Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he is considering two candidates for the post of health minister: the president of the Czech Doctor's Association, David Rath, and deputy health minister David Koskuba. Speaking on a Sunday TV discussion programme the prime minister said he had asked both men to put forward plans for the financial stabilisation of the health sector, including the deficit of the country's largest health insurer, VZP. The prime minister indicated a final decision would be taken next week.
A new poll released by the STEM agency has suggested that only minority of Czechs share Christian Democrat leader Miloslav Kalousek's view that the Communist Party is a "criminal" organisation. Of more than 600 questioned, 46 percent agreed. The poll found that younger members of the population with higher educations remain sceptical of Communist Party intentions, while many older citizens believe the party will become more acceptable for voters under the party's new chairman Vojtech Filip.
The chairman of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats' deputy group,
Vlastimil Tlusty, has revealed that he and several other members of his
party have filed a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek
and two members of the cabinet, as well as a former aide, in connection
with the privatisation of the Czech oil concern Unipetrol. According to
the MPs the prime minister played a role in the privatisation at a time
when he was still at City Hall. The prime minister has dismissed the move
Last year the Polish PKN Orlen bought 63 percent shares in the Czech oil giant - a deal which has since been dogged by allegations of corruption. On Friday Polish prosecutors investigating the purchase asked for permission to question over a dozen individuals in the Czech Republic including former prime minister Stanislav Gross. The new management of PKN Orlen has also said it has uncovered new evidence of secret payoffs to Czech politicians.
The Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has said that the Czech
Republic will ask international organisations like the OECD - the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - to put
pressure on the Seychelles in connection with the case of fugitive
businessman Radovan Krejcir. Earlier this year the Czech-born Krejcir
escaped to the Seychelles after facing charges of fraud and conspiracy
to murder in the Czech Republic. Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday the
foreign minister said he would push for the Seychelles being
"blacklisted" by organisations like the OECD; earlier the Seychelles
stated Mr Krejcir would not face extradition, having obtained
Seychelles citizenship in 1996.
The foreign minister suggested an unfavourable listing of the country by the OECD would be a warning for investors, theoretically pressuring the Seychelles to re-evaluate Mr Krejcir's case.
Following warnings by the European Union on the possibility of a bird-flu
pandemic, common flu vaccines in the Czech Republic have sold out.
Pharmacies throughout the country sold out their vaccines in a single day,
with pharmaceutical companies promising new batches in the coming week.
However, officials have warned vaccines are only effective against the
common flu - not the deadly bird virus. The government, meanwhile, has
ordered an additional 600,000 does of Tamiflu vaccine - said to be
effective against bird flu - at a cost of 600 million crowns.
The purchase is part of the country's emergency plan, following the European Commission's confirmation that the deadly strain of bird flu, known as H5N1, had been identified in cases in both Turkey and Romania.
A twenty-year-old driver has been taken into custody for a hit-and-run that killed two teenage girls in the early hours of Saturday morning, as they waited outside a discothèque in the north-east Moravian city of Ostrava. Three others were injured, one remains in critical condition. The driver drove away from the scene. The two girls who died were aged 15 and 18. During Saturday police apprehended the hit-and-run suspect at his home; they are investigating reasons behind the accident, including whether the man had been driving drunk.
Following backing received in a confidence vote by the Czech Doctor's Association on Friday there is good chance the association's President David Rath will be named the country's next health minister. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said as much on Saturday, describing Mr Rath's chances as "excellent". The outgoing minister, Milada Emmerova, was sacked earlier in the week over continuing problems in health sector finances. Mr Rath, her possible successor, is 39, and is unaffiliated with any political party. He has said if chosen for the post he will respect Social Democrat policies.
National football side manager Vlastimil Kostal and team coach Karel
Bruckner have welcomed a decision by former team captain Pavel Nedved
to return for two matches against Norway in the final play-off
preceding the World Cup. Nedved, who retired last year but plays for
Italy's Juventus Turin, announced the desire to help his country
through the final qualification games. The star midfielder has made no
decision on whether to return for the actual World Cup next year,
should the Czech Republic win.
The Czechs, currently ranked 4th in the world by FIFA, have been fairly successful in European Championships but last played in the World Cup in 1990.
The Czech football team will play Norway for a place in next year's World Cup finals in Germany. The first of two play-off games takes place in Oslo on November 12th, with the second in Prague or Teplice four days later. Czech coach Karel Bruckner said after Friday's draw that he was not familiar with the Norwegian team, but said the fact the second leg was at home would be an advantage for his players. The Czechs last reached the World Cup in 1990.
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