Agriculture minister Jaroslav Palas has warned against a possible bark beetle calamity in Czech forests, urging owners to take action. The hot dry summer of 2003 has allegedly led to a dramatic increase of infested forests - an estimated 41,000 square metres of forest land. The worst affected regions are south Bohemia and south Moravia. The minister has urged forest owners to take corrective action, saying that all the information is available on the ministry's web site. Those who fail to take the stated measures, risk a steep fine.
The Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia will not supply power to the grid at the weekend, due to technical problems in the second unit. Its spokesman Milan Nebesar said the unit had problems with turbine vibrations and oil leaks from the turbine. The first unit is undergoing a planned shutdown.
The health minister Josef Kubinyi has dismissed the head of the Czech Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine Karel Filip. Minister Kubinyi said he was being dismissed for bad management and warned of possible personnel changes at other managerial posts. The health minister who was appointed to the post recently is expected to draft a viable reform for the ailing health sector. At a Parliament session on Friday Minister Kubinyi verbally attacked the head of the country's largest health insurance company, demanding her resignation, and warned of a series of audits at all top managerial posts. Leading specialists at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine have expressed amazement at the minister's decision to sack the institute's director, calling the move unjustified and saying it would destabilize the institute.
Local authorities are considering sending an inspection to a school where a thirteen year old boy committed suicide this week. The mayor of Hrusovany, near Brno, where the tragedy occurred, said he'd scheduled a meeting of town hall representatives which would debate the matter. The town's inhabitants were devastated by news of the suicide and shocked by rumours that the boy had killed himself because he'd been bullied in school. Neither the police nor the school authorities have confirmed this but the headmistress admitted that bullying was a problem, as in most schools across the country.
The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, has thanked the Czech national team
for their performance during the Ice Hockey World Championship in
Prague. The Czech Republic lost in the quarterfinals knockout stage 3-2
to Team USA on Wednesday night, leaving the team and its fans in shock.
The highly-favoured Czech team was unbeaten in six games but faced its
first real challenge in the Americans, who skated faster and kept the
pressure on throughout the game.
Even so, the Czechs took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals from Martin Skoula and a beautiful wrap-around by Jaromir Jagr that just beat goalie Ty Conklin. The U.S. then got one back from NAME Park, and tied the game in the 3rd when Czech player Jan Hlavac deflected the puck into his own net. The goal was credited to NAME Westrum.
The game was set for overtime.
The extra period saw the Czechs bounce back into the game, turning on the pressure but unable to score. With time running out the game then went to penalty shoot-outs to decide the final outcome. In the shoot-outs the U.S. scored once, the Czechs not at all, though they hit the post twice. The winning U.S. goal came from defenseman Andy Roach who scored on a clever deke that beat Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun.
The U.S. win means that once again the host country will fail to win gold at the Ice Hockey World Championship, something which last happened in 1986 when the Soviet Union won in Moscow.
The Czech Republic's first EU Commissioner, Pavel Telicka, and his nine colleagues from the newcomer member states will take their seats around the EU executive's enlarged table for the first time on Friday, a week after the bloc's historic expansion. The head of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, has denied that the new commissioners, formally approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday, will be second class members even though they will not hold their own portfolios for the moment. The current Commission is due to stand down in October after a four-year term, and all commissioners in the next executive body will share equal responsibilities.
Another suspected case of BSE or mad cow disease has been reported in Zvonkova, near Cesky Krumlov, South Bohemia. The animal suspected of suffering from the condition is a four-year-old breeding bull. If confirmed, it would be the Czech Republic's eleventh case of the disease since 2001 and also the first bull found to suffer from BSE. The State Veterinary Authority said further tests would be carried out.
The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, who is on a two-day visit to Cyprus, has met the Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos to discuss, among other issues, reunification plans for the divided island. After the meeting, President Klaus said the peoples of Cyprus must resolve the existing situation themselves, adding that a reunification plan cannot be imposed on Cyprus from outside. Cyprus has been divided into a Greek and Turkish part since 1974. The United Nations plan to unite the island failed last week when it was rejected by a majority of Greek Cypriots.
Fifty percent of Czechs admit they have no idea about how European Union bodies function, according to a poll released on Thursday. Only half of those polled said they had even a "vague concept" of the activities of the main European institutions, the survey by the STEM polling agency showed. Six out of 10 people in the Czech Republic said they knew at least "a little" about the functioning of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, while 57 percent said they knew how the European Court works.
According to Roma advisor Lydie Polackova, based in the east Moravian city of Ostrava, several dozen Roma have already left the Czech Republic in search of job opportunities in Great Britain, just days after the Czech Republic joined the European Union. On Wednesday Mrs Polackova told the Czech news agency CTK that she knew of ten families that had already departed for the UK. But, she added the actual number could be higher. As an advisor, Mrs Polackova said she explained to Roma departing for England or Ireland they would no longer be provided the safety net available before Czech accession, when Czech Romany citizens had applied for asylum.