Czech psychiatrist Jan Pfeiffer was among 29 people to receive Time magazine's European 'Hero of the Year' award in London on Tuesday night for his work to reform the Czech mental heath care system. Dr Pfeiffer, a prominent defender of patients' rights, helped lead a campaign to abolish the use of caged and netted beds in Czech institutions.
Tests have confirmed a fifteenth case of BSE or "mad cow" disease in the Czech Republic. The infected cow is from a farm in the Svitava region in the eastern part of the country and vets say that 50 other heads of cattle may have to be put down within the prescribed safety measures. The first case of BSE in the Czech Republic was detected in June of 2001 when the State Veterinary Office imposed strict measures regarding animal breeding, cattle feed and the sale and import of meat and meat products.
The Czech government has approved the draft European Constitution and decided that Prime Minister Stanislav Gross and Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda will sign the document at this Friday's ceremony in Rome. President Vaclav Klaus, who has been very critical of the document, refused to sign it. The ratification process of the document has not been decided as of yet, but it is expected that a referendum on the draft will be held.
News that the government may sell phone operator Cesky Telecom via the capital market sent the stock and Prague indices tumbling on Wednesday, the bourse said. The PSE's main index PX 50 shed 1.47 percent and the blue-chip index PX-D lost 1.42 percent. Telecom shares finally fell 5.23 percent to 315 crowns. Brokers have said a sale of the government's 51 percent share on stock exchanges would mean a considerable increase in supply on the market, the Czech news agency reported, and this made investors offload the stock.
Czech senator Jaroslava Moserova has been awarded the French Order of Merit by President Jacques Chirac. A doctor who specialised in burns, she was the first to treat Jan Palach after he burnt himself to death in 1969 in protest of the Soviet invasion of his homeland. Jaroslava Moserova entered politics after the Velvet Revolution, later serving as ambassador to Australia and New Zealand. She stood unsuccessfully for president last year.
Vets suspect they have uncovered a fifteenth case of BSE in the Czech Republic. The suspected case is from a farm in the Svitava region in the eastern part of the country. The results of a third test should be available on Wednesday. The first case of BSE in the Czech Republic was uncovered in June of 2001 when the State Veterinary Office imposed strict food safety measures in connection with BSE. If Wednesday's results are positive some 50 heads of cattle will have to be put down at the farm.
A 14-year-old boy has admitted to stabbing to death his classmate aged 13,
outside a school in the north Moravian village of Hanusovice. It is not
clear what motivated his actions, but there is speculation that bullying
may have been behind the attack. Jan Petrek bled to death minutes after
being stabbed in the chest and throat during a fight near his school on
Monday morning. Czechs have been alarmed by a growing number of violent
crimes committed by minors in recent months.
In January a 13 year old schoolgirl was raped and stabbed to death by a classmate and recently five boys under the age of fifteen stabbed a woman in her 80s to death with a pair of scissors, stealing her money. Justice Minister Pavel Nemec has said he will speed up moves in Parliament to lower the age of criminal responsibility, now set at fifteen.
Over 600 employees at steelmakers Ispat Nova Hut have accepted severance pay equivalent to 25 months' salary, a spokesman for the north Moravian company said on Monday. Ispat Nova Hut plans to lay off 2,000 of its 11,000 workers by the end of the year. The redundancy pay offer - which is unusually generous by Czech standards - is open to employees until the middle of November.
Czech football coach Zdenek Zeman is making the headlines in Italy, after taking the small club Lecce to second place in the country's first division. He has played down the club's successful start to the season, saying their main aim is still to avoid relegation. A former coach at Lazio and Roma, Mr Zeman sparked a huge controversy in 1998 when he raised questions about possible drug-taking in Serie A.
The former owner of Sparta Prague football club, Petr Mach, has been found not guilty of large scale fraud by a court in Prague. Mr Mach had been accused of not repaying a bank loan of 160 million crowns (over five million euros). He was released from prison last year after serving a two-year term for not paying import tax on a luxury car.
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