Thursday's Pravo writes that Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is
considering resignation if Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek is accused of
corruption but remains in government. According to the daily, Mr
Schwarzenberg informed Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek of his decision and
notified also Environment Minister Martin Bursik, chairman of the Green
Party, which nominated Mr Schwarzenberg for the cabinet post. The Prime
Minister confirmed on Thursday he had known about Mr Schwarzenberg's
intention for a few weeks. He said he expected Mr Cunek to step down if he
The police suspect Mr Cunek of taking a bribe of half a million crowns five years ago when he was mayor of the eastern town of Vsetin. Jiri Cunek denies any wrongdoing.
The internet news server Aktualne.cz reports that MPs Michal Pohanka and Milos Melcak, who have left the opposition Social Democrats and side with the government in crucial votes in parliament, have received letters containing death threats. Mr Melcak and Mr Pohanka supported the coalition government in a confidence vote in January, thus helping it narrowly survive. On Thursday they supported the government's draft public finance reform in its first reading in the lower house. Aktualne.cz writes that Mr Melcak and Mr Pohanka admitted previously that an anonymous campaign has been led against them since last year and they and their families have received death threats.
The Senate has passed a package of legislative changes that are needed for the country's entry to the Schengen system. The bill that simultaneously amends fourteen laws was smoothly passed by the lower house a few weeks ago. It has yet to be signed by President Vaclav Klaus. The Czech Republic is to join the Schengen border free zone on January 1, 2008 when checks will be lifted all along its border.
A government-proposed package of public finance reforms has been passed by the lower house in the first reading. The legislation will be discussed by individual parliamentary committees in the coming weeks and the lower house should hold a vote on it the summer. In Thursday's first reading of the bill, the reform package was rejected by 97 Social Democrat and Communist MPs. The main critic of the reform package from the coalition ranks, Civic Democrat MP Vlastimil Tlusty, abstained.
Czech car manufacturer Skoda Auto has raised its production target for this year by 6.2 percent to 616,000 cars, board member and personnel manager Martin Jahn said in an interview with Czech economic weekly, Ekonom. Skoda Auto, part of the German-based Volkswagen Group, will have to increase car production capacity at its main Mlada Boleslav plant in Central Bohemia, including engine production, and reconstruction of its Vrchlabi plant in the north of the country, Mr Jahn said. Skoda Auto is the biggest car producer in central Europe.
The Interior Minister's Inspection Office has cleared former police chief Vladislav Husak of committing a criminal offence. The office investigated Mr Husak on suspicion of disclosing classified information. However, it did not prove allegations that Mr Husak revealed the contacts of his subordinate with a Russian intelligence agent, speculation which appeared in the Czech media. Vladislav Husak resigned from his post in March, stating media pressure as the main reason.
Czech economic growth for 2006 was revised upward to 6.4 percent from 6.1 percent, the Czech Statistical Office and the Czech National Bank announced in a joint news release on Thursday. At the same time, the growth figure for 2005 was increased to 6.5 percent from 6.1 percent and for 2004 from 4.2 percent to 4.6 percent.
The Gripen International consortium which supplied 14 fighter jets to the Czech military says it launched offset projects worth 8.7 billion crowns (414 million US dollars) by the end of 2006 in the Czech Republic. Gripen's investment in the Czech economy is supposed to reach 25.5 billion crowns (1.21 billion USD) between 2004 and 2014, under a contract between the company and the Czech state. The offset programme includes 31 individual investment projects.
Police in South Africa have said they cannot re-arrest fugitive Czech
billionaire Radovan Krejcir - who left their custody last Monday - until
Friday at the earliest. According to a spokesperson for the South African
police, Krejcir's lawyers have filed a suit to prevent their client from
being re-apprehended and that his case will be heard on Friday.
Mr Krejcir, who is wanted for extensive fraud and conspiracy to murder, managed to escape from the Czech Republic during a police raid on his villa in 2005. He moved to the Seychelles, where the authorities refused to extradite him because he had bought Seychelles citizenship.
Mr Krejcir was apprehended on the basis of an Interpol arrest warrant while on a trip to South Africa in April. Czech authorities had been negotiating with the South African government for his extradition, but his lawyers managed to convince the detention centre holding Mr Krejcir to release him. His whereabouts are now unknown.
Last May, there were 547 people aged 100 years or more in the Czech Republic, according to information from the Czech Social Security Administration (CSSZ). The CSSZ announced on Wednesday that 458 women and 89 men had identity documents proving they had been born in 1907 or earlier. The number of centenarians is steadily growing in the Czech Republic. Last November, there were 404 of them, while there were only 354 in November 2005. The Czech Republic has a population of around 10 million. The oldest Czech person is currently Marie Kraslova from South Bohemia who was 108 last November. Czech population experts predict that modern healthcare and improved living standards should see the number of centenarians living in the country rise to almost 19,000 within 60 years.
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