The weekend brought Czech athletes two gold medals at the Paralympics
in Greece. Czech swimmer Martin Kovar won the 100 metre free style on
Sunday in 1:43,51 - setting a new world record, while Veronika Foltova
won the discus. Meanwhile, 29-year-old cyclist Jiri Jezek won the
silver medal in the cycling race, narrowly beaten by Spaniard Robert
The results put the Czech Republic in ninth place in the overall medal standings.
Czech member of European Parliament Jana Bobosikova has requested that her colleague Vladimir Zelezny apologise for his statements about her and her family made in the Czech media last week, in which he criticised her for hiring her husband as her assistant in the European Parliament and accused her of betraying her party's principles. Mrs Bobosikova has threatened to sue Mr Zelezny for slander if he fails to explain his remarks over the next seven days. The public falling-out between both Euro MPs sharply contrasts their professional relationship earlier in the year when both successfully ran for European parliament under the banner of the so-called Independents.
A court in the north Bohemian city of Usti nad Labem has ruled the
municipality does not have to pay any compensation to the Cervenaks, a
Romani family that was suing the city for damages allegedly suffered in
1993. For the Cervenak family the heart of the dispute was the loss of
city-owned apartments that followed after family members moved to
Slovakia. When family members began returning to Usti nad Labem within
a matter of days, they found they were unable to return to their
Cervenak family members contended they were never properly compensated for the property they had given up, although they were later given some accommodation by the city after the president's office intervened, and received 900, 000 crowns from the Czech state in an out-of-court settlement after the family took their case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Five out of eight family members withdrew their current lawsuit in Usti nad Labem last month, leaving just three plaintiffs in Monday's ruling. The trio had been asking for compensation of 8 million crowns, or roughly 270, 000 euros.
The Temelin nuclear power station has reported a reduction in output on
the first unit following problems with cooling. Temelin staff
reportedly discovered leaks in the generator cooling circuits in the
non-nuclear part of the power station.
The defects may take a week or longer to repair. The second unit is running on full output.
The chairman of the Doctors' Trade Union, Milan Kubek, has revealed
that the unions will organise a token strike unless Health Minister
Milada Emmerova accepts demands to introduce an independent wage scale
system in the health sector. Mr Kubek told journalists on Monday that
he was hoping he would be able to meet with the health minister as
early as next week, and if that failed, to ask Prime Minister Stanislav
Gross for a meeting. The Doctors' Trade Union chairman said that the
lack of progress in talks between the government and the unions last
week led to the decision to increase pressure on the government.
The unions are dissatisfied because 2004 marks the first time since 1998 that health care employees' real incomes have fallen.
A conference in Prague aimed at supporting the Cuban dissident movement has called for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. The event, which has brought together several former European and American heads of state and government, is organized by the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba at the initiative of the former president Vaclav Havel. Representatives of several countries at the summit said that their governments should instruct their embassies in Cuba to help those persons who work for the establishment of democratic values on the island. The former Czech president Vaclav Havel described Cuba as a giant prison and called for international mobilization to help bring about change. "We have to ring alarm bells," Mr. Havel said, "with every additional signature and every new conference we make another step towards freedom in Cuba."
Czech swimmer Martin Kovar has won a gold medal at the Paralympics in Greece. Kovar won the 100 metre free style on Sunday in 1:43,51 - setting a new world record. Meanwhile, twenty nine year old cyclist Jiri Jezek won the silver medal in the cycling race, narrowly beaten by Spaniard Robert Alcaideo.
Health Minister Milada Emmerova is receiving letters of complaint from the public after she urged citizens to write and let her know what problems they faced in the health sector. Following her invitation to the public last week, the minister allegedly received 120 complaints in a matter of days. They include criticism of health care ethics, health insurance companies and health care facilities. The minister said she was dealing with each and every case and would not leave any letter unanswered.
The Czech coalition government is finalizing the details of the draft state budget for 2005. After coalition leaders agreed to reduce the budget deficit by ten billion crowns last week, Cabinet ministers are now debating where the money should be saved. Several ministries have offered to make budget cuts but the Cabinet is still about two and a half billion crowns short of the target figure. Christian Democratic Party leader Miroslav Kalousek has urged ministers to consider further reducing the number of state employees. The draft budget proposal is expected to be ready by Tuesday.
The first fifty members of a Czech reconnaissance unit who took part in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan have returned home. The rest of the 100 member unit are expected back in the course of the next three days. For six months the unit helped to search for members of Al Qaida in the Taliban mountains at an altitude of 4,000 metres above sea level. They allegedly received high praise from the allied command, but Parliament decided against extending the mission. In a related development, it was confirmed earlier this week that Czech troops may work with a German military team to help prepare infrastructure and security in Northern Afghanistan for October's presidential election. The Czech Republic is prepared to make 40 soldiers available in the near future.