Some 120 Spanish cucumbers possibly contaminated with the mutated E.coli
bacteria have been sold on the Czech market, a spokesman for the
country’s food inspection authority said on Sunday. The vegetables came
from Germany on Tuesday and were distributed among retailers the
authorities are now trying to identify ; the same German dealer also
supplied cucumbers to Austria, Luxembourg and Hungary, the spokesman said.
Another shipment that arrived in the on Thursday has not yet entered
Spanish cucumbers and other produce are believed to have caused an outbreak of the E.coli bacteria in Germany, Denmark and other countries. In Germany, ten people have died of the infection and hundreds of others fell ill.
The Public Affairs party has laid down conditions for staying in the Czech coalition government. A party conference held in Hradec Králové over the weekend recommended Public Affairs ministers and MPs to quit the coalition if PM Petr Nečas does not allow the party to keep four ministries in the 15-member cabinet. Public Affairs now hold the ministries of education and regional development. Earlier this year, the party was hit by a corruption scandal and lost the ministries of interior and transportation. The Public Affairs conference also confirmed the re-election of Radek John to party chairman; the head of the party’s group of deputies, Karolína Peake, became the new first deputy chair.
Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Sunday he would submit the state budget for 2012 with the deficit of 105 billion crowns, or 3.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, as planned by the centre-right government. This year, the deficit is set to reach 4.2 percent of the GDP. Mr Kalousek said more austerity measures will be needed to meet that goal, including the planned hike in VAT. The Czech finance minister said he would quit his post if the deficit exceeded 105 billion crowns.
Czech Railways trade unions will go on strike against the government reforms, their leader Bohumír Dufek said on Sunday. Mr Dufek said further details about the strike would be announced on Monday, adding the strike was the only way to make the government reconsider its reform plans. Should the government health care and pension reforms be implemented, railway trade unions demand a 5-percent pay rise for employees in the public and private sectors, the trade union leader said..
Czech Education Minister Josef Dobeš told the news website novinky.cz on Sunday that he chose former Charles University rector Ivan Wilhelm as his deputy for research and universities. The minister said he needed a “heavyweight” for negotiations with universities, and Mr Wilhelm was just that. 69-year-old Ivan Wilhelm, a nuclear physicist, served as the rector of Prague’s Charles University between 2000 and 2006. He is set to assume his new role on Wednesday.
The 51st International Film Festival for Children and Youth begins in the eastern city of Zlín on Sunday. The event, which will present around 400 movies from 44 countries of the world, will this year focus on Italian and Hungarian cinema; the festival will also commemorate the 110th anniversary of Walt Disney, and 75 years since film studios were established in Zlín. Among the members of the festival’s jury are the Italian actor Franco Nero and his Bulgarian colleague Ivan Barnev. The festival, which will offer a series of concerts, exhibitions and other events, goes until June 5.
The centuries-old folkloric procession known as the “Ride of the Kings” took place in the south Moravian town of Vlčnov on Sunday. This year, 12-year-old Jan Procházka led the mounted procession in the role of the king, traditionally dressed in woman’s costume. The tradition is said to have originated in pagan times; some ethnographers believe it refers to the story of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus who in the 15th century was fleeing the Czech king and passed through the town disguised as a woman.
Railway line between the towns Hanušovice and Staré Město, in northern Moravia, was closed on Sunday morning after a local passenger train drove into a rock that had collapsed onto the tracks. Nobody was hurt in the accident, a Czech Railway spokesman said, adding that the railway line would remain closed until Monday afternoon. The damage on the train was estimated at 350,000 crowns.
Czech bicycle racer Roman Kreuziger finished sixth overall at this year’s Giro d’Italia, reaching the best raking of any Czech rider in the history of the race. Kreuziger, a member of the Astana team, was seventh before the last stage; he finished 16th and moved one place up. The 25-year-old Czech also won the white jersey for the best young rider.
The scandal-ridden, junior coalition Public Affairs party is holding a conference in Hradec Králové at the weekend to confirm its re-elected leader, Radek John in his post, and to debate their future role in the centre-right government. The party, which now has two ministers in the 15-member cabinet, would like another two posts they lost as a result of a corruption scandal. However, Mr John, who had been forced to quit as the interior minister, told reporters on Saturday he would return to the government. Earlier this week, PM Petr Nečas threatened to dismiss Public Affairs from the government altogether if they continue to oppose the planned health care reform.
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