Daily news summary News

22-11-2005

Rath wants investigation into VZP spending

Health Minister David Rath has said a parliamentary commission should investigate alleged links between the opposition Civic Democratic Party and the ailing VZP health insurance company. Mr. Rath, who put the insurance company under forced administration soon after taking office, has openly accused the leading opposition party of abusing VZP funds for dubious projects. The company has a debt of around 14 billion crowns. The opposition Civic Democrats say they are outraged by the accusations and are planning to take the health minister to court.

Kinsky plans to sue the Czech Republic

Frantisek Oldrich Kinsky, a member of the old nobility, plans to sue the Czech Republic for billions of crowns after failing to recover extensive family property confiscated after World War II on the grounds of the Benes decrees. Over the past decade Kinsky has filed a total of 157 lawsuits with various Czech courts over property said to be worth 40 billion crowns. It was confiscated on the grounds that Kinsky's father allegedly collaborated with the Nazis. Kinsky's lawyer says the property was confiscated illegally because at the time it was no longer owned by Kinsky senior but by Frantisek Oldrich, who was a minor at the time.

No one wants a nuclear waste dump in their vicinity

There is continuing opposition to a planned nuclear waste dump which is to be built somewhere in the Czech Republic. Experts have pinpointed six possible localities in different parts of the country but people living in these areas are actively opposed to the idea. They have been signing petitions against its construction and rejecting offers of financial compensation. The head of the State Institute for Nuclear Safety Dana Drabkova said on Wednesday there might be an alternative solution if several EU member states agreed to build a common nuclear waste dump at an unspecified locality. The Czech Republic needs to reach a firm decision on the location of a future nuclear waste dump by 2025. It should be ready for use by 2065.

Controversial new law might restrict the rights of churches

The Social Democrats and the Communists pooled their votes in the lower house of Parliament on Tuesday to push through an amendment to the law on churches, overturning a recent veto by the Senate. Opponents of the law say that it would seriously undermine the rights of churches and those of believers. For instance, it would limit the rights of churches to set up their own schools and charities. Christian Democratic party deputies say they will file a complaint with the Constitutional Court.

Civic Democrats lash out at ruling party

The opposition Civic Democratic Party has lashed out at the ruling Social Democrats, criticizing what they called the party's vulgar style of government, corruption scandals and broken promises. Ahead of next years general elections the Civic Democrats have compiled a so-called Black Book of the ruling party's "sins". Opposition leader Mirek Topolanek presented this list of sins to the media at a press conference in Prague. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek dismissed the Black Book as a load of rubbish and said the opposition Civic Democrats lacked a constructive approach to the country's problems.

Weather:

Wednesday should be overcast with snow showers and day temperatures between 1 and minus 3 degrees Celsius.

22-11-2005