Ex president Vaclav Havel and retired South African bishop Desmond Tutu have called for a UN initiative to bring reforms to military-ruled Burma or Myanmar. They say that the situation there is far more serious that in other countries where the Security Council had previously intervened, such as Afghanistan or Rwanda. Mr. Havel and Bishop Desmond Tutu commissioned a special report showing how far the situation in Burma had deteriorated under the present regime and they appealed to the Security Council for immediate multilateral action.
Private physicians are threatening to go on strike in protest of the poor payment morale of some insurance companies, in particular the leading Czech insurance company VZP. Physicians say the situation has become untenable and is endangering their livelihood. They are considering closing their offices for three days during which time emergency medical care should be provided by hospital wards. The president of the Czech Doctors Association David Rath has offered to meet with the head of the VZP insurance company to discuss a way out of the company's dire financial situation.
Italy has asked the Czech authorities for the extradition of Luigi Putrone, a Sicilian mafia boss who had been convicted in absentia of a number of crimes committed in the 1980s and 1990s. They included the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old boy, the son of a Mafia informer. For at least the last five years Putrone had been living under an assumed name in the north Bohemian town of Usti nad Labem where he was arrested by Czech police last month.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek of the Social Democrats has said the election results in neighbouring Germany could be motivating for his party and inspiring for the voters. Prime Minister Paroubek emphasised the fact that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats got only three seats fewer than the Christian Democrats whom pre-election opinion polls had suggested would be the clear winners. Mr Paroubek also said such a balanced election result in Germany was favourable for Czech national interests and could not be expected to bring any changes in Czech-German relations.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has asked Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan to explain why police did not intervene during Saturday's concert of neo-Nazi bands in south Bohemia, although racist slogans and the "Sieg Heil" Nazi salute were chanted at the concert. The lower house defence and security committee will discuss the matter on Tuesday.
Czech writer Pavel Kohout and his wife Jelena Masinova failed with their complaint against the Czech Republic over protracted court proceedings, presented to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, the daily Hospodarske noviny wrote on Monday. Mr Kohout and his wife complained about the length of court proceedings deciding on the copyright for a Czechoslovak film on which they participated in the 1960s. The Strasbourg court ruled that the proceedings, which lasted for seven years, were not groundlessly protracted. Until now, 61 complaints against the Czech Republic have been lodged with the Strasbourg court and the country won only four cases including this latest one.
A poll by the STEM agency suggests that if elections were held today in the Czech Republic, the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats would be the winners, with 32.8 percent of the vote. The ruling Social Democrats would come second with 21.1 percent, followed by the Communists with 13.5 percent. The next general elections in the Czech Republic are scheduled for mid-next year.
Fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir says he is not planning to return from the Seychelles to face trial in the Czech Republic, but says he is willing to co-operate with the Czech courts. He told TV Nova he wanted to clear his name of charges of fraud and planning the murder of a customs officer. In another interview, for Czech Television, Mr Krejcir recounted how he had managed to escape from Czech police two months ago. His wife is also in the Seychelles, where they both have citizenship. She faces charges of money laundering.
The Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, is due to meet the United States vice president, Dick Cheney, and the secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice, during a six-day working visit to the US which begins on Monday. Mr Klaus is also set to open an exhibition in New York dedicated to the 14th century Czech king and holy roman emperor Charles IV.
Police did not intervene during a concert by neo-Nazi rock bands in a pub near Strakonice, south Bohemia on Saturday night. Hundreds of police officers were on guard outside the concert, which was attended by around 500 skinheads and described by anti-Nazi activists as the biggest such gathering this year in the Czech Republic.
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