President Vaclav Klaus has signed a number of new laws, including the much debated civil service law. The legislation defines the rights and responsibilities of roughly 80,000 state employees, who will have to swear an oath of loyalty to the state and will have to forego other sources of income. On the other hand civil servants will have the right to five weeks of paid holidays and will receive five months' severance pay.
President Vaclav Klaus, who was hospitalized with health problems last week, is said to be feeling well and is recuperating at Lany Chateau. The President was released from hospital last Friday after doctors said they had not found anything seriously wrong. Mr. Klaus was taken ill after playing a tennis match in the heat and doctors believe that dehydration may have been the cause of the problem.
Police say a married couple from the town of Kutna Hora have confessed to murdering eight people, in what appears to be the worst case of serial murder in Czech criminal history. Thirty-seven-year-old Jaroslav Stodola and his 34-year-old wife Dana have confessed to murdering and robbing eight elderly people, mostly women. The murders were committed over a period of several years. In some cases the couple made the deaths appear as an accident or suicide. The couple were caught after their ninth intended victim survived. They face the possibility of life imprisonment if found guilty.
An autopsy has confirmed that a 23-year-old member of the president's elite Castle Guard unit, who was found with multiple gunshot wounds on Saturday, committed suicide. Police say the man killed himself by shooting himself in the head with a sub-machine gun. The suicide was the latest in a series of unfortunate incidents for the Castle Guard. An army psychologist attached to the unit was dismissed after he was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting soldiers. Recently it was revealed that Castle Guard members had posed in their uniforms for a gay pornographic website. President Vaclav Klaus has called for urgent transformation of the unit, to restore the Castle Guard's reputation as quickly as possible.
Members of an ill-fated Czech climbing expedition have returned from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula, two weeks after one of their colleagues died while scaling a volcano. The body of the 44-year-old man, who died of head injuries after being hit by a falling rock, has been recovered and will be returned to the Czech Republic in several days. The remaining 19 members of the expedition were rescued after spending three days stranded on Russia's Klyuchevskoi volcano.
The country's largest power producer CEZ has said it has lost all supplies from its largest coal-burning power plant in northwest Bohemia after wind damaged the grid. A spokesman for CEZ said a storm late on Thursday had torn down two pylons and damaged another on the network connecting the firm's Prunerov plant to the national power grid. The spokesman said it would take several weeks to repair the grid and restore supplies, but added that customers had not suffered any disruptions.
The country's largest power producer CEZ said on Friday it had lost all supplies from its largest coal-burning power plant in northwest Bohemia after wind damaged the grid. A spokesman for CEZ said a storm late on Thursday had torn down two pylons and damaged another on the network connecting the firm's Prunerov plant to the national power grid. The spokesman said it would take several weeks to repair the grid and restore supplies, but added that customers had not suffered any disruptions.
President Vaclav Klaus has been released from hospital, and is back on holiday with his wife Livia at the presidential chateau in Lany, outside Prague. Mr Klaus was admitted to Prague's General Teaching Hospital on Thursday evening after apparently overexerting himself in the hot weather. He was released on Friday after undergoing tests. The 62-year-old president checked himself into hospital after falling ill following a game of tennis. Mr Klaus had spent last week at a spa in Karlovy Vary, where he was recovering from a recent bout of tonsillitis. A spokesman for the president said tests had shown Mr Klaus was completely healthy.
Franz Ulrich Kinsky, a descendant of the Kinsky noble family, has said he will demand that the Czech state return hundreds of antiques and other historical artefacts which he said were wrongfully seized from him after the Second World War. Mr Kinsky's lawyer said the artefacts - including paintings, engravings and a large library of antique books - had been taken from property which was confiscated by the state. Mr Kinsky has filed a total of 157 lawsuits, asking the courts to declare him the legal owner of property including country homes and woodland. Most of the property was confiscated after 1945 from Mr Kinsky's father, an alleged Nazi sympathiser who died before the war. However Mr Kinsky says the property belonged to him, not his father, and the confiscation was therefore illegal. He has so far won five cases in court.
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