News

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Army's chief hygiene officer says US radar would not be health threat

The Czech Army's chief hygiene officer, Petr Navratil, has said that a US radar installation which could be deployed in the Czech Republic's Brdy military zone, would not pose a health threat, provided safety zone requirements were met. He made the statement on Friday, a day after a 200-page report on the project was made public by the Czech government. The study - the first by Czech officials - is based on specifications and technical data from the US. The chief hygiene officer said the base, as outlined, would meet all limits on non-ionic radiation, ruling out harmful effects. In past weeks and months, villages near the Brdy zone have come out strongly against the radar plan, while polls have suggested only one third of Czechs support the idea. The US has asked the Czech Republic to house the base as part of the United States' missile defense system.

Social Democrats against reopening debate on fiscal reforms

Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek has revealed that his party will not back reopening debate on the government's planned fiscal reforms ahead of a third reading in the lower house. Mr Paroubek made the statement on Friday in reaction to criticism by "rebel" Civic Democrat MP Vlastimil Tlusty, who has raised new demands for changes to the reform package. He is one of three ruling party MPs threatening to vote against the reforms if further changes are not implemented. The Social Democrats - the country's largest opposition party - originally tried to have voting on the reform package postponed until late September. But on Friday, the party's leader Jiri Paroubek said the government should "reap what it has sown".

Doctors raise objections to draft reform

The Czech Out-Patient Specialists Association today addressed an open letter to members of the lower house asking them to soften the sanction doctors would face for not demanding cash payments from patients while debating the government draft public finance reform. A week ago the government coalition approved the reform proposals by Health Minister Tomas Julinek. The out-patient specialists say in the letter that a 50,000 crown sanction envisioned in Mr Julinek's proposals is too high. They say doctors cannot bear the responsibility for patients' refusal to pay, they can only ask them to pay. The law should therefore set down the obligation for doctors' to request cash payments, but not to collect them. Under the reform, patients are to pay 30 crowns per doctor visit and per prescription, 60 crowns for each day in hospital, and 90 crowns for emergency treatment.

Former health minister and chairman of the Chamber of Deputies health committee David Rath said on Friday that he considered patients' cash payments - and the high sanction set down for doctors - unconstitutional. He added if the reform was passed and signed by the president, he would file a constitutional complaint against this part of the law.

MF Dnes: police block Krejcir funds

The Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes has reported that Czech police have blocked fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir, awaiting an extradition ruling in South Africa, access to some 30 million crowns on accounts in the Czech Republic. Radovan Krejcir, wanted in Prague on a number of charges including fraud and conspiracy to murder, confirmed the accounts had been frozen. He told the newspaper that the funds belonged to his mother and that they were dividends from business dealings. According to the report, she was to transfer the sum to a South African account. Radovan Krejcir escaped from Czech police during the search of his family's luxury villa in June 2005. He took refuge in the Seychelles before being arrested in South Africa earlier this year.

Sparta spokesman responds to Jewish community letter

The spokesman for the Sparta Prague football club has responded to an open letter sent by the head of the Prague Jewish Community, Frantisek Banyai, and the director of the Prague Jewish Museum, Leo Pavlat expressing concern over some fans' anti-Semitic behaviour at Sparta stadium. According to the senders, anti-Semitic chants could be heard during a Sparta-Arsenal game this week. Some in the audience reportedly yelled the slogan "Jude Slavia" referring to Sparta's city rival, playing on the same day. Sparta's spokesman has made clear the incident will be investigated; he also indicated the club will take a tough stance on anyone guilty of committing racist acts at the club's stadium.

Czech president wants part of court legislation to be annulled

President Vaclav Klaus has lodged a complaint with the Constitutional Court calling for the annulment a section in Czech legislation dealing with courts and judges. The provision concerns the methods of the functioning and the management of the Supreme Court, under which the court can only have one deputy chairman. Mr Klaus has been locked in a long dispute with court chairwoman Iva Brozova over the issue. In the past, he appointed Jaroslav Bures second court deputy chairman on the basis of the Czech Constitution, which mentions court deputy chairpersons in the plural. The Constitutional Court received the president's proposal on Friday.

Convict transferred from Spain to Czech custody

Czech national Norbert Koehler who served a seven-year sentence in Spain and who was allegedly a member of the infamous Berdych gang has been transferred from Spain to Czech custody, a Prague judge revealed on Thursday. Mr Koehler, who is 29, was previously sentenced for credit card fraud in Spain, but he is to be tried in the Czech Republic for alleged smuggling cocaine; if found guilty, he could be given 15 years in prison.

Rosicky troubled by knee problems, will not play against Blackburn

Czech star midfielder Tomas Rosicky, who plays for Arsenal, will not play in his side's next Premiership league match against Blackburn. The midfielder, who captains the Czech national team, has been troubled by a knee problem, meaning he will have the weekend off. Next week he should join the Czech national team as it faces Austria in a friendly. The match will be played in Vienna on Wednesday.

Weather

Mostly clear skies with sunny periods are expected into the weekend. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach highs of around 22 degrees Celsius.