Daily news summary News

31-10-2005

Poll: Parliament, cabinet, see rise in approval ratings

A new poll has suggested that Czech assessment of the functioning of the government and the Czech Parliament is at its highest since 2003. The poll, conducted by the STEM agency, found that 43 percent of respondents were satisfied with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek's cabinet while some 36 percent assessed as positive the workings of Parliament. The last time the Czech government enjoyed similar public support was in the year 2003 but also the summer of 2002 when the Czech Republic was hit by widespread floods.

The new STEM poll also gauged public support for the country's president, Vaclav Klaus: he was rated positively by some 72 percent of respondents.

Rath: decision to step down as head of Czech Doctors' Association "likely" on Tuesday

Deputy Health Minister David Rath has described as "very likely" a decision to step down as the head of the Czech Doctors' Association on Tuesday. Until now Mr Rath's position as head of the Doctors' Association has been a major hurdle preventing his being named health minister by the country's president. Vaclav Klaus has twice refused to name Mr Rath to the post, on the grounds his naming would be in clear conflict of interest.

On Monday, President Klaus dismissed Mr Rath's latest words and any speculation: he indicated he was still awaiting Mr Rath's next move.

Czech Rep bans imports of exotic birds from non-EU countries

The Czech Republic will - with minor exceptions - ban imports of exotic birds from countries that are not EU members, to reduce the danger of the spread of bird flu. The Czech Agriculture Minister Petr Zgarba said on Monday that the measure was in harmony with a European Commission directive. The ban concerns primarily commercial imports, while individuals will be allowed to bring small number of birds - less than five - into the country. All these imports will have to be made via Prague's Ruzyne international airport. Birds will be kept in quarantine for 30 days or have to be vaccinated or checked for the bird flu virus.

The import restrictions are expected to be kept in place for at least six months.

Slovaks sentenced for bank robberies

A Prague court sentenced two Slovak nationals in their early twenties to 6.5 and 8 years in prison, for a series of bank robberies late 2004 and early 2005. The two men organised a total of ten bank hold-ups in Prague using a fake gun, in seven they successfully made off with funds. One of the defendants has already appealed the ruling, the defence finding the sentence unduly harsh.

Czech filmmaker Menzel to attend screenings in Switzerland

Czech filmmaker Jiri Menzel - the director of such films as the Oscar-winning "Closely Watched Trains" - is to attend upcoming screenings of his work in Switzerland. On November 1st Zurich will see a retrospective of the director's work, while Menzel's "Capricious Summer" will be one of the films screened at an international music festival in Basel this week. Mr Menzel who also works in the theatre, directed theatre productions in both Zurich and Basel in the past.

Weather

The first part of the week is expected to see cloudy weather with some sunny intervals and daytime temperatures averaging around 7 degrees Celsius.

31-10-2005