Pecenka: insurer should take 3 -5 billion crown loan

Antonin Pecenka, the man in charge of the forced administration of the country's largest state-owned health insurance company, the VZP, has said the insurer should take up a 5 billion crown loan (the equivalent of almost 211 million US dollars). Mr Pecenka made the statement on a Sunday TV debate programme, suggesting that taking such a loan was one way the troubled insurer could eventually recover. Until now, the insurer has been reeling from significant debt, issuing late payments to doctors and other health workers, prompting the threat of strikes.

But, on Sunday, on the same television programme, the outgoing head of the VZP, Jirina Musilkova, said she opposed the organisation taking on the loan, stressing there was no way the firm could guarantee liability.

Grenade-attack suspect extradited to Czech Republic

Israeli citizen Yakov Moshalyov has been extradited to the Czech Republic to face trial for endangering the public in a grenade attack that took place in Prague in August 2004. The suspect, formerly a Soviet citizen, is believed to have been involved in a feud between Israeli crime gangs. The grenade was thrown at the vehicle belonging to an Israeli casino owner. 18 bystanders suffered minor injuries. Police have indicated Mr Moshalyov will be remanded in custody; if found guilty of the attack he could spend between 8 to 15 years in prison.

Polish miner killed in Karvina region

A 43-year-old Polish miner died on Saturday following extensive injuries in a mining accident some 700 metres underground in a mine in northern Moravia. Saturday evening the man suffered the injuries when he was struck by a loosened coal "block" falling from above. The accident was the first fatality at the mine this year. The accident has already been investigated by a commission - including the district mining authority - finding no one was to blame for the tragedy.

Richard the winner in 'gorilla' reality show

The Czech reality show 'Unmasking', which made world headlines late last year by offering a look into the daily lives of gorillas at Prague Zoo, has announced a "winner". With broadcasting of the programme coming to a close, the 200-kilo male Richard emerged as the winner having received the most text-messages from viewers. The proceeds from telephone messaging will go towards charity - the funding of a nature reserve in Africa.

The project was first launched on November 7th by Czech Radio in conjunction with Czech TV - "rivalling" local reality shows with human participants. As the winner, Richard the gorilla receives twelve melons - a play on the Czech slang word 'melouni' meaning "millions".


The beginning of the week is expected to see some sunny conditions and daytime temperatures of around -2 degrees Celsius.