• 08/20/2005

    FC Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed that the English club are weighing up bids from Aston Villa and Lyon for striker Milan Baros, a Czech national. Baros, a top scorer for the Czech national team in the most recent European championships, is expected to leave Liverpool before the end of the transfer window.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 08/19/2005

    A poll by the STEM agency found that only one in four Czechs want the ratification process for the EU constitution to continue. Four out of ten respondents said that the ratification process should be suspended, and nearly as many said they thought it should simply end. So far, 12 countries have ratified the treaty. Prague has joined several other capitals that have delayed or suspended plans to hold a referendum on the EU Constitution. These including London, Dublin and Copenhagen.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 08/19/2005

    Austria has extended until 2009 the transition period during which Czech nationals must seek approval to work in that neighbouring European Union country. The Minister of Economics for Austria, Martin Bartenstein, said the possibility that in it could be extended again in three year's time could not be ruled out. Ahead of EU expansion last year, Austria and most other original 15 EU member states imposed restricted access to their labour markets for newcomers like the Czech Republic.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 08/19/2005

    The business daily Hospodarske noviny reports that the newly named Minister of Culture, Vitezslav Jandak, co-established a charitable foundation with indirect ties to an Israeli mafia family. In 2001, Mr Jandak helped form the 'Little Lion' (Lvice) foundation with people connected to a now defunct casino owned by the Abutbul crime family. The casino was shut down in 2004 after police began investigating its origins, following a failed attempt to kill its de facto owner. Casinos are required by law to donate a share of proceeds to charity. A bill now in Parliament would prevent casinos from donating to related organisations.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 08/19/2005

    The lower house of Parliament passed an amendment to the labour law on Friday that would reward employers who create so-called "socially beneficial" jobs for fresh university graduates, handicapped people, and those younger than twenty-five or over the age of fifty. According to the Labour Office, people of those ages make up one-third to one-half of the unemployed nationwide.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 08/19/2005

    The lower chamber or Parliament also voted down the Senate's veto of an amendment banning the privatisation of regional hospitals. The senior ruling Social Democrats and main opposition Communist party, who united to uphold the ban, argue that if privatised, hospitals would focus on lucrative treatments, which would threaten the quality of general health care. The centre-right Civic Democrats reject that argument and say they may file a compliant to the Constitutional Court to have it reversed, should President Vaclav Klaus sign the bill into law.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • 08/18/2005

    The Constitutional Court has acknowledged the Czech citizenship of the late Hugo Salm, opening the way for a large scale restitution of property. The court overturned an earlier verdict of the Supreme Court according to which Salm had not been a Czechoslovak citizen and the confiscation of his property on the basis of the post-war Benes decrees could not be legally questioned. The Constitutional Court overturned this ruling on the grounds of a certificate from March of 1946, which confirmed Salm's citizenship. His heirs may now lay claim to 7,000 hectars of land in south Moravia as well as the Rajec nad Svitavou chateau.

  • 08/18/2005

    The Cabinet has approved a long term plan which would improve the living conditions of handicapped people and help them to integrate in society. The plan provides for a gradual removal of the existing obstacles which prevent the handicapped from attending common schools, using public transport and getting jobs. Further measures are to help handicapped people to receive home care wherever possible. The plan, which is to be put into effect between 2006 and 2009, involves over 120 steps for individual ministries to make in their respective sectors, as well as changes in legislation.

  • 08/18/2005

    Parliament has passed in its second reading a proposed amendment to the law which would motivate the unemployed to seek jobs more actively. The bill would lower the subsistence level, thereby lowering social benefits for the unemployed. It would also lower the amount of financial support given to people with large families allegedly to prevent parents from living off their children. Romany representatives have slammed the proposal calling it racist and discriminatory and arguing that many of them cannot find work no matter how hard they try.

  • 08/18/2005

    A regional court has sent the head of a gang which planned to smuggle 24 kilograms of heroin from the Czech Republic to Austria to nine years in prison. His two accomplices received 8 years each. The gang was arrested in May of 2004 when its members sold the drug to a plainclothes police officer.

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