The Czech Ministry of Culture has withdrawn the candidacy of a historical paper mill in Velke Losiny, Moravia for a UNESCO world-heritage listing. The ministry said that the mill, which is significant as a site for handmade paper production, was in too poor a condition to have any chance of being listed as a heritage location by UNESCO.
State veterinarians have destroyed all birds on a poultry farm near the east Bohemian village of Tisova after they were discovered to have been infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. The farm is now being disinfected. The vets are expected to cull all birds in the surrounding district over the weekend in an effort to contain the outbreak of the disease, which is the first case of bird flu in the Czech Republic.
The Czech foreigners police have arrested seven people in a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants. On Thursday, over 300 police officers detained and checked over a thousand people at marketplaces, hostels, construction sites and factories throughout the country. Four people were arrested for not having the right documentation while three people who are wanted by the authorities for criminal activities were also taken into custody. A spokeswoman for the police said that similar large-scale operations would be carried out in the near future. The crackdown is connected with the Czech Republic's upcoming integration into the Shengen area by the end of this year.
The Supreme State Attorney Renata Vesecka has told the Aktualne news website that part of the evidence compiled by police in a corruption case against deputy prime minister Jiri Cunek is inadmissible in court. The Christian Democrat leader is accused of taking a bribe of half a million crowns while he was mayor of the Moravian town of Vsetin five years ago. According to Aktualne, Ms Vesecka said that the police had gathered information from Mr Cunek's property dealings over the past twenty years without permission. This is apparently one of the reasons why Ms Vesecka controversially removed the state prosecutor and attorney who were in charge of the case.
In related news, police have announced that they have charged a third woman in connection with the Mauer abuse case. Twenty-seven-year-old Hana Basova, a children's home employee who is also known as Nency, has been accused of illegally imprisoning seven-year-old Ondrej Mauer and nine-year-old Jakub. The boys' mother and aunt have already been charged with abusing the children. They face between eight and twelve years in jail if convicted.
The CMKOS umbrella trade union group has sent Czech MPs a list of its objections to a proposed financial reform package, which is being discussed by parliament. The union is opposed to the extensive tax and social welfare reforms, which the government says is necessary to reduce the public deficit. Several thousand union members are expected to attend a demonstration against the reforms on Wenceslas Square on Saturday.
Czech international footballer David Rozehnal is being transferred to Newcastle United. The twenty-six-year-old defender's manager told the press that Newcastle had agreed terms for a four year contract with the player who will be moving to England from French club Paris St. Germain. The fee for the player has not yet been disclosed.
A court in South Africa has delayed the extradition hearing of fugitive Czech billionaire Radovan Krejcir until next Tuesday. The court deferred the case because one of the Czech police officers called upon to give evidence at the hearing was unable to attend because he is getting married. Mr Krejcir who is wanted in this country for various crimes including conspiracy to murder and extortion had eluded the authorities for two years before he was arrested wearing a disguise in South Africa two months ago. He is contesting the Czech Republic's efforts to have him extradited.
Authorities have banned relatives from visiting two children at the centre of a much publicised child abuse case. Seven-year-old Ondrej and his nine-year-old brother Jakub were taken into care last month after Ondrej was found naked and tied up in a cupboard in his home. Brno City Court issued the ban on visits after the home they were staying in reported that the boys had been distressed after being visited by relatives.
Electricity companies have said that power supplies in eastern Bohemia have been seriously disrupted by storm damage. A spokesperson for the Czech Republic's biggest electricity company CEZ said on Friday that there had been hundreds of power cuts throughout the region as a result of the tempestuous weather. Power supplies have also been disrupted in central Bohemia and southern Moravia, but normal service should be resumed by Friday evening. Meanwhile one of the country's biggest insurance firms Ceska pojistovna says it has received more than 500 insurance claims in the wake of the storm. It estimates the damages involved to be in the region of 50 million Czech crowns (2.4 million US dollars).
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