Otakar Motejl has been re-elected Ombudsman by the lower house of Parliament. Mr Motejl stood against three candidates put forward by the president - former rector of the Czech Technical University in Prague Jiri Witzany, human rights activist John Bok, and senator Jitka Seitlova. Mr. Motejl is already serving a six year term which ends on December 18.
The government has approved a bill on the Integrated Pollution Register - the country's "inventory" of chemical emissions. The new bill broadens the list of pollutants that companies have to register if they release them into the environment. If the bill is approved by the Senate and signed by the President, the number of registered pollutants will be raised from 72 to 93 as of 2008.
The EU transport ministers, who were to negotiate on the seat of the
Galileo European satellite navigation system on Tuesday, have not made
a decision. Before the talks, Czech Ambassador to Brussels Jan Kohout
said the Czech Republic was prepared to block them if the new member
states were not considered as host countries. It appears that the old
member states have a secret agreement to seat Galileo in one of their
countries, Mr Kohout said.
The Galileo system is a joint initiative of the European Commission and European Space Agency and would rival the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). Prague is among the states that have made a bid to host Galileo, which is to be launched in 2008.
A police investigation into a number of mysterious hospital deaths between May and September was launched three weeks later than it should have been. A spokesperson for the East Bohemian Police said on Tuesday that the officer responsible for distributing tasks failed to recognise the gravity of the hospital's criminal complaint. A former nurse at the hospital has since confessed to murdering eight patients and attempting to kill several more with the blood-thinning drug heparin.
The Czech Republic may erect a guarded border with Slovakia, ending free travel inside former Czechoslovakia, unless Bratislava tightens controls on its frontier with Ukraine, Czech Ambassador to Brussels Jan Kohout said on Tuesday. The two European Union newcomers want to enter the EU's borderless Schengen area at the end of 2007, but before Slovakia can join it must upgrade controls on the border with non-EU member Ukraine. If Bratislava fails the Schengen control test, the Czech Republic would not be admitted to the EU zone of passport-free travel unless it imposed checks at the Slovak border.
The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Cech says he should be able to start training in goal again in mid-January. The Chelsea star is reported to be making good progress, after fracturing his skull during a game two months ago. In an interview on Chelsea TV, Cech said he was now beginning to shake off the effects of tiredness related to the injury, and was training in the gym and swimming pool.
A shoot-out in the centre of Prague on Monday night has left a 47 year old foreign national dead and a police officer injured. The injured officer, Vladimir Ustyanovic, is the former head of the north-Moravian police intervention unit. The police are still investigating what led to the gunfight but suspect that the motive was jealousy. The foreigner first shot at the police and then turned the gun on himself.
Former Czech president and anti-communist dissident Vaclav Havel has
denied media reports that a video aired at a recent conference urges
tourists not to go to Cuba. The video is 18 months old and was
presented at the event to show solidarity with dissidents in Cuba and
let the public know that the Cuban regime's political oppression cannot
be seen from luxurious hotel rooms, Mr Havel's secretary said on
In the video, the former president recalls a personal experience of being taken as a political prisoner in Communist Czechoslovakia, from his cell to a dentist's surgery in town where people in the waiting room pretended not to see him.
According to a report by the Czech Statistical Office, the number of foreign nationals living in the Czech Republic reached 310,000 in September, which is around 2.5 percent of the country's total population. The office said the most foreigners live in the capital Prague but the numbers are rising across the country, with citizens of Ukraine being the most numerous community.
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