Rath suspects Julinek supported Blue Opportunity with VZP money

Health Minister David Rath said on Friday he suspected Tomas Julinek, the shadow health minister of the opposition Civic Democrats, of having drafted his health sector reform for money coming from the state-owned health insurance company VZP. Mr Rath called on Mr Julinek to prove how his project was financed. Mr Julinek denied the allegations. His Civic Democratic Party say they will commission legal examination of the forced administration imposed on the VZP on Thursday as they say it was in breach of law. The Civic Democrats have also called for an extraordinary session of the lower house of parliament.

Country's biggest health insurer under forced administration

The newly appointed Health Minister David Rath imposed forced administration on VZP, the largest state-owned Czech health insurance company, on Thursday. He said the move was supposed to improve the company's ailing finances. Health Minister Rath along with Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek called on the VZP's director Jirina Musilkova to resign but she refused to step down.

The government's move has been criticised by the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats as well as Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who is on a state visit to India.

Prison service to punish six people over escape of murderers

The head of the Czech Prison Service Ludek Kula has said that at least six other people will be held accountable for the escape of two convicted murderers from a prison in the west Bohemian town of Plzen on Tuesday. The head of the prison was sacked on Tuesday and one prison guard was suspended on Thursday. The two prisoners made their escape by hiding themselves in a pallet which was then driven out in a van. They are both still at large. Police say the two men had at least two accomplices.

People in post-communist states want change - Havel

The former Czech President Vaclav Havel said that people in post-communist states, including the Czech Republic, will sooner or later call for changes as they will not tolerate the interconnection of economic and political elites that replaced communist regimes in the 1990s. Speaking in Prague on Friday at a meeting of the Club of Madrid, Mr Havel said that the public refuses to accept mafia practices at a certain moment and people start awakening as citizens. He also said the call for change has been already evident in Ukraine or Georgia. The former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, who's also attending, said on Friday the European Union should make more efforts towards the democratisation of Belarus. The Club of Madrid was established in the Spanish capital three years ago and its members, former heads of states, meet regularly. The present forum is its first event held outside Spain.

Prague Jewish Community elects new chairman

The Prague Jewish Community has elected a new leader after a year of rows within the community. The new chairman, Frantisek Banyai, has been acting leader since last year when the previous chairman Tomas Jelinek was dismissed. The term of the new leadership will expire in 2008 and according to deputy chairman Jakub Roth, its main goal is to stabilise the situation within the community.


During the weekend we can expect overcast skies with daytime temperatures between 4 and 11 degrees Celsius on Saturday and 4 to 8 degrees on Sunday.