Police have arrested a 55-year-old man accused of threatening to poison drinking water in Prague. The arrest comes after heightened security measures were put in place at reservoirs and water treatment plants after the mayor of Prague received the anonymous threat on Tuesday. The blackmailer threatened to poison the capital's water with cyanide and mercury. The letter contained a demand for an unspecified amount of money.
Meanwhile doctors serving at the Czech Army field hospital in the Iraqi city of Basra say they are seeking donors to pay for medicines for sick children there. One doctor serving with the unit said a lack of medicines at Basra Children's Hospital meant only a limited number of operations - including blood transfusions - could be performed.
The Health Ministry has said around a dozen seriously ill Iraqi children will receive medical treatment in the Czech Republic. The first three patients will arrive on August 7th and will be admitted to Prague's Motol Hospital. A spokeswoman said the hospital was ready to admit as many children as necessary. The treatment will be paid for by the Czech government. The children are suffering from a number of illnesses including heart conditions.
Bailiffs have seized assets belonging to the Fischer travel agency, which went into forced administration last week. Bailiffs seized the company's Prague headquarters, a branch office in Ostrava and also Vaclav Fischer's private villa. Mr Fischer, until recently a senator, built up the company into the country's most successful travel agencies, with its own charter airline. However the company has been in difficulty for some time, and according to media reports owes Czech Airlines, the Czech Airport Authority and Komercni Banka more than 15 million dollars.
Police say they have arrested a fifty-five-year old man suspected of threatening to poison drinking water in Prague this week. A police spokeswoman said the man is suspected of scaremongering and blackmail. An anonymous blackmailer wrote to the mayor of Prague Pavel Bem on Tuesday threatening to poison drinking water in pipes in Prague with cyanide and mercury unless given an unspecified amount of money. If convicted, the man is facing up to three years in prison.
The mayor of the northern town of Usti nad Labem Radek Vonka has called on the Cervenak family to use the money they are to receive on the basis of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to pay back the debts they have with the town. The family's lawyer Klara Vesela-Samkova rejected this, saying she will not recommend to the Cervanks to do so. The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights confirmed on Tuesday that the Czech state had agreed to pay the Romany family an out of court settlement after a case they took was dealt with too slowly by the Czech courts. The Cervenak family are to receive 900,000 crowns in the settlement. The family took a case in 1993 against the town of Usti nad Labem, after losing their state flat when they briefly moved to Slovakia. According to the Usti and Labem town hall, the Cervenaks owe 30,000 crowns in rent and another 100,000 crowns in penalties for delay in payment.
The district court in Usti nad Orlici, East Bohemia, where the descendant of a noble family Franz Ulrich Kinski won four property feuds, has cancelled two scheduled hearings, Mr Kinsky's lawyer told journalists on Friday, adding that the judge had passed the case to the Constitutional Court. Since 2001, Mr Kinsky has filed a total of 157 lawsuits, seeking the recognition of his ownership of large amount of property. Franz Ulrich Kinsky is the descendant of a noble family whose property was confiscated after World War Two on the basis of the so-called Benes decrees, which legalised the confiscation of the property of those who collaborated with the Nazi occupation. In order to prevent Czech courts from passing contradictory verdicts in Mr Kinsky's cases, politicians have called on the Supreme Court to issue a unifying attitude. The Court is to produce it by the end of August.
Czech power producer CEZ said on Friday it would shut down for almost a month the first of two reactors at its nuclear power plant Temelin for planned maintenance work. The shutdown will last from August 2 to August 29. CEZ, which covers 60 percent of the domestic market and claims to be Europe's second biggest electricity exporter, operates two 1,000 megawatt reactors at Temelin, some 60 km north of the Austrian border. Opponents, mainly in the nuclear-free Austria say Temelin's mixture of Soviet design and Western operating technology poses a risk to safety; Temelin's operator CEZ says the plant is safe.
President Vaclav Klaus, who is recovering from a recent illness at the presidential summer residence in Lany, central Bohemia, will stay there for another week, according to the Press Department of the Presidential Office. President Klaus is also expected to appoint new constitutional judges at the Lany Chateau and also charge Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla with taking over some duties of the justice minister since current Minister Pavel Rychetsky is leaving his post to become a Constitutional Court judge.
President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment to the law on the state budget for 2003. The amendment, passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier this month, raises the budget deficit to 10.6 billion crowns and both spending and revenues by another 2 billion crowns. The 10.6 billion crowns is the compensation the Czech Republic was ordered to pay the US company CME for failing to protect its investment in the commercial channel TV Nova.
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