General practitioners are once again threatening to strike in protest of delayed payments from the General Health Insurance Company, VZP. GPs say they are getting payments up to a month late despite the fact that the General Health Insurance Company is under forced administration, a move that the health minister David Rath said would secure financial stability. The health ministry is likewise under pressure from chemists who are threatening to strike over the government's decision to lower their profit margins by 3 percent as of January 1st. The opposition Civic Democrats have strongly criticized the health minister for his performance in office, saying that the radical measures he has effected have merely heightened the crisis in the Czech health sector.
Three young Germans of Russian origin have been handed lengthy jail sentences for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a prostitute in the Czech Republic. The regional court in the southern German city of Heilbronn found that the three men had planned to sell the sex worker from the Czech border city of Plzen to a brothel in Germany. The judges said the leader of the group hatched the plot because he was 30,000 euros in debt. They raped and killed the 37 year old woman after failing to beat her into submission, for fear that she would report them to the police. Two of them received life sentences, the third was handed a fifteen year prison sentence.
The chief obstetrician of a maternity hospital stands charged with causing death through negligence after he ordered the transfer of a mother in labour to a different hospital where her baby was born stillborn. The state attorney on the case claims that a proper examination of the mother -including an ultrasound - would have shown that she needed immediate care and that further loss of time would put hers and the baby's life in danger. If found guilty, the obstetrician could face up to five years in prison.
Lower house deputy Vladimir Dolezal of the Civic Democratic Party has given up his mandate and all his political functions over allegations of bribery. The police suspect Dolezal of having asked for a large sum of money in return for a promise to clear the way for construction on municipal plots, after a special commission had rejected the project. Dolezal claims that he is innocent and is stepping down so as not to damage his party's interests ahead of the 2006 general elections.
Wednesday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between one and minus three degrees Celsius.
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