The Transport Ministry says it wants to increase the maximum speed limit on motorways to 160 km/h from the current 130 km/h. A ministry spokesman said the proposal should be included in a new road law amendment this autumn. A recent survey suggests half of Czech drivers think the current speed limit contributes to greater safety, the other fifty percent think its effect is negligible.
The anti-corruption unit of the Czech police force says it is investigating the case of alleged corruption concerning the acquisition of Gripen fighter jets from the British-Swedish consortium BAE Systems/SAAB for the Czech air force. They say new facts and statements have emerged that need to be examined. Last week, the Swedish media reported that several politicians were bribed with the help of middlemen.
Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer is due to meet Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek on Tuesday to discuss the Czech Temelin nuclear power plant, the Czech Republic's presidency of the EU as well as economic issues. Mr Gusenbauer, who is coming to the Czech Republic for a one day official visit, is also due to meet President Vaclav Klaus and the chairmen of both houses of parliament. He is also going to meet Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek to talk about Czech-Austrian relations and the stationing of a US radar base on Czech territory.
Over two thousand bridges that are used for traffic in the country are in very bad condition, the daily Pravo reports. The paper quotes the spokesperson for the Czech Directorate for Roads and Motorways as saying there is not enough money available for repair work as it has to be financed out of regional budgets. Some 44 percent of the country's 49,000 kilometres of secondary roads are in hazardous condition, Pravo warns.
The leader of the Social Democrats, Jiri Paroubek, has blamed former party head Milos Zeman for the current dispute between the Social Democrats and Prague lawyer Zdenek Altner over the party's allegedly huge debt, Monday's Pravo writes. Jiri Paroubek told Pravo that it was Milos Zeman who signed the contract with Mr Altner in 1997 and he was also party chairman until 2001.
Czech Minister without Portfolio Dzamila Stehlikova of the Green Party says discussion about child adoptions by homosexual couples should be launched in the Czech Republic. In an on-line interview for the Novinky.cz news server Ms Stehlikova said same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children in the future. She said one reason why a broad debate should be launched is the large number of children who are growing up in institutions. The Czech Republic legalised registered partnerships of homosexual couples in July last year.
The trade unions at Czech Television are calling on some of the station's top management, including general director Jiri Janecek, and most members of the Czech Television Council to resign. The trade unions say the management has been breaking the law for several years by allowing Frantisek Lambert to be programming director even though he had been a member of the pre-1989 Communist Party's armed force, the People's Militia.
The opposition Social Democrats are offering 126 million crowns (5.8
million USD) to Prague lawyer Zdenek Altner, party chairman Jiri
Paroubek said on Monday. Mr Altner says he is owed 93 million crowns
(4.3 million USD) from the Social Democrats for services he gave them
in a legal dispute over the ownership of the party's headquarters seven
years ago and that the amount has now risen to 19 billion crowns due to
fines and late-payment penalties.
Zdenek Altner has filed a bankruptcy petition against the Social Democrats and says he will not accept an out-of-court settlement. The CTK news agency reports that many members of the Social Democratic Party are worried about the future existence of the party as they fear impending bankruptcy.
Prague Municipal Court has decided to return the case of former health minister Marie Souckova, who was acquitted last year of breach of trust and abuse of public office by a lower court, for reappraisal. Ms Souckova is being prosecuted for signing a contract between the Health Ministry and lawyer Zdenek Novacek which concerned legal aid in the state's dispute with the Diag Human company. The contract was allegedly disadvantageous for the state. It promised Mr Novacek 10 million crowns for representing the state and another 170 million if he won the case. If found guilty, Marie Souckova faces three to ten years in prison.
Hundreds of people have marked the fifty-ninth anniversary of the
communist putsch in Czechoslovakia by gathering on Prague's Old Town
Square to commemorate the victims of Communism. Speaking on the same
balcony of the Kinsky Palace from where Communist leader Klement
Gottwald gave his first address to the nation after taking power 59
years ago, the president of the Confederation of Political Prisoners,
Nadezda Kavalirova, asked Czechs to call for a ban of the Communist
Party. The Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia on February 25
1948, starting forty years of totalitarian rule.
Dozens of people, including Senate chairman Premysl Sobotka, also gathered on Sunday in Prague's Mala Strana district to commemorate a student march to Prague Castle, which took place on the same day as the communist putsch in 1948. The march was crushed by the police as it was in protest at Communist rule and in support of the then president Edvard Benes. Its participants were later persecuted by the regime.
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