The Czech government is to help the country's regional authorities bail out heavily indebted hospitals, Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla said on Tuesday. A total of 3.4 billion crowns is to be made available, less than the 6 billion sought by the regions but some 35% higher than the figure offered by the government just three weeks ago. Officials said the plan, which is due to be discussed by the Chamber of Deputies this week, would not increase the state debt.
Despite two recent cases of BSE in the Czech Republic, the country's farmers are asking the European Union for permission to keep feeding bone-meal to cattle after the country joins the EU. Currently a ban on bone-meal is due to come into effect in all ten new EU members once they join next May. However, the Czech Agrarian Union said on Tuesday its members cannot afford the alternative grain feed, which is rising in price. Seven cases of BSE have been discovered in this country since thorough livestock testing began in 2001.
A group of dissatisfied restituents are planning to appeal to the European Union to take action against the Czech state, which they say has not adhered to international conventions on human rights. At a meeting in Prague on Tuesday members of the Citizens Self-defence Union strongly criticised restitution laws introduced in the 1990s, which they said were badly written and slowed down the work of the courts. Since the 1989 Velvet Revolution many thousands of Czechs have regained their rights to property seized during the Communist era.
Prague Town Hall has expressed support for a plan to build a national sports stadium in the city's Strahov district. It would be built on the site of the Evzen Rosicky stadium, which is beside the giant stadium used as the venue for Communist-era "spartakiada" mass gymnastics displays. Under the plan, the new stadium would hold 52,000 spectators and be completed by 2009. The Town Hall is expected to discuss concrete proposals at the end of February.
Shots have been fired at a monument to Alexander Dubcek near the place where the former politician crashed on the motorway between Prague and Brno in 1992. The damage was discovered by participants in a ceremony to mark the eleventh anniversary of the death of Mr Dubcek, who led Czechoslovakia at the time of the Prague Spring in 1968. Police are now investigating the incident, which is believed to have occurred last weekend.
Czech soldiers who died in wars during the last century were remembered in a ceremony on Prague's Vitkov hill on Tuesday which was attended by the defence minister, Miroslav Kostelka, Czech Army Chief of Staff Pavel Stefka and representatives of war-veterans organisations. The ceremony marked the 85th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Wednesday is expected to be quite a sunny day in many parts of the Czech Republic, with a maximum temperature of 6 degrees Celsius.
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