Hens which died on a farm in east Bohemia had the dangerous H5N1 strain of
bird flu, health officials said on Wednesday. The farm is just four
kilometres from the spot where the disease was also discovered last week,
in what was the first case of any kind of bird flu detected on a Czech
poultry farm. Meanwhile, officials said a dead swan found in Moravia also
had bird flu. It has not yet been ascertained what strain of the disease
the bird had.
The minister of agriculture, Petr Gandalovic, said measures aimed at preventing the further spread of bird flu had been introduced on the whole territory of the Czech Republic. The minister also said he was worried the outbreaks would have a negative impact on the country's poultry industry.
The European Commission is going to extend until 2010 an exemption under which construction work in the Czech Republic is in the lower, five-percent value added tax bracket, the Czech Press Agency reported. The exemption had been due to come to an end in January, and there were fears of a subsequent rise in house prices. The EC is due to officially announce the news next week.
Three Czechs are among the 22 people confirmed dead after their small plane crashed in Cambodia on Monday. There were no survivors. Cambodian authorities said bad weather was the most likely cause of the crash, which occurred in a mountainous area. The Russian made twin-propeller plane was travelling between two tourist destinations in the country. The Czech Foreign Ministry said the Czech victims were two men and a woman, aged 19 to 21.
The Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has filmed part of her latest movie Wanted at Krivoklat castle in central Bohemia. The British actor Terence Stamp also took part in Tuesday's shoot, the Gothic castle's warden told reporters. Ms Jolie, her husband Brad Pitt and their children have been in Prague on and off since May during shooting of Wanted. Her co-star Morgan Freeman, meanwhile, has been spotted playing golf near the Czech capital.
The deputy mayor of the Brno suburb of Kralovo Pole Rene Pelan has on his own initiative removed a hammer and sickle symbol from a memorial to Soviet soldiers, TV Prima reported. Brno City Hall and the Defence Ministry had earlier this year decided to replace the communist symbols, which had been taken down in the early 1990s, during renovation of the 1946 monument. However, councillors in Kralovo Pole were opposed to the return of the hammer and sickle. Mr Pelan's removal of the symbols prompted clashes between supporters and opponents of his action at an unveiling ceremony on Wednesday. Police are investigating whether the local official broke the law by taking them down.
A Czech pilot is under investigation for sleeping in the cockpit while flying a Travel Service plane from Tenerife to Prague two months ago, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. Furthermore, the pilot was allegedly alone in the cockpit at the time, which contravenes regulations. When the sleeping pilot's Boeing 737 appeared without authorisation in Swiss air space, the Swiss authorities sent fighter jets to investigate, the paper said. The airline Travel Service denies the latter allegation.
A row over the privatization of ten health care facilities in central Bohemia may reach the European Commission. The opposition Social Democrats say they are prepared to file a complaint with the European Commission unless the sales are halted. The party mainly objects to the price for which the hospitals are being sold calling it daylight robbery. Under the agreements reached the region will receive 466 million crowns for the hospitals but the leading opposition party maintains that their value is an estimated 1.2 billion crowns. Richard Dolejs, head of the party's central Bohemian branch says the region gave preferential treatment to selected business entities which is at variance with European law.
The investigation of the corruption case involving Deputy Prime Minister
Jiri Cunek will be completed sometime in August, according to Arif
Salichov, the state attorney who recently took over the case. The state
attorney said he would ask for new evidence, review all the given
testimonies and hear a number of new witnesses before making up his mind
whether to file charges against Mr. Cunek.
The police have accused the deputy prime minister of accepting a half a
million crown bribe while he was mayor of the town of Vsetin, north
Moravia in 2002.
The case has rocked Czech politics for the past six months, with the deputy prime minister disregarding calls for his resignation and insisting that he is innocent of any wrong doing. The case even provoked a motion of no-confidence in the centre right government last week, which it survived. Prime Minister Topolanek has said he would dismiss Jiri Cunek only if corruption charges were filed against him.
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