The clash of wills between the president and prime minister over who should lead the health sector continues. President Klaus refused to appoint the Prime Minister's nominee David Rath on Thursday, citing conflict of interests since Mr. Rath heads of the main doctors' association, the Czech Medical Chamber. The Prime Minister first sought a way around the rejection, appointing Mr. Rath deputy health minister, then re-nominated him for the post of health minister on Friday, threatening legal action to push the appointment through. Both the prime minister and president have said they are ready to call in the Constitutional Court to resolve the dispute.
The Czech born financial magnate Viktor Kozeny who is wanted for extensive fraud and bribery both in the Czech Republic and the United States will remain in custody in the Bahamas. A local court judge refused to release Kozeny on bail and set December 5th as the deadline by which the Bahamian Foreign Ministry is to submit evidence in support of a US request for Kozeny's extradition. The Czech born fugitive billionaire faces prosecution in the USA after squandering millions of dollars from American investors in Azeri privatization schemes. The Czech Republic failed in its efforts to get Kozeny extradited and tried in the Czech Republic.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has expressed concern over the fact that the Czech Republic cancelled at short notice a working visit by an international anti-corruption team. An OECD team of experts in fighting corruption were expected to make a routine fact-finding mission to several Czech ministries and key institutions in the first half of October. The visit was cancelled by the Czech authorities citing technical problems. The OECD has asked for a new date as soon as possible. A recent report published by Transparency International suggests that the country has a serious problem fighting corruption. The Czech Republic's Corruption Perception Index has not improved in recent years and the country is believed to the third most corrupt state of the European Union.
The Czech Agriculture Ministry has stepped up bird-flu controls, introducing a series of new measures effective immediately. The ministry announced a ban on the sale of poultry and live birds at markets and exhibitions and has cancelled pigeon racing contests and budgerigar exhibitions across the country. Czech breeders have also been requested not to take part in any international events. There is a ban on outdoor breeding for poultry farms and small breeders.
Pavel Mokry was elected president of the Czech Football Federation in a vote in which he narrowly beat former international Ivan Hasek. Mokry, 51, previously vice-president of the federation, is a former player in the fourth division, who turned referee and then football official. Friday's vote was the third attempt at selecting a replacement for the former president Jan Obst.
Sunday is expected to be partly cloudy to overcast with day temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius.
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