Svoboda disappointed by BBC Czech language service closure

The Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda said on Wednesday that he was deeply disappointed that the BBC World Service had decided to close down its Czech language service. Mr. Svoboda said he had discussed the matter on several occasions with his British counterpart Jack Straw and written letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a bid to save the Czech service, which now broadcasts around 5 hours a day. BBC World Service bosses announced the imminent closure of the station on Tuesday, along with nine other BBC foreign language services. The move is part of a radical re-structuring which includes the launch of an Arab-language television station.

Ten injured in rail crash

Ten people were injured, one seriously, when a locomotive ploughed into a passenger train in the eastern part of the Czech Republic on Wednesday morning. Paradoxically the locomotive was on its way to help the passenger train which had got stuck between the towns of Zator and Milotice, where the rails had become clogged with dead leaves. In heavy fog, and possibly due to the state of the tracks the locomotive failed to brake in time and collided head on with the passenger train. The cause of the accident is being investigated.

Lower House postpones decision on police salaries

The Lower House has postponed by a year a definitive decision on salary increases for policemen, customs officers and secret service agents. The amendment to the law passed by the Lower Chamber on Wednesday limits wage increases in the coming year and lowers the ceilings on allowances and severance pay. The opposition Civic Democrats have criticized the postponement, saying that the police force will now have to do for another year without a new service law that would open the way for its reform.

Criticism of new deputy health minister

Czech pharmacists' and dentists' associations are refusing to deal with David Rath, the recently appointed deputy health minister, while he remains head of the Czech Medical Chamber, an association of Czech doctors. Pharmacists and dentists claim that this violates the conflict of interest law and is a breach of professional ethics. President Klaus used the same argument last week when he refused to appoint David Rath to the post of health minister. Mr. Rath has said he would suspend his chairmanship of the Medical Chamber only if he is appointed health minister.

Dohnal likely to head Supreme Audit Office

Frantisek Dohnal is likely to be the new head of the Supreme Audit Office.

Dohnal, whose candidacy was proposed by the Christian Democrats, won overwhelming support from deputies in the Lower Chamber. His nomination will now be put to President Vaclav Klaus. The post of president of the Supreme Audit Office has been vacant since June of 2003 when Lubomir Volejnik died in office. Since then Parliament has been unable to agree on who should replace him.


Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with temperatures between 15 and 19 degrees Celsius.