Daily news summary News

07-02-2005

Prime Minister to undergo security screening

Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has said he will undergo security screening to clarify his financial circumstances. In the past few weeks Mr. Gross has been under mounting pressure to explain how he paid for his luxury flat in Prague but has so far failed to do so in a satisfactory manner. The matter is to be discussed in Parliament on Thursday, where opposition deputies are preparing to grill the Prime Minister regarding the origin of the money with which he bought his luxury home. The opposition Civic Democrats say that unless the Prime Minister can provide a satisfactory answer he should resign from office. A petition demanding Mr. Gross' resignation appeared on the Internet on Monday.

Deputy director of Prague police commits suicide

The deputy director of the Prague police Zdenek Janicek has committed suicide. According to the CTK press agency Janicek hanged himself in the cellar of his home. It is not yet clear what motivated his actions. The Interior Ministry has refused to comment on the case and the police have placed an embargo on further information, pending the outcome of an investigation. Janicek was deputy director for criminal investigations. A high placed police officer, who requested anonymity said he had spoken to him recently and could not see any possible motive.

Flu epidemic hits northern parts of Czech Republic

A flu epidemic has hit the northern parts of the Czech Republic. Hospitals in the towns of Liberec and Jablonec are closed to visitors and doctors have warned people to avoid crowded places. Other parts of the Czech Republic report a high incidence of viral infections. Children and elderly people are considered particularly vulnerable. Thanks to the half-term holidays there is no need to close down schools and doctors hope that the cold weather will prevent a further spread of the flu epidemic.

Kraus new head of deputies' group

Michal Kraus was elected chairman of the deputies' group of the ruling Social Democrats on Monday, when he won the third round of a secret ballot. He replaces Petr Ibl who resigned from the post in January after the Prime Minister criticized the group's performance. Michal Kraus is known to be a staunch ally of Prime Minister Stanislav Gross.

Five serious bidders for Telecom

The Czech financial group PPF, together with Slovakia's J and T and Inway, has placed the highest bid in a tender for the state's 51% stake in the telecommunications operator Telecom, according to an unnamed source close to the commission assessing the bids. Under the conditions of the tender, financial groups were not allowed to bid alone but had to team up with telecom operators. The source said five bidders had placed bids, some of them offering more than 69 billion crowns -around 3 billion US dollars for the majority share in Telecom. The ministerial commission which assessed the bids on Monday has recommended that the Cabinet should consider all five offers. The government has retained the option of selling the shares on financial markets if no direct sale has been agreed by the end of March.

Weather:

Tuesday is expected to be clear to partly cloudy with sunny intervals and day temperatures between O and 4 degrees Celsius.

07-02-2005