The government has approved measures aimed at boosting the country's record-low birth rate by allowing maternity leave for up to eight years after a child's birth and boosting fathers' roles, the Labour Ministry has announced. Under the new plan, mothers would be able to take their three-year maternity leave not only during the first 36 months of their child's life, as now, but at any time until the child is eight years old. The national family concept agreed by the government late on Wednesday also entitles fathers to receive financial support if they decide to care for the child at home or take time off work if their child is ill.
Representatives of a Polish prosecutor's office have met their Czech colleagues in Prague to discuss cooperation in the investigation into alleged corruption in the privatisation of the Czech petrochemical company Unipetrol, the Prague City State Attorney's Office said. According to unofficial information, the Polish prosecutors will also want to interrogate leading Czech politicians, including Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and ex-prime minister Stanislav Gross, both from the ruling Social Democrats.
The construction of a new post office building at the peak of the Czech Republic's highest mountain Snezka should be finished by August next year. The new post office will be built on the foundations of the Ceska bouda chalet that was recently demolished. The wood and glass construction will also have a lookout terrace and sell refreshments to tourists.
The Czech Republic has banned all imports of live poultry, birds and related commodities from Romania where tests have confirmed the bird flu virus in farm poultry. The Czech State Veterinary Office says it is stepping up preventative measures. The Health Ministry has held talks with pharmaceutical companies about the supply of some 2 million vaccines against bird flu, which will be developed once a human-to-human transmittable virus emerges.
The European Parliament has decided to strip Czech MEP Vladimir Zelezny, the former director of the Czech commercial television station Nova, of immunity. The Czech judiciary has asked for Mr Zelezny's parliamentary immunity to be removed as he is under investigation for tax evasion and damaging a creditor.
Police has once again shelved the case of the flooding of Prague metro in August 2002. No one will be prosecuted for the 7-billion-crown damage caused by the flood even though investigation revealed construction faults in several stations. The investigators were unable to determine who was responsible for the construction of the stations back in the 1970s.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament has approved the state budget for 2006 with a deficit of 74.4 billion crowns (an estimated 3.1 billion US dollars). The budget deficit should not exceed 4.6 percent of the GDP if the Czech Republic is to meet conditions under the EU convergence programme paving the way for the country to adopt the euro. The lower house will decide at the end of the year how the 2006 state budget is to be divided among individual ministries.
The Czech Republic has dispatched a special aid plane to Islamabad to
help treat the victims of earthquake hit Pakistan. The plane was not
loaded with humanitarian aid, as originally planned, but carried all
materials necessary to fully equip a field hospital, including 30 beds.
A team of 14 civilian and military medical workers and nine fire
fighters are also on board the plane.
The Czech government has earmarked 25 million crowns (a little over one million US dollars) for aid to northern Pakistan.
The European Parliament will discuss on Thursday whether to strip Czech MEP Vladimir Zelezny, the former director of the Czech commercial television station Nova, of immunity. The Czech judiciary has asked for Mr Zelezny's parliamentary immunity to be removed a he is under investigation for tax evasion and damaging a creditor. Earlier this month, the European Parliament's legal committee recommended Mr Zelezny be put at the disposal of the Czech authorities.
Health Minister Milada Emmerova has been dismissed from office, after
failing to deal with cash flow problems in the health sector. The health
crisis reached a head when six of minister Emmerova's deputies offered to
resign on Tuesday. Private physicians staged a one day strike last week.
To help stabilise the situation, the government earmarked 3.8 billion
crowns in emergency aid.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek says there are two main candidates for the post. He has refused to reveal their names but expects to find Mrs Emmerova's replacement within a week. His deputy, Zdenek Skromach, will be leading the ministry until a new health minister is appointed, the presidential office announced on Wednesday.
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