Daily news summary News

17-10-2006

Head of organised crime department could face three criminal charges

An Interior Ministry team of inspectors has proposed to bring three criminal charges against the head of the Czech Police's organised crime department. Jan Kubice and two of his subordinates are suspected of abuse of power, slander, and the unauthorised handling of private data. The charges are linked to an investigation into how a classified report that was drawn up by Mr Kubice got into the hands of the media. The document on the links between organised crime and political parties was leaked to the public just days before the general elections in June.

SNK-ED accuses Finance Ministry officials of corruption

The coalition of the Association of Independent Candidates and European Democrats (SNK-ED) said on Tuesday that a number of officials at the finance ministry were guilty of corruption. Earlier this year, a court ruled that the finance ministry was to pay the SNK-ED 15 million crowns (around 660,000 US dollars) in campaign contributions. The party says it was told by finance ministry officials that it would get the money if it agrees to give 3 of the 15 million crowns to a person who can ensure that the payment is made. Though Finance Minister Vlastimil Tlusty is not suspected of being involved, the SNK-ED says the officials it dealt with were people he closely works with.

Jiri Paroubek: grand coalition would be most stable of government options

Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek says a grand coalition between his party and the Civic Democrats would be the most secure way out of political deadlock as it would enjoy the highest support in the lower house of parliament. A caretaker government that would lead the country into early elections would be the weakest option and therefore the least preferred by his party, Mr Paroubek said. Mr Paroubek says there are two other options for resolving the government vacuum in place since the June elections. They are a minority government of the Social Democrats and a coalition government composed of his party, the Christian Democrats and the Greens. Both types of government, though, would lack a majority in the 200-seat lower house.

Mr Paroubek's Social Democrats are expected to meet with President Vaclav Klaus at Prague Castle on Wednesday.

Prague no longer on high security alert

The tight security measures that were put in place in Prague over three weeks ago are to be relaxed. Following a meeting with the Security Council on Tuesday, outgoing Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said there is no more reason to believe that the country still faces a terrorist threat. The authorities never revealed why Prague was put on high security alert. According to Mlada fronta Dnes newspaper, the secret police were informed about a plan to take Jewish visitors to a Prague synagogue hostage and then kill them.

Necas: Labour Ministry commissioned projects without public tender

The outgoing Civic Democrat Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Petr Necas, has accused the ministry of commissioning projects to selected firms without a public tender. The projects were worth 3 billion crowns (close to 133 million US dollars) and were commissioned in January 2005 at the latest, Mr Necas told reporters on Tuesday. Several ministry officials are already being investigated on suspicion of corruption.

Minister Necas' predecessor Social Democrat Zdenek Skromach has denied the allegations and says they are an attempt to discredit his party just days before the local and senatorial elections.

Government proposes to guarantee flu shot supply with pre-contracts

The outgoing Civic Democrat cabinet of Mirek Topolanek proposes to sign pre contracts with pharmaceutical companies to guarantee the supply of 60 percent of the flu vaccines for next year. The proposal is part of the government's flu pandemic plan, which was approved by the Security Council on Tuesday. The aim is to have enough vaccines in supply by the end of the first quarter of 2007 to protect one fifth of the population against the threat of a flu pandemic.

Weather

The next few days are expected to be partly cloudy with daytime highs reaching 17 degrees Celsius.

17-10-2006