Officials from Poland's public prosecutor's office have said it is likely the office will seek to question Czech politicians in connection with the privatisation of the Czech petrochemical company Unipetrol earlier this year. The Czech Republic's stake in Unipetrol was bought by Poland's PKN Orlen concern. In recent days reports as well as video footage have surfaced linking the former head of the Czech government office, Zdenek Dolezel, with a possible bribe in the sale of Unipetrol, a charge he has denied. Now, according to unofficial sources, the Polish public prosecutor's office would like to question two high-standing Czech politicians in connection with the sale: Czech Finance Minister Bohumil Sobotka and former prime-minister Stanislav Gross.
In related news, Czech president Vaclav Klaus has called the Unipetrol case "serious" although he did stress on Thursday he wasn't drawing conclusions. The leader of the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats, Mirek Topolanek, meanwhile, called on the prime minister in a letter to make public all documentation compiled by Polish officials. In Mr Topolanek's view recent developments have "cast doubt" on the transparency of the Unipetrol sale earlier this year.
A number of insurance experts in the Czech Republic have indicated in a new survey (conducted by the CTK news agency) that recent floods in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the devastating Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., could have a wider impact in raising home insurance rates - both in the Czech Republic as well as abroad - next year. According to observers Hurricane Katrina alone will hit global insurance companies hard, and in the survey experts say companies may choose to compensate for damages of around 26 billion US dollars by raising rates on different markets.
A Czech-owned plane - a 737 belonging to the Czech company Travel Service - made an emergency landing in France on Thursday, following signalisation problems. The plane, leased by Scotland's FlyGlobeSpan, was on route from Glasgow to Alicante, Spain, when it experienced problems. The plane touched down - without incident - in Bordeaux.
September 1st meant "back to school" for 1.4 million Czech pupils, after their two-month summer holiday. This year some 88,500 entered the first grade, while around 139,000 students began high school. Education Minister Petra Buzkova paid a visit to a primary school in the Central Bohemian town of Melnik, while Czech president Vaclav Klaus visited two schools in the South Bohemian town of Pisek.
Czech Radio has launched a new 24-hour station specialising in programmes about science, technology, and nature. Called "Leonardo", the station now broadcasts on the internet and as of October along with other Czech Radio stations it will be available in digital form in the DVB-T system. Leonardo is one of Czech Radio's four digital projects, along with the news station "Radio Cesko", the classical music channel "D dur" and a youth channel due to start broadcasting at the end of 2005.
Footballer Tomas Galasek, the captain of the Czech national side, is reportedly in doubt to play in the Czech Republic's World Cup upcoming qualifier against Romania. The player injured his knee this week and may not be able to play in the key qualifier, which takes place in Constance, on Saturday. The Czech Republic is currently 2nd in its qualifying group, just behind the Netherlands. The Romania game is the first of the Czech Republic's autumn matches to decide which teams will go on to the World Cup in Germany next year.
Friday, as well as the weekend, should see sunny weather with daytime temperatures averaging between 21 and 24 degrees Celsius.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket
Misha Glenny: Organised crime is an important part of Czech economy – and corruption is its twin sibling