Dagmar Havlova, the actress wife of former Czech president Vaclav Havel, made her first stage appearance in almost a decade on Friday evening when she appeared in a production of Moment of Truth by US playwright Israel Horovitz. Critics have described the performance at Prague's Vinohradske Divadlo as a resounding success, while Mr Havel said he was very glad his wife had returned to her profession.
The Czech Republic may have to make a huge pay-out after losing an
international arbitration case taken by the Japanese bank Nomura over the
sale of IPB bank. The Czech government put IPB under forced administration
when it collapsed in the year 2000 before selling it to another Czech bank,
CSOB. Nomura, which owned almost half of IPB, said the Czech state had
failed to protect its investment; it is now demanding over one and a half
billion US dollars in compensation. The actual amount it receives will be
set by a second arbitration hearing.
But Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, whose Social Democrats were in power at the time of the sale, said there was no immediate threat of the country having to pay the compensation; he said negotiations would continue and it could take years for the matter to be resolved.
Jakub Janda has become the first Czech ever to win the ski jumping World Cup. He finished just 29th in a competition in the Slovenian resort of Planica on Saturday, but a poor placing by his closest rival meant the Czech could not be overtaken on points. Janda came first in five World Cup competitions during the season, and was joint winner of the prestigious Four Hills event.
The South Korean company Hyundai is actively looking for high-quality accommodation for its managers, despite the fact a deal to open a huge car plant in north Moravia has not yet been finalised, Pravo reported on Saturday. Industry and Trade Minister Milan Urban says he expects a decision on whether the factory will be built in the Czech Republic to be made in April, several months after originally expected.
The Senate has lifted a previous age restriction for artificial fertilisation in the case of married or common law couples wishing to have children. But, age restrictions will apply for example for anonymous egg or sperm donors, 35 and 40 years of age, respectively. The changes are part of the provision on artificial reproduction in legislation on embryonic cell research. Senators also decided that married couples would not have to undergo an expensive genetic examination procedure that would have complicated efforts in having a child, besides leading to additional expenses. The bill will now go back to the chamber of deputies for reconsideration.
Vaclav Cihak, the former head of the finances department at the Czech embassy in Albania has received a three year suspended sentence for financial machinations with the embassy's funds. Cihak pleaded not-guilty but admitted to having moral responsibility for the loss of 1.8 million crowns from the embassy's funds in 2002. He said he had not used the money for his own private purposes and was merely guilty of mismanaging funds. He claims to have no idea where the money went.
The board of directors and supervisory board of the General Health Insurance Company (the VZP) has failed to approve cost-saving measures for the health insurance plan for 2006, meaning forced administration at the insurer will continue. A member of the board of directors revealed the information on Friday. Both the Health Minister David Rath and the prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, had linked the approval of addtional cost-saving measures with the cancellation of forced administration. According to Minister Rath, the VZP will run its finances according to a stopgap budget which includes cost-saving measures. Mr Rath imposed forced administration on the VZP last November - to prevent the insurer from slipping into further debt.
Acclaimed Japanese writer Haruki Murakami - the author of such novels as "Kafka on the Shore", "Norwegian Wood", "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World", has been named as the winner of this year's Franz Kafka Prize, awarded by Prague's Franz Kafka Society. An international panel chose the author as the winner this week. Mr Murakami becomes the sixth author in all to receive the prize (worth 10,000 US dollars) following British playwright Harold Pinter last year. Mr Murakami will reportedly travel to Prague in October when the prize will officially be awarded.
Jiri Vyvadil, who stepped down from his post as judge of the Supreme Court, after being suspended by the justice minister, has been named an honorary advisor by the Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek. Cabinet spokeswoman Lucie Orgonikova said on Friday that Mr Vyvadil would advise the prime minister on issues of law, justice, and the court system, but would not receive a salary. The move came just hours after Mr Vyvadil was suspended, following a recommendation by court chairman Josef Baxa, who has said that Mr Vyvadil had threatened the independence of the judiciary by involving himself in political affairs and meeting secretly with controversial businessman Tomas Pitr - appealing an eight-year prison sentence for tax fraud.
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