Five Czech soldiers have been killed in a collision between their army truck and an oncoming express train. The accident took place at a crossing near Prostejov, east Moravia. All five men belonged to the Czech Special Forces unit based in the region. A sixth soldier remains missing. Five other military personnel, as well as two civilians, were also injured in the accident: three are in critical condition.
The right-of-centre dominated Senate has voted against a bill banning
hospitals run by regional governments from being turned into business
companies, which the Social Democratic Party recently pushed through
the Chamber of Deputies.
The Chamber will now have to vote on the bill again.
The balance of forces in the Lower House indicates it could override the Senate and push the bill through a second time. However, it would then still have to be signed by President Vaclav Klaus. Supporters of the ban say it defends the availability of balanced health care, while critics contend it interferes in regional governments' authority.
The UK's highest court institution has ruled that British government
regulations that prevented some Czechs - namely Romanies - from travelling
to Great Britain in 2001 were discriminatory on racial grounds. The Law
Lord's verdict concerns controls which were carried out by British
immigration officials at Prague's Ruzyne airport in July 2001 in an effort
to lower the number of those seeking asylum in Britain. In 2002, the
British human rights organisation Liberty lodged a complaint against the
checks on behalf of six Roma and the European Centre for Roma Rights. A
lower level court and Great Britain's Supreme Court originally rejected
In response to the latest ruling, the British Home Office has replied it had not meant to discriminate against anyone, adding that the measures in place at the time were meant to prevent abuse of the asylum and immigration system.
The Czech power utility CEZ has agreed to pay compensation to the French company Dalkia after it pulled out of an agreement in 2000 that would have seen the companies set up of a joint-venture to operate in the Czech Republic. Dalkia had filed for arbitration in Paris earlier this year, estimating the damages at almost 19 million euros. A CEZ spokesman has said that the compensation offered was one third lower than that amount, but did not name the exact figure. He also said that the two companies also signed an agreement officially terminating the dispute.
Czech football stars Tomas Rosicky and Jan Koller, who both play for Germany's Borussia Dortmund, have been invited to take part in an upcoming all-stars game set to take place in Madrid. Proceeds from the charity match, which takes place on Tuesday, will be used to help against famine in Africa. The match has been organised by two of the best footballers in the world, French mid-fielder Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian star Ronaldo.
The Czech government has decided to offer the state's 51.1 percent stake in Czech Telecom to telecommunication companies and the consortia they form with financial investors. Following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Martin Jahn said a timetable has also been approved. If all goes according to schedule, preliminary bids will be submitted in the first week of February so that selected investors can present their binding bids in March. The cabinet hopes to choose a winner of the public tender by March 31.
The Czech Culture Minister, Pavel Dostal, has decided to start ten-week intensive chemotherapy, a ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday. Mr Dostal has been suffering from high fevers and has caught pneumonia since a cancerous tumour was removed from his pancreas in September. After a thorough medical check-up at Prague's main Military Hospital on Wednesday, he was advised to undergo chemotherapy immediately to avoid a relapse.
In the Czech Republic's evaluation of the EU's Lisbon Strategy, Czechs urge the European Union to do more to boost its economical development. The Lisbon Strategy was adopted by the European Council in March 2000. It is a ten-year plan to turn the European Union into the world's most dynamic and competitive economy. In the Czech Republic's evaluation, which was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday, economists warn of too much concentration on social and environmental renewal and too little focus on EU budget priorities and various outstanding economic barriers.
Jan Nadvornik has filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court over the invalidation of the Senate elections in the Prague 11 constituency. Last week the court invalidated the elections on the grounds that the election campaign had been conducted in a dishonest manner, in violation of the election law. This was in relation to a number of slanderous articles against the unsuccessful candidate which were published in the local papers. Jan Nadvornik who won the elections, has protested against the verdict, saying that he was in no way responsible for what the local papers had printed.
Arms imports to the Czech Republic have increased nearly fourfold in the past decade. A report, published on Tuesday, says that until 1989 Czech arms exports exceeded imports, but the situation changed radically in the 1990s. Last year the Czech Republic imported over 2,500 revolvers and pistols from Bulgaria, Austria and Ukraine and various types of rifles from Germany, the Netherlands and Russia. About a thousand sub-machine guns were imported from Belgium and Switzerland.
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