Czech Environment Minister Libor Ambrozek was on board a plane that had to make an emergency landing this weekend. The Boeing plane was operated by Germany's Lufthansa airline. Mr Ambrozek, who was returning from an official visit to China, said on Tuesday, the plane was heading for Frankfurt but - an hour after take-off from Hong Kong - landed in Bangkok as the pilot detected a problem with one of the engines.
The opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats have decided not to call
a vote of no-confidence in parliament against the coalition government.
Instead, they plan to push for a parliamentary investigation into the
privatisation of Unipetrol, which was finalised earlier this year. The
government's 63 percent stake in the gas company was acquired by
Poland's PKN Orlen but evidence has surfaced, suggesting a number of
high ranking politicians from the ruling Social Democrats were bribed
in the privatisation deal.
A Polish Parliamentary commission, which has been looking into the case, released a report on Monday, stating that PKN Orlen paid some 180 million euros less for Unipetrol than an equally credible company was willing to pay. The Civic Democrats hope a Czech parliamentary commission will uncover why the less profitable offer was accepted.
The Prague High Court of Appeals has found the 74 year old man, who shot dead a Nigerian consul in Prague two years ago, guilty of attempted murder but lowered his sentence from eight to five years in prison. The pensioner lost his life savings in a Nigerian oil investment scam. Blaming the Nigerian authorities, he stormed into the embassy in Prague and shot the consul and injured a receptionist. He was given a lower sentence on account of his ill health.
The Supreme State Attorney, Marie Benesova, told Czech Radio on Tuesday
that the government will be holding a vote on whether to remove her from
office. According to Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek an ongoing bitter
dispute between Mrs Benesova and Interior Minister Pavel Nemec is
paralysing his administration. The interior minister called onto
government to remove Mrs Benesova from office earlier this year, after she
initiated a police investigation against his ministry.
Mrs Benesova heavily criticised a decision by Pavel Nemec to allow a member of the Qatari royal family, charged with the sexual abuse of underage girls, to be tried back home. The government is expected to discuss Mrs Benesova's dismissal this Thursday. She told Czech Radio that she has already been offered the post of deputy interior minister but has not accepted it.
South Korea's Hyundai is reportedly planning to build a car plant in the Czech Republic - an estimated investment of 1.9 billion US dollars. According to the internet server Patria, some 300,000 cars are to be manufactured at the plant annually. One of the cities Hyundai is considering is Moravia's Ostrava. Construction of the plant is to begin in May 2006.
Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek on Monday soundly rejected demands by the main opposition Civic Democratic Party that he step down to pave the way for early elections in December. Paroubek had said at the weekend elections could be held in February or March, about three months early, by passing a law that would shorten the government's term. He did so following signals from the leaders of the minor parties in his coalition government that they were willing to form a new government with the opposition Civic Democrats. Under the constitution, early elections may be held after Parliament rejects a confidence vote in the government three times. Prime Minister Paroubek has proposed adopting an amendment to the constitution allowing that process to be bypassed.
Two Czech police officials have been demoted for their poor handling of a neo-Nazi concert that took place in southern Bohemian a week ago Saturday. Some 500 Czech skinheads and extremists from other countries attended the concert in the town of Kretetice u Strakonice. According to a complaint by observers from the anti-racist group Tolerance, police monitored the event, but failed to intervene when participants shouted Nazi slogans, a criminal offence in the Czech Republic. The president of the police presidium, Vladislav Husak, on Monday said he has demoted for one year both the regional and district deputy department heads directly responsible for the police action. He cited their failure to deploy a sufficient number of officers and to receive evidence of illegal behaviour from the independent observers as factors.
Czech pharmacies will close their doors at noon on October 6 for one hour in support of a planned all-day strike by general practitioners. The actions have been called to protest the chronic failure of health insurers to reimburse medical professionals on time. For their part, insurers say they are two months or more behind in reimbursements because they receive too little state support to insure civil servants, the unemployed and retirees.
Swiss voters at the weekend supported a referendum in favour of easing restrictions on workers from new European Union member states, including the Czech Republic. Complete free movement of labour should take effect in 2011. The approval in Switzerland, which is not an EU member, came amid growing discontent among nations like Germany and France about immigration from Central and Eastern Europe. Currently, only the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands have fully opened their labour markets to new EU members.
In response to the call for his resignation, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek said that while he was ready to hold talks on an early election term he would not play by the Civic Democratic Party's scenario. The Civic Democrat's plan envisaged the Prime Minister resigning on Monday, then being asked to form a government three times and each time failing to win a vote of confidence in the Lower House. This would enable President Klaus to call early elections within 60 days. The Prime Minister said that he would accept the challenge of early elections only if they were called by the Civic Democrats and the Christian Democratic Party.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’