The High Court in Prague has upheld an eight year prison sentence for Karel Srba, a former foreign ministry official, who was found guilty of plotting to murder a journalist. The case was reviewed on the grounds of an appeal from the state attorney who considered the verdict too soft. Srba's collaborators received six year sentences. Srba ordered the murder of journalist Sabina Slonkova in order to prevent her publishing the details of a bribery scandal in which himself was involved.
The Czech interior and defence ministries claim they have no proof that CIA planes carrying suspected terrorists and war prisoners had made several stop-over landings at Prague's Ruzyne Airport. Interior ministry spokeswoman Radka Kovarikova, told the CTK news agency the ministry had received no information about such flights. The human rights watchdog Amnesty International alleged last week that CIA planes had made a total of twenty stopovers in the Czech capital in the last couple of years. There has been ongoing speculation in the world media that the CIA transported suspected terrorists to jails in countries where they could be tortured. Amnesty asked Czech government officials for an explanation, saying that the Czech Republic may have assisted the CIA in violating international law.
The famous football club Glasgow Celtic are interested in signing Michal Kadlec from Sparta Prague, according to press reports. The left back, whose father Miroslav Kadlec captained the Czech national team, said it would be hard to refuse such an offer. The 21-year-old has been a regular at Sparta since breaking into the team last season.
The European Democrats, one of the smaller parties running in the June general elections staged a demonstration outside the government's headquarters on Wednesday in protest of alleged political discrimination. The party's leader Jan Kasl slammed the Finance Ministry's decision not to pay the party a 12 million crown subsidy which it had a right to on the basis of its results in the municipal elections. Kasl said that withholding the money two months before the elections amounted to political discrimination.
Doctors are planning more protest actions against Health Minister David Rath. The minister's radical reforms have met with opposition from a considerable number of doctors, dentists and medical staff who claim that they are undermining the quality of medical care. Rath's opponents say he has failed to consult any of the planned reforms with specialists in the field. A week of protests is being planned for mid-May although it is not yet clear what form they will take.
The government has decided to double the amount of money to be spent on flood prevention between 2007 and 2010. After a week of heavy flooding which showed that many municipalities were ill-prepared to deal with floods the Cabinet on Wednesday voted to spend eight to ten billion crowns on flood prevention measures and approved the setting up of a special flood fund. The government is also considering the possibility of helping people who live in high risk areas to move to safer ground, by buying their property or offering them a state owned plot of land in exchange for their own.
A new network of high speed trains should be in place in the Czech Republic by the year 2020, Hospodarske noviny reported on Wednesday. Under a plan due to be approved by the government, the purchase of land for the creation of new rail corridors should begin next year. Currently the country has just one high speed train, the Pendolino, which has been running between Prague and Ostrava since December.
The mayor of Prague, Pavel Bem, says Czechs should vote in a referendum on whether to apply to hold the Olympic Games in the Czech capital. Prague has signalled its intentions to bid to host the Olympics in either 2016 or, more realistically, in 2020. However, there has been some opposition to the proposal, with critics saying the city could not cope with such a huge international event.
President Klaus has vetoed a bill on the compulsory purchase of property on the grounds that in its present form it could be abused. The bill would enable the authorities to issue a compulsory purchase order in the public interest. Mr. Klaus said that the bill was vague in specifying what public interest entailed and that in his view it was in violation of the Constitution.
Czech football authorities have called off two matches involving first division FC Brno after 17 players came down with a flu like infection and have been quarantined for five days. FC Brno, currently just above the relegation zone, were due to host the team below them, FK Chmel Blsany, on Wednesday night. The away game to Slavia Prague on Saturday has also been postponed.
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