The Czech President Vaclav Klaus and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko have discussed an agreement on temporary work permits that would make it easier for thousands of Ukrainians to work in the Czech Republic. The foreign ministries are expected to present a treaty proposal in the near future. Around 200, 000 Ukrainians would be affected by the agreement, including workers currently employed illegally in the Czech Republic. The vast majority of them are working in the construction industry.
The Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he will not give in to pressure to sack the health minister Milada Emmerova even if the government rejects her long-term concept for the health sector. Mr. Paroubek said that the concept was sound and that the health minister could not be blamed for the sector's present problems, primarily its indebtedness. At the beginning of the week hospitals, employee representatives, and employers in the health care sector, rejected her reform concept, which includes a debt bail-out of the Czech Republic's largest health insurance company. Mrs. Emmerova has so far ignored calls for her to resign.
A Prague court has sent a foreign national to 12 years in jail for robbing and raping a number of women. Thirty year old Marius Dragan was found guilty of several counts of rape, assault and theft in the months between March and June of last year. His victims were so badly beaten they had to be hospitalized and women living in Prague's Jizny Mesto, lived in fear of being attacked. The police only managed to capture Dragan when they used a police woman as a decoy.
The Temelin nuclear power plant should be back in operation by the end of the week, according to CEZ spokesman Milan Nebesar. The first reactor was disconnected from the grid on Monday due to a problem in the generator's cooling system. According to CEZ, the power utility operating the plant, the defect is in the non-nuclear part of the plant, and does not pose a safety hazard. The plant's second reactor has been shut down since early April for a regular check up that lasts three months.
The chairman of the Social Democratic Party Stanislav Gross has said he would like Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek to be the party's election leader in next year's general elections. Mr. Gross, who was re-elected party chairman shortly before he was forced to resign as prime minister, has gradually been taking second place to Jiri Paroubek, whose popularity is on the rise. Mr. Gross said on Wednesday that it would benefit the party if Jiri Paroubek headed the election campaign and became the party's candidate for the post of prime minister in the 2006 elections. Mr. Paroubek has made no secret of his ambition to do so.
The legendary British singer Rod Stewart has cancelled just days before he was due to perform in Prague for the very first time. One of the organisers on Tuesday revealed Mr Stewart changed his itinerary without giving a reason. Interest in the singer's music in Prague was said to be high, after organisers moved the planned concert to a larger venue. Fans will be given refunds for their tickets bought.
Health Minister Milada Emmerova, of the ruling Social Democrats, has expressed confidence that the government will back her proposal for health care reform on Wednesday. At the same time, she has made clear that even if the plan - which covers the period between 2005 to 2009 - is rejected she has no intention of stepping down. At the beginning of the week hospitals, employee representatives, and employers in the health care sector, rejected her reform concept, which includes a debt bail-out of the Czech Republic's largest health insurance company.
The mayor of Prague 4, Zdenek Hovorka, has after weeks of delay offered an explanation on how he financed the purchase of a flat costing 8.4 million crowns, the equivalent of 350, 000 US dollars. Mr Hovorka has said he paid for the flat with funds that came from the sale of valuable paintings given to him by his father. Questions over the mayor's apartment first surfaced in April, but he had refused to offer any information till now. Politicians' personal finances have come under media scrutiny in recent months following a scandal earlier in the year that forced former prime minister Stanislav Gross to step down.
A 17-month-old baby survived a three-story fall from an apartment window on Tuesday, apparently without injury. The accident took place early in the morning, with the little girl was taken to hospital for observation. Police are investing the cause of the accident including the possibility of negligence on the side of the parents.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus, on an official visit to Kiev has backed Ukraine's efforts at integration with the European Union and NATO. Meeting with his counterpart Viktor Yushchenko on Tuesday Mr Klaus said he hoped the process would not take too long. The Czech president also stated that the Czech Republic was ready to help Ukraine on its path. Ukraine's president, meanwhile, said his country aimed for EU admission as soon as possible. But, he stressed the matter depended first on whether the Ukrainian government and Parliament would be able to push through necessary reforms.