The number of people infected with the HIV virus in the Czech Republic
has risen in the last three years and doctors registered sixty-four new
cases alone since January. The news was revealed by Marie Bruckova from
the State Health Institute on Thursday. According to Mrs Bruckova the
rise has confirmed a trend which began in 2004 and is expected to
continue. In a press conference on Thursday Bruckova cited a number of
reasons why HIV prevention has lessoned: according to the specialist
the lowering of state funds has had an impact. Doctors have registered
almost nine hundred HIV positive individuals in the Czech Republic and
the former Czechoslovakia since 1986. 202 cases later developed into
Last year, 90 new cases of HIV positive were registered. Four-fifths of those infected are men. Unprotected sex and the sharing of dirty needles in drug abuse are the two most common factors towards catching the deadly virus.
Newly-named Prime Minister designate Mirek Topolanek has said he will provide rival politician and head of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek with a list of candidates for his new cabinet on Monday. Mr Topolanek said as much in a recent live broadcast for one of the commercial Czech radio stations Frekvence 1. Although he mentioned no names, it is known that his party, the Civic Democrats, would like the new minority government to include figures like Alexander Vondra - a former ambassador to the US, and Petr Gandalovic, the mayor of Usti nad Labem, north Bohemia. Rival Social Democrats have already stated they will be willing to tolerate the minority government under certain conditions. But, some proposed candidates could supposedly prove to be sticking points, among them Vlasitmil Tlusty to head the Finance Ministry, or Ivan Langer to head the Interior Ministry. Negotiations on the new cabinet will continue next week.
Czech amateur astronomer Kamil Hornoch - who has discovered forty-one "new" stars in the Great Andromeda Galaxy - has been named amateur astronomer of the year at the IAU (International Astronomical Union) meeting in Prague. Mr Hornoch is the first astronomer from Central and Eastern Europe to have received the prize since it was first introduced in 1979. The thirty-three year old uses a CCD camera on his backyard telescope in Lelekovice near Brno, south Moravia, to search for undiscovered stars. Upon receiving the prize he said the universe was "his love" and that receiving the prize was a "great honour".
Following help from the public, police have caught two men who escaped from the Bohnice Psychiatric Hospital earlier this week. Twenty-five-year old Jan Burian, guilty of murdering and sexually accosting an elderly lady in 1998 ,and seventeen-year-old David Simacek, guilty of a number of attempted rapes, escaped from the hospital on Tuesday by climbing over a fence. Their escape was witnessed by a hospital employee, who was unable to intervene. After their disappearance, police asked the public to be vigilant. The patients were spotted in Nove Butovice, a district of Prague, early on Thursday morning and arrested.
The Foreign Ministry has revealed to the CTK news agency that three Czech nationals have been remanded in Brazil for alleged drug trafficking. They were arrested in July; if found guilty they could face stiff prison sentences. The Foreign Ministry has stressed that more and more individuals from the former communist bloc are being recruited by the narcotics mafia for smuggling drugs to Europe. The ministry has urged travellers by no means to accept responsibility for any strangers' luggage or packages.
A former police officer has been charged for trying to allegedly bribe newly-elected Social Democrat MP Pavel Ploc shortly after June's national election. According to reports, the accused - 42-year-old Pavel Srytr, a former schoolmate of Mr Ploc's - approached the newly-elected MP, asking him to switch parties for five million crowns (the equivalent of around 230,000 US dollars). A switch from the Social Democrats to the Greens that was allegedly suggested, would have given the centre-right a slim majority in the currently deadlocked parliament. Mr Srytr - a former police officer who later worked as a driver and bodyguard for murdered businessman and suspected underworld figure Frantisek Mrazek - has not denied meeting with Mr Ploc, but he has denied the bribery charge.
The Czech Republic's football team were beaten 3:1 at home by Serbia on Wednesday night. The friendly was the Czechs' first game since the World Cup. It was also the last international game for the greatest Czech player of his generation, Pavel Nedved. Nedved received a standing ovation when he left the field.
According to a report due to be discussed by the lower house, the Czech presidency of the European Union—set to begin in January 2009—and the necessary preparations will cost the state about 3.3 billion crowns ($151 million USD). Some 480 new civil servants will be employed in connection with the presidency, and language training for them is included in the proposed budget. The Czech Republic will preside over the EU in partnership with Sweden and France, with each country leading the team effort for six months; Prague will be at the helm from January to June 2009.
After last week's intensified security measures at airports in the United Kingdom following the unveiling of a terrorist plot, more than 5000 pieces of luggage did not make it onto planes in London, some of these belonging to Czech travelers. Passengers on flights from London to Prague have thus been without their baggage for several days, and now British Airways is sending more than 2000 pieces of luggage to continental Europe via long-haul trucks. The luggage should arrive in Prague late Wednesday.
The way to a new Czech minority government was made possible on
Wednesday morning, with the Social Democratic government led by Jiri
Paroubek submitting its resignation to President Vaclav Klaus. The
unanimous vote came after more than ten weeks of post-election
negotiations over the formation of the Czech Republic's next
government. A coalition of Social Democrats, the Christian Democrats
and the Freedom Union led by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek was in power
for nearly sixteen months.
Now, Mr. Paroubek says that Mirek Topolanek and his Civic Democrats should get a chance to try and govern, but that the Social Democrats prefer to tolerate a new minority government for only two years. Earlier this week, Mr. Paroubek indicated that support for a minority Civic Democratic government would depend on approval of Mr. Topolanek's proposed cabinet, as well as key policy issues like the proposed flat tax, and a national referendum regarding the possible establishment of a US missile defense base on Czech territory.
The current government's ministers will stay in their posts until a new cabinet is formed. As it stands, the country also has two prime ministers, with Jiri Paroubek standing as the acting prime minister until Mirek Topolanek forms a new cabinet.