A member of the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party, Tomas Julinek, has criticised Health Minister David Rath for proposed changes in the health sector. On Tuesday Mr Julinek stated the proposed changes, the reduction of medical services by one-fifth, would see patients suffer, primarily those with chronic diseases, including patients awaiting kidney or bone marrow transplants. The health minister has not responded to the charge. Mr Rath, who is unaffiliated but will run on the Social Democrat ballot in general elections next year, has been at odds with members of the opposition Civic Democratic Party on numerous occasion in recent weeks, trading political barbs and charges over alleged corruption.
A new survey released by Intrum Justitia has revealed that when it comes to payments Czech firms are the second-worst in Europe. Of seventeen countries examined only Portugal fared worse. According to the survey, among developed countries, the Czech Republic has three times the number of cases where creditors never receive payment. Justitia's director indicated on Tuesday that over two years of study the Czech Republic had improved somewhat on the risk index, but not enough to see a change in the country's position overall on the ratings ladder.
The Swedish media has reported that a 39-year-old Swedish national has been in custody in the Czech Republic since the weekend, arrested as an alleged terrorist plotter wanted by both the FBI and the US Central Intelligence Agency. On Sunday the suspect was detained at Prague airport on a Stockholm flight en route to Beirut, on the basis of an international arrest warrant. In the past the man, who has not been identified, was accused by the US of connections to terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden. The US has sought the suspect's extradition for a number of years for alleged terrorist plotting on US territory. The Swedish Foreign Ministry has not provided details in the case - investigations are underway.
The Czech region of Moravia-Silesia said on Monday it would halt
preparations at the Nosovice industrial zone to house a new Hyundai car
plant if it is unable to buy the required land by the end of the week.
A news release said that the region had exhausted all the legal
possibilities at its disposition to buy the land to which five percent
of the owners remained against. The region said that instead it will
deploy its efforts to attract Hyundai to build its first European car
plant at a second site at Mosnov, in the east of the Czech Republic, if
the situation did not change.
Until now Nosovice has appeared to be the preferred location for the 1.24 billion US dollar deal for the South Korean car plant, which the Czech Republic hopes to sign over neighbouring Poland.
Hyundai's decision on the location of the plant is expected by the end of 2005.
The regional court in Brno on Monday refused to extradite a Czech businessman to Romania, where he faces an eight-year prison sentence for incitement to murder. Frantisek Priplata was implicated in the murder of a Romanian official killed in 2000. Romanian prosecutors said that Priplata wanted to end a series of strikes at a local plant that had been bought by a Czech company. He escaped while being transferred to a local prison in Romania and returned home via Hungary this year.
The Czech capital, Prague, has been named the wealthiest city in the ten countries that joined the European Union in May last year. A European Commission survey known as the Urban Audit also measured the quality of life in 258 cities in the European Union. Prague did especially well in terms of culture, ranking fifth in terms of the number of museums per capita and seventh in the number of theatres.
The Czech Republic is on target to end the year with its best annual growth rate since 1995. Although GDP growth slowed to 4.9 percent in the third quarter, economists polled by the CTK news agency said they expect it to top 5 percent, which is three times that of the European Union average. The export of automobiles and high-tech products to other EU countries is expected to contribute most to GDP growth.
Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn will reportedly become a board member at Skoda Auto. The outgoing minister for economic development, who announced two months ago that he would quit politics by year's end, declined to comment on a report in the business daily Hospodarske Noviny that he would be joining the German-owned carmaker. Mr Jahn did however confirm that he had been approached by the state carrier Czech Airlines (CSA).
The former Czech foreign minister Josef Zieleniec, now a member of the European Parliament, will be the national leader for two small parties competing in next year's general elections. Mr Zieleniec will campaign for the Association of Independent Candidates (SNK) and the European Democrats (ED). He will also be the two parties' joint candidate for the post of prime minister, although he will not run for parliament in the Czech Republic. The Association of Independent Candidates and the European Democrats expect to fully merge and become one party in January.
A "tell all" book by the fugitive Czech billionaire Radovan Krejcir was to be published on Monday. In the book Krejcir -- who is wanted for conspiracy to murder, counterfeiting, forgery, tax evasion, extortion, and abduction -- claims to have lent the ruling Social Democrats tens of millions of crowns in return for special favours. In the book he also describes in detail the alleged corrupt practices of police and governmental authorities, but doesn't name names. Radovan Krejcir escaped from police custody this autumn. He was later found to be living in the Seychelles islands, where he and his family obtained citizenship many years ago.