The Czech government has approved the draft European Constitution and decided that Prime Minister Stanislav Gross and Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda will sign the document at this Friday's ceremony in Rome. President Vaclav Klaus, who has been very critical of the document, refused to sign it. The ratification process of the document has not been decided as of yet, but it is expected that a referendum on the draft will be held.
News that the government may sell phone operator Cesky Telecom via the capital market sent the stock and Prague indices tumbling on Wednesday, the bourse said. The PSE's main index PX 50 shed 1.47 percent and the blue-chip index PX-D lost 1.42 percent. Telecom shares finally fell 5.23 percent to 315 crowns. Brokers have said a sale of the government's 51 percent share on stock exchanges would mean a considerable increase in supply on the market, the Czech news agency reported, and this made investors offload the stock.
Czech psychiatrist Jan Pfeiffer was among 29 people to receive Time magazine's European 'Hero of the Year' award in London on Tuesday night for his work to reform the Czech mental heath care system. Dr Pfeiffer, a prominent defender of patients' rights, helped lead a campaign to abolish the use of caged and netted beds in Czech institutions.
Vets suspect they have uncovered a fifteenth case of BSE in the Czech Republic. The suspected case is from a farm in the Svitava region in the eastern part of the country. The results of a third test should be available on Wednesday. The first case of BSE in the Czech Republic was uncovered in June of 2001 when the State Veterinary Office imposed strict food safety measures in connection with BSE. If Wednesday's results are positive some 50 heads of cattle will have to be put down at the farm.
A 14-year-old boy has admitted to stabbing to death his classmate aged 13,
outside a school in the north Moravian village of Hanusovice. It is not
clear what motivated his actions, but there is speculation that bullying
may have been behind the attack. Jan Petrek bled to death minutes after
being stabbed in the chest and throat during a fight near his school on
Monday morning. Czechs have been alarmed by a growing number of violent
crimes committed by minors in recent months.
In January a 13 year old schoolgirl was raped and stabbed to death by a classmate and recently five boys under the age of fifteen stabbed a woman in her 80s to death with a pair of scissors, stealing her money. Justice Minister Pavel Nemec has said he will speed up moves in Parliament to lower the age of criminal responsibility, now set at fifteen.
Czech senator Jaroslava Moserova has been awarded the French Order of Merit by President Jacques Chirac. A doctor who specialised in burns, she was the first to treat Jan Palach after he burnt himself to death in 1969 in protest of the Soviet invasion of his homeland. Jaroslava Moserova entered politics after the Velvet Revolution, later serving as ambassador to Australia and New Zealand. She stood unsuccessfully for president last year.
The former owner of Sparta Prague football club, Petr Mach, has been found not guilty of large scale fraud by a court in Prague. Mr Mach had been accused of not repaying a bank loan of 160 million crowns (over five million euros). He was released from prison last year after serving a two-year term for not paying import tax on a luxury car.
A study into the costs of Prague hosting the Olympic Games in either 2016 or 2020 should be completed by the end of the year, the city's mayor, Pavel Bem, said on Monday. Mr Bem said while holding the Games in the Czech capital would cost over 100 billion crowns, they would still be cheaper than other recent Olympics.
Mr Klaus has sent a letter to the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, saying he is disquieted by reports about the country's recent referendum, which allows the president to serve more than the previous limit of two terms. The Czech president said there was evidence of irregular voting in the poll.
The production of cars and small vans in the Czech Republic should increase by two-thirds by 2011, according to a study by analysts PricewaterhouseCoopers released on Monday. Skoda is currently the country's leading carmaker, but a new plant producing Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot vehicles is due to go into operation in the central Bohemian town of Kolin next year.