Measures introduced against the risk of bird flu last year cost Czech poultry farmers a billion CZK (almost 5m USD), Hospodarske noviny reported on Monday. Last week the state veterinary authority said remaining extraordinary measures against bird-flu would come to an end on May 1. But they were not the only reason for the farmers' losses: there was also an increase in cheap imports from other states where people were afraid to eat poultry.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek says the government is considering
including some of the ideas of rebel Civic Democrat MP Vlastimil Tlusty
in a major package of tax and social welfare reforms. Mr Tlusty,
briefly finance minister in a previous government, has been threatening
to vote against the bill. After otherwise inconclusive talks on Sunday,
the prime minister said Mr Tlusty had not only explained his
objections, but suggested how they could be resolved. However, Mr
Topolanek said the cabinet would not compromise on the issue of the
public finance deficit.
Meanwhile, Mr Tlusty is planning to put forward his own plan to reform the public finances on Thursday. The right-of-centre coalition needs his support for its reform bill to pass a vote in the lower house. Prime Minister Topolanek has staked the future of the government on the reforms. He says if the bill fails he will push for early elections.
Twelve percent of telephone users in the Czech Republic have abandoned their fixed-line telephones in the last year alone, according to a survey released by Eurobarometer. It found that over half of Czech households only make calls on mobile phones - the highest percentage in the European Union, the poll suggests. Only 7 percent of Czech families rely completely on fixed line phones and do not use a mobile.
The price of shares on the Prague Stock Exchange rose by an average of five percent in April, after growing at the same pace the previous month. Brokers have reported strong investor interest, with new records being broken almost every other day. The healthy figures come on the back of companies announcing improved economic results, dividend payments and foreign acquisitions.
Three members of a Dutch family are in hospital with serious injuries
after being attacked by several large Bandog dogs in Karlovy Vary. The
married couple and their seven-year-old son were taken to a hospital in
the west Bohemian town with injuries to their bodies and broken bones. All
three have undergone operations but none are in danger of their lives,
a hospital spokesperson. The father is being flown to Plzen for plastic
surgery on his hand.
A police spokesperson said it was not clear how the tourists were attacked by the Bandogs, which are known as a ferocious breed. But it is believed they were visiting the dogs' breeder when the incident occurred.
Fire fighters around the Czech Republic are on standby ahead of Monday night's paleni carodejnic (witch-burning). The ancient celebration takes place every year on the night of April 30, and welcomes in the spring. A spokesperson appealed for the public to act responsibly and adhere to basic safety rules. Those planning to light large bonfires have been urged to inform local fire brigades in advance.
The opposition Social Democrats are preparing to file a criminal complaint against two rebel MPs who supported the government in a confidence vote. Social Democrat boss Jiri Paroubek said he would instruct the party's lawyers this week to finish readying charges against former members Milos Melcak and Michal Pohanka. Mr Paroubek accused the two of treachery and corruption. Their crossing the house to vote for Prime Minister Topolanek's government in January brought to an end a long period of political stalemate following elections last June.
The first division of the Czech football league could be set for a dramatic finish, after Sparta Prague failed to beat Banik Ostrava on Monday evening. With that game ending 2:2, Sparta are now in second with 49 points, behind Liberec on 50. Slavia Prague are third on 48, with Mlada Boleslav one point behind them. There are five more rounds between now and the end of the season.
Two people were killed in a pile-up on the D1 motorway from Prague to Brno on Saturday night. The accident was caused by a herd of cattle suddenly cutting across the motorway. The police are questioning workers at a nearby farm from which the animals escaped in connection with possible negligence. Collisions with animals are not unusual on Czech roads but they are mostly caused by wild animals, particularly deer and wild boar.
The police have once again proposed filing charges against six former IPB bank managers for breach of trust. The financiers allegedly ordered a series of dubious bank transactions in an effort to rid the IPB bank of four bad loans. They lent nine billion crowns to firms tied with IPB but the bank never got the money back. The police first proposed filing charges against them in May of 2006 but the State Attorney returned the case, citing lack of evidence.
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