The Czech Agriculture Ministry announced its first suspected case of BSE on Wednesday. Ministry press spokesman Hugo Roldan said the six-year-old cow suspected of having contracted BSE, or mad cow disease, was from a herd in the village of Dusejov in the Jihlava region, some 120 km south-east of Prague. Mr. Roldan said that samples are being sent to Germany for testing and the results are expected to be known by Friday afternoon. He added that officials would begin testing all cows older than 30 months if the case is confirmed. So far Czech officials have conducted over 10,000 tests this year, but not all animals were forced to undergo the procedure.
Austrian police say they have smashed a ring of refugee traffickers who have smuggled at least 1,200 people into Austria. The ring, smuggling mainly Indian nationals, operated out of the Czech Republic and charged the refugees a total of about 120 million shillings, or some 7.4 million US dollars. Police sources say they made the first 16 arrests in April, including two suspected ringleaders, a Czech and a Vietnamese national, for whom international arrest warrants had been issued. The gang apparently smuggled the refugees in groups from Slovakia to the Czech Republic, giving them accommodation there before driving them to the Austrian border. The refugees were then taken across the open border on foot, near the Austrian town of Mistelbach, from where they were driven by other gang members to Vienna, or the main East Austrian refugee center at Traiskirchen, 30 kilometres south of the capital.
Three doctors from a local hospital in the Central Bohemian town of Hradec Kralove are currently under investigation for medical malpractice. During a kidney operation, they are believed to have removed the wrong, kidney, which was healthy, and, if found guilty, they could face a prison sentence of up to five years. Immediately after the hospital's management was alerted, they contacted the victim and are now discussing compensation with the patient's lawyer. The hospital said that the mistake occurred during the first check-up, when the doctor listed the wrong kidney on the patient's medical chart. The mistake was not realised, despite several further examinations prior to the operation in April.
During its session on Wednesday, the Czech Cabinet approved a Human Rights Council proposal for new legislation on health care. Children of all foreigners living in the Czech Republic with long-term residence permits, ought to be automatically eligible for health insurance. The council has said that the basic health insurance that foreigners get for their children is not only expensive but sometimes even fails to cover basic treatment. Hospitals therefore reject new born babies with serious medical problems, fearing that their foreign parents would not be able to pay for the treatment. The Human Rights Council has said that the failure of current legislation to incorporate the children into the national health care system was an ethical and practical problem.
Czech President Vaclav Havel held talks with representatives of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee at Prague Castle on Wednesday. The meeting was held to discuss the NATO summit that is to take place in Prague next year. The main topics of discussion were the Czech Republic's role in NATO and President Havel's role abroad. The relationship between NATO and the EU regarding foreign affairs and security were also discussed. After the meeting, both Mr. Havel and the Shadow Defence Minister, Petr Necas, told journalists that they were pleased to see that they were all in agreement on the most important aspects of NATO membership.
The Czech Republic scored two late goals to win their world Cup qualifying match against Northern Ireland in Teplice. With the game seemingly heading for a disappointing 1:1 draw, a goal in the 88th minute from Pavel Kuka, his second of the match and a last minute clincher from Milan Baros secured all three points for Josef Chovanec's team. Final score again: Czech Republic 3, Northern Ireland 1.
And finally, a quick look at the weather forecast. Wednesday night shall see overcast skies with occasional showers and temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius. Thursday will also be cloudy with showers and heavy rain in places. Day-time temperatures are expected to range between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.
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