The Foreigners Police in Prague are to extend their opening hours from the beginning of next week, in order to deal with extremely long queues of foreigners applying for residence in the Czech Republic. The Interior Ministry said on Friday that the chaotic situation at the police's office on Prague's Olsanska Street had been due to both a rise in the number of applicants and new regulations which accompanied accession to the European Union.
A delegation from the Czech lower house led by chairman Lubomir Zaoralek has begun a three-day visit to North Korea. The Czech MPs are due to discuss both a possible resumption of six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear programme and co-operation between their two countries with officials in Pyongyang. Mr Zaoralek is the most senior official from Prague to visit North Korea since the foundation of the Czech Republic.
A Prague court has ordered four men found guilty of a racially-motivated attack against a Roma student in 2002, to pay the victim compensation of 25, 000 crowns each - the equivalent of around four thousand dollars US. All four have also been ordered to provide written letters of apology. In October 2002 the four youths, the oldest of whom was 19 years of age, attacked the Roma student near a Prague metro station. The student, Marek Polak, suffered cuts, bruises, and a concussion. His attackers all received suspended sentences, the longest: three years in prison.
Czech officials and politicians have reacted heatedly to Cuba's expulsion
of a Czech senator, demanding an explanation. Senator Karel Schwarzenberg
was thrown out of the country late Thursday, soon after arriving to meet
with Cuban dissidents. So far, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has reacted
by saying the expulsion was proof the Czech Republic's tough stance on
Cuba was justified. Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka, meanwhile, has
described the expulsion as "a blatant violation of international
Karel Schwarzenberg is the former head of the presidential office under former Czech president Vaclav Havel, himself a strong critic of Fidel Castro's regime. The European Union is to decide soon whether to reinstate diplomatic sanctions against Cuba on the basis of human rights violations. The Czech Republic has been pushing the EU not to soften its stance.
Both Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek and the chairman of the Social
Democratic Party, Stanislav Gross, have denied they might face each
other in an eventual showdown for their party's post of electoral
leader. Speaking together with Mr Gross on Friday the prime minister
said no conflict existed between himself and Mr Gross, who he considers
a personal friend. While he did express an interest in being named his
party's election leader, Mr Paroubek stressed the post could fall to a
number of highly placed Social Democrats, including Culture Minister
Pavel Dostal or Education Minister Petra Buzkova. Both he and Mr Gross
said their party would conduct extensive research & analysis to decide
on the best person for the job.
The Social Democrats, along with the Czech Republic's other political parties, have roughly twelve months in which to prepare for national elections next year.
A 38-year-old woman and her 13-year-old son had to be treated in hospital on Friday after being attacked at their cottage by their pet dog. For unknown reasons the animal, a Staffordshire bull terrier, went wild and attacked its owners, first the boy, and then his mother as she came to help. Both suffered serious injury to their hands. In the end police arriving at the scene were forced to shoot the animal. The incident took place at a cottage colony near Brno.
The prime minister, the health minister Milada Emmerova, and the heads of Czech health insurance companies failed to reach an agreement over doctors' pay on Friday, although a decision may come as early as one week's time. Doctors would like to see higher remuneration for their work, something which insurance companies are warning could raise health insurance debt from 10 to 34 billion crowns, approximately 1.5 billion US. Without a raise the head of the Czech Doctors' Association David Rath has suggested doctors could curb the number of patient - doctor meetings without having a negative effect on the quality of individual treatment, lessening the work load. The prime minister, however, has already said he was not interested in the idea of patients receiving less care. All the parties involved are expected to meet again next week to decide the issue.
The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, signed a bill into law on Thursday
that requires all cash register activities of small businesses to be
recorded and monitored. The lower house of Parliament proposed to
monitor cash registers in order to help the government fight against
the grey economy. Small retailers and restaurants will be obliged to
use the registers as of January 2007. Those who would fail to comply
could be fined up to half a million Czech crowns.
Also on Thursday, the President has refused to sign bills into law with which the government hoped to simplify the work inspection system.
The government of New Zealand has decided to increase the number of Czechs permitted to work in the country. Under a bilateral agreement on work stays, which took effect in March, one hundred Czechs between the ages of 18 and 30 were to be granted short-term work permits of up to one year in New Zealand. That number is to be raised to one thousand as of July.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek held meetings with Health Minister Milada Emmerova and the head of the Czech Medical Chamber David Rath on Thursday to discuss the financial state of the health sector. According to Mr Paroubek the health ministry's most recent plans to solve the financial crisis look promising and could save billions of Czech crowns in the ailing public health-insurance system. The ministry's proposal is to be discussed by the coalition parties within the next two weeks.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket
HN: Developers aiming to sell co-living concept in Prague