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 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.
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.
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.
The production of cars and small vans in the Czech Republic should increase by two-thirds by 2011, according to a study by analysts PricewaterhouseCoopers released on Monday. Skoda is currently the country's leading carmaker, but a new plant producing Toyota, Citroen and Peugeot vehicles is due to go into operation in the central Bohemian town of Kolin next year.
President Vaclav Klaus has requested that he be informed in detail about
allegations the police bugged phone calls made to him by a businessman,
the newspaper Lidove noviny reported on Monday. Two days previously the
daily said the police had listened in on calls made to Mr Klaus by Radko
Pecic, a good friend of the president's under investigation in connection
with a fraud case.
Wire-tapping has been in the headlines for several weeks, since the leader of the opposition Civic Democrats said his phone had been bugged since he was elected two years ago. At the end of last week, President Klaus called on the interior minister to dismiss the chief of police, after the latter made statements evidently making light of wire-tapping.
The president is due to discuss the matter with Prime Minister Stanislav Gross on Tuesday.
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