Laboratory tests have confirmed a fourth incidence of BSE in the Czech Republic. The Sestajovice farm near Prague is putting down 25 animals within the prescribed security measures. All beef deliveries from the farm have been temporarily stopped. The head of the Czech Veterinary Office Josef Holejsovsky told the CTK press agency that the four identified cases of the disease in the Czech Republic suggested that cows born between 1994 and 1997 present a risk group possibly because they may have been fed infected bone- meal. After 1997 the EU tightened regulations on the production of all animal feed. This is the second case of confirmed BSE within a week.
Doctors in south Bohemia report 18 cases of bacterial disease in connection with the recent floods. The infected persons are from different parts of the region and doctors say they most likely became infected as a result of neglecting hygiene instructions during clean up work or drinking contaminated well water. Medical experts say they have no reason to fear an epidemic but they have appealed to the general public to take all the necessary precautions. None of the cases are reported to be life-threatening and doctors say they have the situation under control. Leptospirosis, the bacterial disease in question, has an incubating period of around 10 days and the early symptoms are similar to those of the flu.
The European Commission believes that the 10 candidate countries recommended to join the European Union in 2004 will be able to withstand competitive economic pressure in the block. According to a copy of the draft report, made available to journalists, the Czech Republic can expect a generally positive evaluation this year. The European Commission is reportedly happy with the pace of reform, particularly reform of the judiciary and civil service, noting that the country has made excellent progress in making its legislation compatible with that of the EU. However, it is said to be concerned with the still high level of corruption and economic crime. The European Commission's progress report on candidate states is to be approved and published on Wednesday.
Britain says it wants to tighten asylum regulations for applicants from the ten EU candidate states. British Home Secretary David Blunket told BBC radio he had prepared amendments to the asylum law which would enable the country to deal more quickly and efficiently with applicants who abuse the system in order to spend time in Great Britain free of charge. Mr. Blunket said that in the future asylum seekers from the 10 EU candidate states should have to prove that their lives are threatened in their home country and they should no longer be able to appeal the verdict on British territory and so extend their stay in the country. The British Home secretary said Great Britain had received 850 asylum applications from Czech nationals in July of this year alone, which was absurd, given that the Czech Republic was a democratic country soon to join the EU.
The Czech government met on Monday to debate a draft proposal for next year's state budget. The proposal envisages a deficit of 157 billion crowns. The deficit is the highest ever in the country's history and the opposition Civic Democratic Party has clearly stated it will not support that kind of deficit spending. The vote in Parliament is seen as a crucial test of the coalition government's viability since it commands only a slim 101 vote majority in the Lower House.
A Polish parliament deputy who sparked a diplomatic row by capturing a Polish murder suspect in the Czech Republic and abducting him to Poland in order to hand him over to the authorities is being questioned by the police in Prague. The police say that deputy Krzysztof Rutkowski could face charges of misusing his diplomatic passport and breaking Czech law by abducting a foreign national. Mr. Rutkowski claims he did not break the law and says the case against him has been built up by the Czech police . Last week Poland's PAP news agency said Rutkowski had been hired by the victim's family to catch the suspect.
Monday night is expected to be overcast with scattered showers and snow in the mountain regions. Tuesday should bring cloudy skies, more rain and day temps between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.
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