number of traffic accidents on Czech roads, with 17 people killed. On May 1 alone, six people died in road accidents around the country, according to preliminary police statistics.
Police say they have filed charges against four supporters of the far-right Narodni odpor movement who were detained on Tuesday during clashes with the police in the Moravian city of Brno. They are suspected of attacking a public official and face up to five years in jail if found guilty. Seven police officers and two journalists were injured during Tuesday's violent clashes in Brno.
Former Liverpool winger Patrik Berger is to be rewarded for the recent upturn in his form by being offered a new contract at Aston Villa, the club confirmed on Wednesday. Czech international Berger, 33, was loaned out to Stoke in November following a breach of club discipline and appeared to be living on borrowed time at Villa Park. But he has recently returned to the first team and done enough to convince manager Martin O'Neill that he is worth holding on to. Berger joined Villa in July 2005 on a free transfer from Portsmouth.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment to the law on public health under which doctors from EU countries, who temporarily work in the Czech Republic, will not have to pay membership fees to professional chambers - a fact previously criticised by the European Court of Justice which ruled in January the Czech Republic had failed to harmonise its legislation with EU law in this respect. The amendment also enables patients to see their medical records and make copies of them. Patients' relatives will have access to their medical records after their death, including information on the cause of death and the autopsy results, unless the patient explicitly forbids it. So far doctors were obliged to inform patients on their health condition, but they did not have to show their medical records to them.
The lower house has approved the establishment of a national memory institute which would study the country's communist past and the period of the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. Its main task would be to collect, analyse and publish documents from those times including materials concerning the activities of communist secret services. Left-wing parties were against the bill: the Social Democrats expressed their protest by not taking part in the vote. The bill has yet to be approved by the Senate, which had proposed it, and signed by the President.
Former Social Democrat Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has told the tabloid daily Sip that he supports the stationing of a US radar base in the Czech Republic. The Social Democrat Party as a whole is against the base. The party is calling for a referendum on the issue and wants the base to be part of NATO's defence system. Deputy chairman of the Social Democrats, Zdenek Skromach, has said he is not surprised by Mr Gross's view. He said some party members were in favour of the radar base but the majority were against it.
Two Czech bodyguards suffered injuries in an attack against a Czech diplomat in Afghanistan on Tuesday. Rebels opened fire at a car carrying the head of the Czech diplomatic mission in Kabul Filip Velach. He escaped unharmed but three of the rebels were killed and two Czech bodyguards injured in the crossfire. The Czech embassy in Kabul re-opened in mid-April. Some 180 Czech soldiers are currently operating in Afghanistan and a Czech field hospital opened there last month.
Former world 800m champion Ludmila Formanova has announced her retirement. The 33-year old athlete said on Wednesday the reasons were her state of health and her son Petr to whom she wanted to devote more time. Formanova was crowned world champion of the two-lap event in Seville, Spain in 1999 and also won the world indoor championships in Maebashi, Japan in the same year. A foot injury saw her pull out of her heat in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, and she has not competed at top international level since 2002. Formanova took a year out from competitive sport in 2005 to have a baby but returned a year later only to be plagued by a muscle injury from February that year.
The Czech branch of the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International says its recent study shows around 20 billion crowns (almost one billion USD) is wasted every year in the Czech healthcare system. If used efficiently, this money could improve the quality of care patients receive, they say. Combined with losses in the health insurance system, the estimated figure would rise to 27.6 billion. According to Transparency International, the losses are mainly caused by a high sickness rate and the way in which public contracts are awarded.
The Czech Republic beat the United States 4:3 on Tuesday, taking top spot in Group B at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Moscow. After going up 3:1 in the final period, the Czechs looked headed for a more comfortable win until the Americans struck two late goals to level the score at 3:3. "We should have defended the 3:1 lead. That didn't happen but I'm happy we scored the deciding goal," Czech coach Alois Hadamczik told reporters. "We saw a very good hockey game tonight."