Daily news summary News

18-02-2005

Coalition parties to meet on Saturday, government crisis appears to be averted

The leadership of the three governing coalition parties are due to meet on Saturday morning in an effort to hammer out a new working relationship. In recent weeks, Prime Minister Stanislav Gross, who is also the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, has come under pressure from the opposition to resign over questions of how he financed the purchase of a luxury Prague flat. But Miroslav Kalousek, the leader of the Christian Democrats, a junior coalition party, had also called for Mr Gross to step down, and there was widespread speculation that the government could collapse.

Three Czech citizens have filed separate complaints against PM Gross over the funding of his luxury flat

Meanwhile, the State Attorney's Office will hand over two criminal complaints linked to the funding of Prime Minister Gross' flat over to police investigators. One complaint, filed by an unnamed resident of Teplice, in north Bohemia, accuses Mr Gross, his wife, and his uncle, of accepting bribes and tax evasion; the latter charge is also the subject of the second complaint, filed by a Prague resident. A third citizen filed a complaint in Beroun, central Bohemia, charging the prime minister with abuse of office. A state district attorney has said the complaints are "fairly vague" and appear to be based on media reports.

'Weak' amendment to bankruptcy law struck down in Parliament

A draft amendment to the bankruptcy law, aimed at simplifying and speeding up the procedure for winding down a company, failed to pass the lower house of Parliament on Friday. According to a comprehensive report by the World Bank, the Czech Republic has among the least efficient procedures among European Union member states. It takes on average 9.5 years to complete a bankruptcy in this country. Opposition party members said they had rejected the amendment to the law because it did not go far enough in regulating the role of bankruptcy administrators and judges, or protecting the interests of creditors.

Homeless people being voluntarily tested for tuberculosis

Homeless people in Prague have begun getting tested for tuberculosis, taking advantage of the city's offer of 100 crowns, just over four US dollars, to those who submit to voluntary tests for the highly contagious disease. Twenty cases of TB were recently diagnosed among the homeless population in the Czech capital. Over 2700 homeless people were tested for the disease last year.

British man sentenced to life in prison for murder of his Czech au pair lover

A married British man who strangled the Czech au pair with whom he was having an affair, after promising to start a new life with her, has been jailed for life. The man, Subodnath Sailesh Dhoomun, was arrested for the April 2001 murder of Dana Prokesova, aged 25, last year. He had fled to the island nation of Mauritius after being questioned by police. Prosecutors said he killed the young Czech woman, when his quote "web of lies" was about to be exposed.

Liberec football club fined, docked points for bribing referee

The Czech first division football club Slovan Liberec have been docked six points and fined 500,000 Czech crowns (over 20,000 US dollars) for bribing a referee. Liberec are the third Czech club who have been punished by the Czech football association, in a scandal that has also seen the police charge more than two dozen referees and club officials with bribe-giving or bribe-taking.

Weather

More snow is expected throughout the weekend, with day-time temperatures dropping to minus 7 degrees Celsius during the night.

18-02-2005