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Top court blocks construction of new runway at Prague airport

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Wednesday to cancel parts of Prague’s urban development plan that included a project to build a new runway at the city’s Ruzyně international airport. The court said the plan was too vague, and lacked an assessment of the runway’s impact on the environment. A spokeswoman for the airport said the court’s decision did not automatically mean the project would have to be scrapped. The ruling was welcomed by local municipalities along with the Czech Agriculture University whose campus would also be affected by the new runway.

MPs clear ex-chief of military intelligence for questioning on army deals

Czech MPs cleared on Wednesday the former head of military intelligence, Miroslav Krejčík, for questioning by the lower house’s Defence and Security Committee on arms purchases for the Czech military. Mr Krejčík is expected to reveal details about the purchases of Tatra trucks, armoured vehicles Pandur and the lease of Gripen fighters, all of which have been criticized for lack of transparency. Committee chair František Bublan, of the opposition Social Democrats, said the hearing would be scheduled for late February or early March.

Lower house supports bill allowing foreigners to buy farm land

The lower house of Parliament on Thursday voted in favour of a bill that would allow foreigners to buy farm land in the Czech Republic. The bill will now be reviewed by the house’s committees before MPs take a final vote on it. The Czech Republic negotiated a ban on the sale of land to foreign nationals ahead of the country’s EU entry in 2004. The exemption will expire in May 2011. The bill was criticized by the Czech Agrarian Chamber which said it was another manifestation of the country’s defensive agriculture policy. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek noted however that thousands of hectares of farm land are already owned by foreigners who can bypass the law by founding a company in the Czech Republic.

Press: Czech diplomat Hybášková eyed for post of EU’s ambassador in Baghdad

Czech diplomat Jana Hybášková is being eyed for the post of EU ambassador to Iraq, the Czech news website respekt.cz reported on Wednesday. Without revealing its source, the website said Ms Hybášková is to be approved for the posting by the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Catherine Ashton, next week.

Jana Hybášková, 55, was the Czech ambassador to Kuwait and Qatar before becoming an MEP in 2004. During her term in Brussels, she headed the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Israel.

Nurses to play bigger role in Czech health care

Nurses should play a bigger role in the Czech health care, Health Minister Leoš Heger said after a meeting with the nurses’ association on Wednesday. Mr Heger said that legislation should be amended to allow nurses take over a significant part of procedures of general practitioners who would have more time to diagnose and treat their patients. The lower house of the Czech Parliament passed on Wednesday that allows nurses, midwives and other health care workers to perform certain procedures before getting specialized qualification.

Hospital boss in hot water for remarks on VIP patients, corruption

The director of Prague’s Motol hospital, Miloslav Ludvík, came into the spotlight on Wednesday after footage with his remarks on corruption and VIP patients was placed on the internet. Mr Ludvík is recorded as explaining to his employees how corruption works in the hospital, and appeals to doctors to preferentially treat VIP patients. The director later told reporters that VIP patients were important for the hospital’s public relations.

One dead, nine injured in south Bohemian train crash

A 69-year-old woman died and another nine people were injured when a passenger train collided with a service train at the railway station in Vodňany, southern Bohemia, on Wednesday morning. A police spokeswoman said 12 people were taken to hospital. According to a spokesman for Czech Railways, the accident was most likely caused by the driver of the passenger train that left the station ahead of schedule. Authorities estimated the damage at over five million crowns.

New York-based playwright Jiří Kárnet dies aged 91

The Czech playwright, theatre critic and translator Jiří Kárnet died in New York on Wednesday, aged 91. Mr Kárnet, who settled in the US in the early 1950s, and worked for the Czechoslovak sections of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. He cooperated with Jiří Voskovec, Egon Hostovský, Pavel Tigrid and other distinguished Czech authors in exile. One of his plays also appeared in English, entitled A Time for Madness.

Hockey: Jágr and Červenka ensure Omsk’s 14th consecutive win

Jaromír Jágr and Roman Červenka, Czech forwards with the KHL side Avantgard Omsk, both hit the net in Wednesday’s game Khabarovsk, ensuring a 3:2 win for Omsk, the club’s 14th consecutive victory. Červenka scored both the first and the winning goal, and was both times assisted by Jágr who put in the second goal. Červenka is the league’s top scorer with 31 goals.

Football: Bednář leaves West Bromwich

Czech striker Román Bednář left West Bromwich Albion to join the Turkish side Ankaragucu on loan until the end of the season. The 27-year-old reportedly refused an offer to join another English club, Bristol, and opted for the Ankara-based club where he will join Czechs Rajnoch and Černý. Bednář spent the last two months on loan to Leicester City.


The current spell of gloomy weather will continue into the weekend, with overcast skies, snow in places, and daytime highs ranging between 1 and 5 degrees Celsius.