Meanwhile Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has confirmed he has been holding talks with former diplomat and European Commissioner Pavel Telicka regarding the replacement of the outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn. Mr Paroubek said Pavel Telicka could also head the Social Democrats' list of candidates in the Prague constituency.
The Polish petrochemical company PKN Orlen has agreed to pay an additional 1.6 billion crowns for the Czech government's stake in the Czech chemical group Unipetrol it bought earlier this year. This will make the amount PKN Orlen has paid for the share in Unipetrol almost 14.7 billion crowns or (595 million dollars). The amount was calculated by a recent audit at Unipetrol.
The Czech Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn said on Monday he would step down at the end of the year and quit politics, just six months ahead of the country's general elections. Mr Jahn, in charge of economic affairs in the cabinet, had been due to head the Social Democrats' list of candidates in Prague although he himself is not a party member. Commentators say Mr Jahn's move was motivated by a shift further to the left by the Social Democrats, shown by a more frequent cooperation with the little-reformed Communist Party in parliament in recent months. Mr Jahn denied this on Monday at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek who ruled out direct cooperation with the Communists.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek has said he is considering two candidates for the post of health minister: the president of the Czech Doctor's Association, David Rath, and deputy health minister David Koskuba. Speaking on a Sunday TV discussion programme the prime minister said he had asked both men to put forward plans for the financial stabilisation of the health sector, including the deficit of the country's largest health insurer, VZP. The prime minister indicated a final decision would be taken next week.
A new poll released by the STEM agency has suggested that only minority of Czechs share Christian Democrat leader Miloslav Kalousek's view that the Communist Party is a "criminal" organisation. Of more than 600 questioned, 46 percent agreed. The poll found that younger members of the population with higher educations remain sceptical of Communist Party intentions, while many older citizens believe the party will become more acceptable for voters under the party's new chairman Vojtech Filip.
The chairman of the right-of-centre Civic Democrats' deputy group,
Vlastimil Tlusty, has revealed that he and several other members of his
party have filed a criminal complaint against Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek
and two members of the cabinet, as well as a former aide, in connection
with the privatisation of the Czech oil concern Unipetrol. According to
the MPs the prime minister played a role in the privatisation at a time
when he was still at City Hall. The prime minister has dismissed the move
Last year the Polish PKN Orlen bought 63 percent shares in the Czech oil giant - a deal which has since been dogged by allegations of corruption. On Friday Polish prosecutors investigating the purchase asked for permission to question over a dozen individuals in the Czech Republic including former prime minister Stanislav Gross. The new management of PKN Orlen has also said it has uncovered new evidence of secret payoffs to Czech politicians.
The Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda has said that the Czech
Republic will ask international organisations like the OECD - the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development - to put
pressure on the Seychelles in connection with the case of fugitive
businessman Radovan Krejcir. Earlier this year the Czech-born Krejcir
escaped to the Seychelles after facing charges of fraud and conspiracy
to murder in the Czech Republic. Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday the
foreign minister said he would push for the Seychelles being
"blacklisted" by organisations like the OECD; earlier the Seychelles
stated Mr Krejcir would not face extradition, having obtained
Seychelles citizenship in 1996.
The foreign minister suggested an unfavourable listing of the country by the OECD would be a warning for investors, theoretically pressuring the Seychelles to re-evaluate Mr Krejcir's case.
National football side manager Vlastimil Kostal and team coach Karel
Bruckner have welcomed a decision by former team captain Pavel Nedved
to return for two matches against Norway in the final play-off
preceding the World Cup. Nedved, who retired last year but plays for
Italy's Juventus Turin, announced the desire to help his country
through the final qualification games. The star midfielder has made no
decision on whether to return for the actual World Cup next year,
should the Czech Republic win.
The Czechs, currently ranked 4th in the world by FIFA, have been fairly successful in European Championships but last played in the World Cup in 1990.
Following warnings by the European Union on the possibility of a bird-flu
pandemic, common flu vaccines in the Czech Republic have sold out.
Pharmacies throughout the country sold out their vaccines in a single day,
with pharmaceutical companies promising new batches in the coming week.
However, officials have warned vaccines are only effective against the
common flu - not the deadly bird virus. The government, meanwhile, has
ordered an additional 600,000 does of Tamiflu vaccine - said to be
effective against bird flu - at a cost of 600 million crowns.
The purchase is part of the country's emergency plan, following the European Commission's confirmation that the deadly strain of bird flu, known as H5N1, had been identified in cases in both Turkey and Romania.
Forgotten Czech net bag makes a comeback
Iconic Czech brands that survived competition from the West after the fall of communism
Czechs and Germans in 1930s Czechoslovakia: a complex picture
Cold War “king of Šumava” story brought to life in new film by Irish director
Unions: Strike Wednesday will hit most Czech schools