The Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he will not give in to pressure to sack the health minister Milada Emmerova even if the government rejects her long-term concept for the health sector. Mr. Paroubek said that the concept was sound and that the health minister could not be blamed for the sector's present problems, primarily its indebtedness. At the beginning of the week hospitals, employee representatives, and employers in the health care sector, rejected her reform concept, which includes a debt bail-out of the Czech Republic's largest health insurance company. Mrs. Emmerova has so far ignored calls for her to resign.
The chairman of the Social Democratic Party Stanislav Gross has said he would like Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek to be the party's election leader in next year's general elections. Mr. Gross, who was re-elected party chairman shortly before he was forced to resign as prime minister, has gradually been taking second place to Jiri Paroubek, whose popularity is on the rise. Mr. Gross said on Wednesday that it would benefit the party if Jiri Paroubek headed the election campaign and became the party's candidate for the post of prime minister in the 2006 elections. Mr. Paroubek has made no secret of his ambition to do so.
A Prague court has sent a foreign national to 12 years in jail for robbing and raping a number of women. Thirty year old Marius Dragan was found guilty of several counts of rape, assault and theft in the months between March and June of last year. His victims were so badly beaten they had to be hospitalized and women living in Prague's Jizny Mesto, lived in fear of being attacked. The police only managed to capture Dragan when they used a police woman as a decoy.
The Czech actor and drama theoretician Leos Sucharipa has died at the age of 73. The actor - easily recognised by an inimitably gruff voice - was well-known for his work for Divadlo - or Theatre - magazine, as well as for roles performed both on stage and in film. He was a "house actor" at Prague's well-known Divadlo na Zabradli.
The Temelin nuclear power plant should be back in operation by the end of the week, according to CEZ spokesman Milan Nebesar. The first reactor was disconnected from the grid on Monday due to a problem in the generator's cooling system. According to CEZ, the power utility operating the plant, the defect is in the non-nuclear part of the plant, and does not pose a safety hazard. The plant's second reactor has been shut down since early April for a regular check up that lasts three months.
The Czech President Vaclav Klaus and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko have discussed an agreement on temporary work permits that would make it easier for thousands of Ukrainians to work in the Czech Republic. The foreign ministries are expected to present a treaty proposal in the near future. Around 200, 000 Ukrainians would be affected by the agreement, including workers currently employed illegally in the Czech Republic. The vast majority of them are working in the construction industry.
Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with rainstorms and day temperatures between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius.
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