Prague's Ruzyne Airport should be privatized by the end of 2008 at the latest, according to Transport Minister Ales Rebicek. The money from its privatization -estimated at around 80 billion crowns - will be channeled into the state fund for infrastructure. It is not yet clear how many shares the state will want to retain.
Zdenek Macal, chief conductor of the Czech Philharmonic has announced he is leaving his post. He made the announcement in Austria where the Czech Philharmonic is currently performing without elaborating on the reasons behind his decision. The ensembles' spokesman Daniel Sobotka said that Mr. Macal's decision may have been triggered by a series of poor reviews.
Sparta Prague striker Libor Dosek has been called up for the Euro 2008 qualifying match against Ireland on Wednesday in Prague to replace the suspended Jan Koller, a Czech team spokesman said Sunday. Coach Karel Bruckner took the decision on Saturday after the 3-0 win against San Marino, during which the Monaco striker Koller received a second yellow card.
Insurance companies are assessing the scale of the damage caused by this week's regional floods in north-east Moravia. Preliminary estimates speak of tens of millions of crowns in damages. Over three hundred people were evacuated from their homes in the Bruntal region and hundreds of basements, cellars and gardens have been ruined. No casualties are reported and water-levels have since receded in all parts of the country allowing people to return to their homes and start clean-up work.
The Association of Czech GPs has urged general practitioners not to sign any new contracts with insurance companies until an agreement has been reached on higher fees for medical services. The association has called a one-day strike on September 19th in demand of higher fees. Jan Jelinek, spokesman of the Association of Czech GPs said that primary care is deeply undervalued as a result of which many doctors are running into financial problems and are unable to provide patients with quality care. GPs have been negotiating with insurance companies directly but so far with no result. This strike will be their third protest action this year.
A team of American experts who have been inspecting the potential site of the radar base in the Brdy locality say that if an agreement is reached they would not want to reside in barracks formerly used by Soviet troops who were stationed in the country following the crushing of the Prague Spring reforms. The US team said they would prefer to build their own housing facilities from scratch. The villages bordering on the locality are vehemently opposed to the US radar and the Czech government has attempted to soften their stand with the promise of millions of crowns in state subsidies.
Rail traffic between Prague and Olomouc was disrupted for several hours on mid-day Sunday by a fire at Zabreh railway station. Firefighters from neighboring localities soon had the blaze under control but damage to the control room caused problems in directing traffic. No one was injured in the fire which reportedly started in the station's main building. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
The health authorities say that the Czech Republic is facing a severe shortage of dentists. Dentists are aging and in many parts of the country they have no one to hand over their practices to. In south Bohemia and Moravia it is already hard to find a dentist willing to accept new patients and some people wait as long as six months for a check-up. The Czech Republic which has ten million inhabitants currently has seven thousand dentists, whose average age in 55. A hundred of them are aged between 70 and 99.
A survey conducted by the US Opinion Research Corporation indicates that the majority of Czechs are opposed to the idea of hosting a US radar base on Czech territory. According to the survey results 51 percent of respondents were strongly opposed to the idea, and another ten percent remain unsure. Only a third of Czechs said they approve of the plan. 57 percent of respondents said they did not believe that a US radar base in the country would increase the Czech Republic's security. Washington wants to expand its missile defense system to central Europe and would like to deploy a radar base in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in neighboring Poland. Neither country has as yet made a final decision.
The Slovak authorities say they have uncovered containers of illegally imported Czech waste and have launched criminal proceedings against unknown perpetrators. The waste - 18,000 liters of used oil - was reportedly brought in by a lorry with Czech number plates and left on the outskirts of a farming cooperative in central Slovakia. Policemen working on the case say that they suspect the perpetrators planned to dump a total of 300,000 liters of used oil on the site. In May of this year Slovak customs officials detained two lorries carrying illegal waste from Austria.
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