The Czech Republic's public budget deficit will be equal to 4.1 percent of GDP next year, the European Commission says in a report assessing the progress of individual countries on their path to the euro single currency. To be able to join the euro, the country's public budget deficit must be reduced to below 3 percent of GDP.
The great granddaughter of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination sparked World War I, has launched a legal claim for the return of her family's possessions in what is now the Czech Republic, the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes reported on Tuesday. Princess Sophie of Hohenberg wants Konopiste Castle, one of her great grandfather's favourite estates, returned and has lodged an action through her lawyer at the local Benesov court. Konopiste Castle, located around 30 kilometers from Prague, includes 6,000 hectares of land and its own brewery. The castle is now in state hands.
The Social Democratic Party leadership is meeting to decide whether the party should negotiate a place in the country's future coalition government or remain in the opposition. Outlooks for a rainbow coalition of four parliamentary parties have dimmed in recent days as an increasing number of Social but also Civic Democrats have spoken out against it. The Civic Democratic Party has openly stated it would prefer a three party deal with the Christian Democrats and the Greens and would then seek support for a confidence vote among individual Social Democratic Party deputies.
The enlargement of the Schengen border-free zone to the EU newcomer states, including the Czech Republic, has been set for December 31 2007. The decision was made at a summit of EU interior and justice ministers in Brussels on Tuesday following months of controversy over a proposed delay of more than a year. The compromise solution approved on Tuesday was put forward by Portugal and would mean a delay of only a few months. The Czech Republic was one of the countries which fought hard against the proposal delay and Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer praised the outcome of the summit, describing it as "a historic decision". The original expansion date cannot be met due to technical difficulties involving the process of setting up a new police data base for the expanded region.
A planned conference on Iraq which sparked controversy among Czech lower house deputies has been postponed and will not be taking place on the grounds of the lower house as planned. The conference sparked controversy after Czech public television aired a report claiming that it would be attended by supporters of the toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The organizers say this is nonsense and have filed charges of scaremongering against Czech television.
A Czech serial killer who has confessed to murdering seven patients in a Czech hospital says he wanted to test doctors' skills. The thirty year old male nurse, who injected 17 patients with excessive doses of a blood-thinning drug over a period of six months has told the police he wanted to see if doctors were able to detect the problem. The head physician in the hospital where the killings occurred called an investigation when it recorded a higher than usual death-rate as a result of unexplained internal hemorrhaging. The hospital's director Josef Pejchl was dismissed on Tuesday.
President Vaclav Klaus has received a report on the completion of the first part of the Czech armed forces' reform from chief of staff Pavel Stefka. President Klaus called the reform "an important milestone" and said that the Czech military was changing over the past few years along with the security situation in the world. He praised the military for having expanded its participation in peace-keeping missions and for fulfilling commitments towards NATO and the EU.
A 30-year-old former employee of a hospital in the east Bohemian town of Havlickuv Brod, who has been accused of the murder of seven patients and attempted murders of another 10 people, has been taken into custody. The man is suspected of committing the crimes at the emergency department of the hospital from May to September this year. He is suspected of administering a blood anticoagulant to the patients who consequently died of massive bleeding. If found guilty, the man faces a life prison sentence.
The former mayor of the Moravian town of Budisov, Ladislav Peta, who is among several officials suspected of illegal drawing of money from EU funds, will be released from custody, Czech Television reported on Monday, citing the state attorney's office. The state attorney has come to the conclusion that the reasons for Mr Peta's remaining in custody no longer exist. The police suspect Mr Peta and his accomplices of overvaluing the planned Budisov chateau reconstruction and applying for EU subsidies for the project. If they drew the subsidy, they could illegally enrich themselves with some 30 million crowns altogether.
The Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over the Sunday blockade of the Czech-Austrian border crossing Wullowitz/Dolni Dvoriste in connection with the Temelin nuclear power plant. Deputy Foreign Minister Tomas Pojar met the Austrian Ambassador to the country, Margot Klestil-Loeffler, to discuss the issue on Monday. Austrian anti-nuclear activists blocked the border using tractors for six hours. This has been the longest blockade in the last six years. Protesters also sealed the Gmuend/Ceske Velenice border crossing for an hour. The Czech ministry is against the blockades as it says that they violate fundamental European freedoms of free movement of people and goods.
Demonstrations held in 11 cities over election of Communist MP Ondráček to chairman post
National Museum discovers fake gems in its collection
Czech Republic caught up in plastic waste disposal crisis in Europe
David Whiteman: the forgotten Czech story of the man who triggered World War I
President Zeman’s Chinese advisor arrested