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.
Polish prosecutors investigating the purchase of the Czech Unipetrol oil group by Poland's PKN Orlen have asked for permission to question 15 people in the Czech Republic, a spokesperson for the Krakow state attorney's office said on Friday. Unofficial sources suggest the 15 include the Czech minister of finance, Bohuslav Sobotka, and former prime minister Stanislav Gross. The new management of PKN Orlen says it has uncovered evidence of secret payoffs to Czech politicians.
The lower house has voted to tighten regulations on seasonal sales in shops. Under the new legislation there would be set dates for the beginning and end of sales in chain stores. Furthermore, if goods are advertised at specially reduced prices retailers would have to either have sufficient numbers of the goods in stock, or announce how many they have.
The Czech football team will play Norway for a place in next year's World Cup finals in Germany. The first of two play-off games takes place in Oslo on November 12th, with the second in Prague or Teplice four days later. Czech coach Karel Bruckner said after Friday's draw that he was not familiar with the Norwegian team, but said the fact the second leg was at home would be an advantage for his players. The Czechs last reached the World Cup in 1990.
Forty-four percent of Czechs would be willing to pay extra in cash at doctors surgeries, according to a poll by the Median agency quoted in Friday's Mlada fronta Dnes. The governing Social Democrats are opposed to cash payments for medical treatment. However, doctors' leader David Rath - one of three candidates for the job of health minister - says he is in favour.
Representatives of a Polish prosecutor's office have met their Czech colleagues in Prague to discuss cooperation in the investigation into alleged corruption in the privatisation of the Czech petrochemical company Unipetrol, the Prague City State Attorney's Office said. According to unofficial information, the Polish prosecutors will also want to interrogate leading Czech politicians, including Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and ex-prime minister Stanislav Gross, both from the ruling Social Democrats.
The Czech Republic has banned all imports of live poultry, birds and related commodities from Romania where tests have confirmed the bird flu virus in farm poultry. The Czech State Veterinary Office says it is stepping up preventative measures. The Health Ministry has held talks with pharmaceutical companies about the supply of some 2 million vaccines against bird flu, which will be developed once a human-to-human transmittable virus emerges.
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