An MP who says the Civic Democrats tried to bribe him to bring down the government in a confidence vote passed a lie detector test during questioning by police on Thursday. Zdenek Koristka of the Freedom Union said last month he had been offered a bribe of 10 million crowns (around 300,000 euros), an allegation strenuously denied by the Civic Democrats. The two men Mr Koristka says approached him have declined to undergo a lie detector test, arguing that the results cannot be used as evidence in Czech courts.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved the adoption of the European arrest warrant, overturning a veto by President Vaclav Klaus. Meanwhile, the opposition Civic Democrats said Friday they were planning to take the matter to the Constitutional Court; they say the European arrest warrant contravenes the Czech Republic's bill of basic rights and freedoms.
The captain of the Czech football team, Pavel Nedved, has retired from international football at the age of 32. The Juventus midfielder, who has been suffering from a knee injury in recent months, scored 17 goals in 83 appearances for the Czech Republic. Nedved, currently European Footballer of the Year, is widely regarded as the best Czech player of his generation.
The Chamber also passed an education bill under which mathematics would not be a compulsory subject in the maturita school-leaving exams. The bill now has to be reviewed by the president. There has been some debate in recent months about whether maths should be a compulsory subject at Czech gymnaziums ('grammar schools').
A memorial in Ostrava which commemorates the deportation of thousands of Jews from the city during the Holocaust has been vandalised with Nazi inscriptions. The memorial was erected ten years ago to mark the 55th anniversary of the first transport of local Jews to the concentration camp of Nisk in Poland. It was also targeted by vandals last year.
The Czech power producer CEZ said it still hoped to succeed in purchasing a 66-percent state-held share in the Slovak power utility Slovenske elektrarne. The Slovak Economy Minister Pavol Rusko should submit his proposal to the cabinet on Friday or early next week. The cabinet will then decide on the winner of the tender. Two weeks ago a steering committee recommended Italy's Enel with a bid worth 840 million euros as the winner ahead of CEZ with 690 million euros and Russia's Inter RAO with 547 million euros. Slovenske elektrarne controls over 85 percent of Slovak power production. It runs three nuclear and two thermal power stations and 34 hydroelectric power sources.
The German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has rejected compensation calls from Germans driven out of Czechoslovakia and Poland at the end of World War II. In an interview for the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the Chancellor said that there were no legal grounds for a settlement - either from abroad or from Germany. "There will be no domestic settlement" Mr. Schroeder told the paper "because that would mean that we would have to abandon our legal position that there should be no claims for reparations from either side". The Czech CTK news agency says this is a radical change in Germany's position on the issue. Previous governments always maintained that the expellees' compensation claims were "open to debate".
Four Iraqi children suffering from serious heart problems arrived in Prague on Thursday to undergo surgery. The three boys aged between four and five and a one-year-old girl were each accompanied by their father. The patients were selected for treatment by Czech doctors who worked in the Czech military field hospital in Basra, southern Iraq, last year. Given their serious heart defects, the four children would not have survived in Iraq without appropriate help. The children are the last from Basra to be treated at the Czech government's expense in Prague and their treatment will cost about 5 million crowns (160,000 euros). A total of 22 Iraqi children have already been brought to the country and operated on at Motol hospital. The plane in which the children arrived on Thursday also brought back to Prague 37 Czech military police officers who had ended their mission in Iraq.
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