Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has revealed the name of the person who guaranteed a six million crown loan for his wife's company. Speaking on a political talk-show on Czech Television, Mr. Gross admitted that the loan had been guaranteed by a friend of the family, Libuse Barkova, who has since been charged with insurance fraud. The Prime Minister said that Mrs. Barkova was not being prosecuted at the time when she helped his wife to acquire the loan.
The Prime Minister, who has been under growing pressure to resign in the wake of a scandal over his private finances, said he had no intention of doing so. He reiterated that he would undergo security screening to clear his name and that an inspection team would look into his wife's company finances.
Twenty six people were injured in a pile up on the Prague-Brno highway on Saturday, two of them seriously. Rain and fog caused a pile up of 40 vehicles bringing traffic to a standstill for over ten hours. The accident happened when a car collided with a coach, creating a domino effect along a 4 kilometre stretch of the road. Eleven lorries, a tanker four coaches and an ambulance were involved in the pile up. Ten ambulances were called to the scene of the accident. Preliminary damage estimates are at around 5 million crowns.
The Czech Republic is ready to send more police instructors to Iraq, at the request of the Iraqi government. Defence minister Karel Kuhnl said another three to five military instructors could be added to the 100 member contingent of Czech military police now operating at the Shaiba military base in the south of the country. Parliament would not need to approve the reinforcement of the Czech mission since the total number of soldiers would not exceed the limit approved by Parliament in January.
The Czech ice hockey team has scored another victory at the Swedish games in Stockholm. On Saturday the Czech Republic beat Russia 4:3, opening the way for a silver or gold medal at the tournament. The Swedish Games are part of the four-nation Euro Hockey Tour.
A charity concert in aid of south-east Asia has raised over six million crowns. The money will be used to buy medical equipment and supplies for a mobile children's hospital in Sri Lanka which is run by Czech paediatricians. The hospital was set up shortly after the tsunami disaster and is expected to remain in operation for a period of six months. The concert was organized at the initiative of several Czech artists who were in the region at the time of the tragedy. The Czech public has contributed over 200 million crowns / 6.7 million euros/ in aid to the stricken region and another 200 million has been earmarked by the Czech government for reconstruction.
Monday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with sleet or snow showers and day temperatures between plus two and minus two degrees Celsius.
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