Daily news summary News

17-05-2004

Svoboda returns to post after one month's hospital stay

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda returned to his post on Monday approximately one month after suffering a serious neck injury that saw him undergo an operation and left him in hospital care. The accident took place in April when the minister's driver lost control of the vehicle. Mr Svoboda was then transferred to hospitals in Brno and Prague. Mr Svoboda has now returned to the day-to-day affairs of his office, but will not go abroad before June, when he is expected to travel to Brussels. The results of the investigation into the accident have already shown the minister's car was not in good technical condition; the final results will be released in about two weeks' time.

Out-of-court settlement a possibility in Diag Human case

Health Minister Josef Kubinyi has not ruled-out the possibility of an out-of-court settlement with Diag Human, the company which has already received more than 320 million crowns in damages in a failed business deal dating back to the early 1990s, when the firm reportedly planned to do business in blood plasma from Czech blood banks. The company is still at odds over other damages involved, which Health Minister Kubinyi conceded on Monday his office would try and minimise. Mr Kubinyi's predecessor, Marie Souckova, had said the state would win the case against Diag Human, saying it would get back funds already paid out. On Monday Mr Kubinyi however has conceded the 326 million crowns were irretrievable.

Court clears suspect of fraud in IPB loan

A Prague court has cleared 39-year-old Nina Suskevicova of any wrong-doing in a fraud case involving the businesswoman and the now defunct IPB bank. In 1994 Mrs Suskevicova was granted a 120 million loan from the financial house, which, however, was never returned. Mrs Suskevicova was charged with fraud, with prosecutors trying to prove she knew her company would not be able to repay the funds within the set deadline. Mrs Suskevicova apparently received additional loans which topped the full amount at 200 million, none of which, the prosecution contends, has been returned to date. Monday's ruling is the first verdict in a series of trials dealing with highly controversial financial transactions at the former IPB bank.

Man killed at Spolana site

A 51-year-old Slovak national was killed on Monday while working for Lakstav Praha, a company on the site of the Spolana chemical plant north of Prague. The man, who died while cleaning an industrial pipe, is believed to have suffocated. However, the exact cause remains unknown and is being investigated by police. The death follows a similar fatality last year, which an investigation showed was the worker's own fault because he failed to follow safety procedures.

Weather

Tuesday is expected to be cloudy throughout the day with daytime temperatures of 19 degrees Celsius.

17-05-2004