The Czech Medical Chamber has for the first time expelled its member, gynaecologist Vaclav Jordan from the city of Brno. The man treated colon cancer in one of his patients although he did not have the required special post-graduate education for oncology. Besides wrongly diagnosing the diseases as more serious than it actually was, he kept invoicing a health insurance company for the expensive treatment even after the patient joined another doctor. He will not be allowed to pursue his profession and will only be able to join the Medical Chamber again in five years. He can challenge the verdict at the court. The police have charged Doctor Jordan with serious bodily harm and fraud.
Czech customs officers have seized over 20 tonnes of apparently fake brand products at a open-air market at the Hate border crossing in South Moravia. The goods included clothing and shoes as well as pirated CDs and DVDs, worth an estimated 25 million crowns. This was another in a series of raids on border markets aimed at stemming out trade with smuggled and fake brand products.
The centrist Christian Democratic Party, a junior member of the Czech ruling coalition, is holding its annual meeting this weekend to elect new leaders. The current chairman, foreign minister Cyril Svoboda, has led the party for more than two years and is running for the post again, with slightly higher chances of succeeding than his three rivals.
The Czech union of WWII forced labourers has decided to dissolve itself after 14 years of existence next June. The union has around 40 thousand members, most of whom are 80 or older. Chairman Karel Ruzicka said at the union's convention on Saturday that the leadership was no longer able to manage such a large organisation. At the same time, there was no one among the delegates willing to take over. Most of the WWII victims of Nazism are receiving full-scale compensation these days. Some members of the union, such as those forced by the Nazis to work in facilities producing the V1 and V2 rockets said they had been associating for years and would not stop after the union dissolves, even though many of them die every year.
The Czech army has closed down its sixth field hospital, which won recognition for its deployment in the Balkan conflict, in Albania, in Turkey ravaged by an earth quake, and especially in Afghanistan where it operated shortly after the ousting of Taliban, and most recently in Iraq. The daily Mlada fronta Dnes quoted Defence Minister Miroslav Kostelka as blaming empty coffers. He admitted though that it was a very painful step but said the Czech Republic could not afford to keep three military field hospitals, so it was scrapping one.
A delegation of US businessmen led by U.S. deputy trade secretary Joseph Bogosian visited Czech aircraft maker Aero Vodochody with the aim of helping the troubled company, in which US Boeing has a decisive influence, to find new markets. Bogosian said that growth is the only answer for Aero Vodochody and the Czech government and the US administration together with Boeing will cooperate to make Aero grow and to find new markets for L-159 planes. Aero Vodochody is already making supplies for Boeing's F-18 jet fighters. However, despite promises, the American investor has so far failed to find markets for Aero's own products, namely the sub-sonic L-159 multi-purpose combat aircraft.
The coalition government's health care commission has come up with two options of possible assistance to indebted regional hospitals. After a meeting that ended late Wednesday night, Health Minister Marie Souckova did not specify the alternatives, saying only that they would depend on the financial results of the hospitals, their liabilities and obligations. She added that the leaders of the governing parties should receive the proposals next week. The government commission was set up to find ways of stabilising the financial situation in the health care sector by the end of 2003. This means shortening the payment schedule of health insurance companies and resolving the debts of hospitals, which were transferred to the regions by the government in January.
Czech police said on Thursday they were holding three men who had attempted to smuggle 2.5 kg of the plastic explosive Semtex, a gun and other items into neighbouring Austria. Experts said the amount of Semtex - a powerful Czech-made explosive with a record of being used by terrorist groups - was enough to bring down an aircraft. A police spokeswoman said the group tried to cross the border in a car late on Wednesday evening. All were carrying Czech passports.
The Senate has decided that the salaries of senior officials should be frozen for the next three years at 46,500 crowns. The bill was submitted by the coalition government as part of a package of public finance reforms. Initially, the Senate's constitutional law committee had proposed the pay should increase to close to 60,000 crowns per month on the grounds of lowering the difference between politicians' salaries and those in the civil service. The law on freezing the pay of elected representatives was passed in the Senate by 40 out of 69 senators present, after a heated debate between supporters of the government proposal and opponents of the present payment system.
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