Petr Hostek has been appointed head of the National Security Office. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, who nominated him for the post, described him as a dedicated professional with an excellent reputation. Parliament's defence and security committee approved Hostek's nomination earlier this week. Hostek, 42, graduated from the military academy at Vyskov, was a professional soldier for several years and is now deputy director of the central Bohemian police force. He replaces Jan Mares who resigned as head of the National Security Office when it emerged that he had links with highly suspect individuals. The office itself has been harmed by a number of corruption scandals in recent months.
Waste disposal crews have started clearing out the remains of several dumps of illegal German waste from the town of Libceves. The Bavarian authorities recently acknowledged responsibility for some of the imported waste and have been conferring with the Czech side on how to deal with the matter. Some of the waste dumps were set on fire when the police started investigating and the locals have put pressure on the Czech authorities for them to be removed as soon as possible. Since the beginning of the year over 20 thousand tons of waste has been illegally imported to Czech border areas from neighbouring Germany.
Doctors, pharmacists, and some employees of smaller hospitals are planning to hold a week of protests in late May (20th - 26th), ahead of the general elections in June. The aim of what they call the Week of Doctors' Unrest is to prevent the current Social Democrat-led government from pushing through new legislation on non-profit hospitals. On Wednesday, a committee of 50 representatives of the protesting health care workers presented Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and both houses of Parliament with a petition signed by over 230,000 people against health reforms, which they say are crippling the health sector.
A bill that bans assisted reproduction or sperm donation after the age of forty will not apply to married couples and partners in serious relationships. Upon the Senate's request, the bill that was passed by the lower house of Parliament earlier this year was amended on Wednesday to apply only to anonymous donors. It has yet to be signed by the President to come into effect.
The family of a woman, who died at a Prague psychiatric hospital, have lodged a criminal complaint against hospital management, the Aktualne.cz internet news server has reported. The thirty-year old patient, who was being held in a netted bed, suffocated after she attempted to eat her own excrements. The case is also being investigated by the health ministry and the Czech ombudsman.
European diplomats and representatives of NGOs discussed the future of Cuba at a meeting in Prague's Cernin Palace on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who has just returned from a trip to Canada, also attended the meeting on Cuba and expressed concern over mounting attacks on dissidents and their families on the island. Mr Svoboda said an international effort ought to be made to help free all political prisoners of the Castro regime and called for the EU to voice a united position on growing numbers of human rights violations in Cuba.
Former British Prime Minister, John Major, visited Prague on Tuesday.
The former leader of the Conservative Party came to the Czech capital
to support the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats ahead of the
general elections in June and take part in the Forum Populini 2006
conference. Following talks with Civic Democrat leader Mirek Topolanek,
Mr Major said the party was well prepared and set for a good election
The British Labour Party's Tony Blair visited Prague in March to take part in a meeting of socialist leaders and express support for the Social Democrats' election campaign.
Communist Member of Parliament, Jiri Dolejs, is recovering after a violent assault. After a lower house meeting on Tuesday evening, Mr Dolejs was pulled to the ground at a Prague metro station and kicked for several minutes. Mr Dolejs says the attack was politically motivated. The assailants have not been caught. The incident is being investigated by the police.
A German court has ruled that a Czech fugitive prisoner will be extradited to the Czech Republic if he gets a retrial. Rostislav Roztocil, who was found guilty of murdering an Egyptian student in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s, escaped from the Pilsen prison in West Bohemia last November. He turned himself in to the police in Germany a few weeks later but maintains his innocence.