The number of pickpocketings in the country's second biggest city Brno is rising dramatically. Police have recorded 2,100 cases since January, 400 cases more than last year. The thefts this year have so far amounted to 11 million crowns (a little under half a million US dollars). Most of them take place in department stores, in the vicinity of the train station, and on trams.
The Civic Democrats have presented their proposed policy programme to the three parties involved in government talks - the Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Greens. Entitled "seven bold reforms for the future", the programme focuses on the following areas: the public budget and taxes, the pension and social systems, the health sector, the business environment and labour market, the limitations of regulations, reform in the police sector and the fight against corruption, and the Czech presidency in the EU and European funds.
The Interior Ministry plans to increase the number of police officers responsible for the country's national security when the Czech Republic joins the Schengen Zone. Some six hundred officers from the border and foreign police will be transferred to internal security forces, says Interior Minister Ivan Langer. Border-free travel to and from all of the Czech Republic's neighbours is to be introduced by March 2008.
The Slovak government has decided to sign a bilateral agreement with the Czech Republic that allows Bratislava to store emergency supplies of crude oil and petroleum products on Czech territory. EU countries have until 2008 to find a way to store enough crude oil to guarantee an emergency supply for 90 days. With insufficient storage space, Slovakia has agreed to pay the Czech Republic to store its crude oil.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has met President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle and says he will present Mr Klaus with a list of new government ministers by the end of next week. Following the announcement, Green Party leader Martin Bursik expressed disappointment in the Civic Democrats' failure to include his party in behind-the-scenes talks on the make-up of the next cabinet. Discussions have already been held with the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats.
Czech Police chief Vladislav Husak has ordered an investigation into steps taken by the east Bohemian police to uncover a series of mysterious hospital deaths. Media reports say that the police were too slow to react to the hospital's criminal complaint. The complaint was filed on October 23 but the suspect was not detained until December 1. The 30-year old nurse has since confessed to the crime, saying he injected 17 patients with excessive doses of a blood-thinning drug to see if doctors were able to detect the problem. Up to nine of the patients are believed to have died as a result.
Police say they have arrested six people believed to have organised the transport of illegal migrants to Italy. Four more members of the same international gang of people smugglers have been detained in Austria and Germany. The suspects are from Moldova, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic and are believed to have organised transports for at least 150 migrants within the last eighteen months.
A Czech serial killer who has confessed to murdering seven patients in a Czech hospital says he wanted to test doctors' skills. The thirty year old male nurse, who injected 17 patients with excessive doses of a blood-thinning drug over a period of six months has told the police he wanted to see if doctors were able to detect the problem. The head physician in the hospital where the killings occurred called an investigation when it recorded a higher than usual death-rate as a result of unexplained internal hemorrhaging. The hospital's director Josef Pejchl was dismissed on Tuesday.
The Czech Republic's public budget deficit will be equal to 4.1 percent of GDP next year, the European Commission says in a report assessing the progress of individual countries on their path to the euro single currency. To be able to join the euro, the country's public budget deficit must be reduced to below 3 percent of GDP.
The great granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked World War I, has launched a legal claim for the return of her family's possessions in what is now the Czech Republic, the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reported on Tuesday. Princess Sophie of Hohenberg wants Konopiste Castle, one of her great grandfather's favourite estates, returned and has lodged an action through her lawyer at the local Benesov court. Konopiste Castle, located around 30 kilometers from Prague, includes 6,000 hectares of land and its own brewery. The castle is now in state hands.