Daily news summary News

14-11-2005

Rath to appeal to Interior Minister after member of team threatened

The new Health Minister David Rath has said he will turn to the Interior Minister for help after a Health Ministry inspector controlling the administration of the country's largest health insurer, the VZP, received an anonymous threat. An employee in charge of checking the firm's finances received an anonymous call in which a male voice warned her of danger to her person (telling her she'd have to watch herself to make it home). She has not contacted police. The head of the forced administration team, Antonin Pecenka, has also said his team was under external pressure.

Last week the VZP came under forced administration under the new health minister: the health insurer's debt has exceeded more than 12 billion crowns, around 480 million US dollars. Tensions between the company and the Health Ministry have continued to intensify.

The health minister, meanwhile, is reportedly seeking support from among the VZP's administration board against current VZP head Jirina Musilkova. Last week Mr Rath called on Mrs Musilkova to resign, a call she has ignored.

President to name Jan Mladek new agriculture minister

On Wednesday the Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, will name MP Jan Mladek, a member of Parliament's budget committee, the new agriculture minister. Mr Mladek is to fill the post following Petr Zgarba's decision to resign over the Land Fund property scandal. A member of the Social Democrats, the incoming minister is regarded as liberal in terms of economic policy. Once named, he plans to implement reforms in the Land Fund to prevent a repeat scandal. In the case, allegations have been made that state officials - including the former minister - passed on inside information to speculators who cheaply bought-up property now worth millions more than the original price.

Poll: 'core' supporters highest among Communists

A new poll by the CVVM agency has suggested that among the five parties in Parliament the Communists have the highest percentage of 'core' supporters, at 24 percent, while the ruling Social Democrats, enjoy a core base of just 4 percent. The right-of-centre Civic Democrats have a core of 11 percent. The study found that the number of Czech voters who consider themselves core supporters of any political party is considerably lower than nine years ago. According to analysts, some 27 percent are not happy with any of the parties in Parliament.

354 Czechs 100 or more years old

The head of the Czech Social Security Administration Jiri Hoidekr has revealed that 354 Czechs are 100 or more years of age, with the oldest, a woman, 108. In the group of 'one hundred year-olds' women far outnumber men. Of the 354, 292 are women. According to the Czech Social Security Administration, the majority of one hundred year olds are Prague residents. The oldest living Czech - at 108 - has been receiving a pension for 43 years.

Prague 1 councillors cancel tender on Werich villa

City councillors from the district of Prague 1 have cancelled a tender on the renting of a villa by Prague's lucrative Kampa Park. The villa that once belonged to Jan Werich, the famous Czech actor; Werich died in 1980. The tender was won by the firm Colly, which beat out Meda Mladkova of the Kampa Museum. City councillors based their decision to cancel the decision based on the new law on public tenders. A new tender on the villa will consequently be called.

Weather

Tuesday is expected to be mostly cloudy with some sunny intervals and a daytime temperature of just 4 degrees Celsius.

14-11-2005