Prime Minister and acting chairman of the Social Democrats Stanislav Gross
will most likely be elected party leader at the next congress in March. The
Social Democrats, the main ruling coalition party, held conferences in the
country's thirteen districts, this weekend, to discuss their party's
future and assess who will most likely be in the leadership. Mr Gross won
the support of his colleagues in ten districts, while his competitor
Transport Minister Zdenek Skromach only won the support of the Social
Democrats in the Moravian town Zlin.
On Saturday, Mr Gross warned the Social Democrats had adopted an image of a divided and 'extinct' party that has nothing to offer its supporters. He called onto his colleagues to put aside their differences and unite to prove the party is active, has goals, and strives to achieve them.
A concert in Poland on Monday will honour four Czech musicians, who suffered at the Auschwitz death camp and died at the hands of the Nazis in the 1940s. Three days before the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the Judaica Centre will host the concert that features works by Pavel Haas, Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullmann and Hans Krasa, the latter known for his children's opera - Brundibar - first performed by children at the Terezin concentration camp as they were being prepared for transportation to Auschwitz, Belsen and Treblinka.
A Czech man, who escaped from a Liberian prison on Friday, has been found. Forty-two year old Dalibor Kopp was found guilty of the illegal trade in arms in the Czech Republic, in April 2004. He fled the country and was arrested in Liberia last December. He was being detained in a Monrovian prison, before he was to be extradited back to the Czech Republic this week. On Friday, Mr Kopp was on the run after he apparently managed to bribe his way out of jail. Back home, Mr Kopp could face up to ten years in prison.
Of all European Union member states, Britain and Ireland have been most attractive for Czechs seeking employment abroad. Since the Czech Republic joined the EU in May, some 139,000 Czech pages on work and life abroad were visited on the EURES website, designed to support the free movement of labour across the Union. The large number of visited pages on Germany and Austria suggest these two countries are also attractive to Czechs. Some 29,000 pages on possibilities of finding a job in the Czech Republic have also been visited.
Government and trade union representatives failed to come to an
agreement over the future of the Czech health care system at a meeting
on Saturday. Trade unions, health insurance companies, and doctors,
have been opposed to a health ministry plan that seeks stronger state
involvement in the management and financing of health care. The meeting
proved there was further disagreement over organisational issues.
At the end of the month Health Minister Milada Emmerova hopes to introduce her long-term health care plan to the Czech cabinet. On Saturday, the country's trade unions, health insurance companies, and doctor associations were asked to draw up their proposals regarding financial aspects of the plan and forward them to the ministry.
Czech teenage tennis player Nicole Vaidisova is out of the Australian
Open after Lindsay Davenport defeated her in straight sets (6-2, 6-4)
in the third round of the single's match on Saturday. Lindsay
Davenport, the 28-year-old American top seed, was pushed hard by the
talented 15-year-old Vaidisova before her greater experience had her
Czech Radek Stepanek is also out of the tournament, defeated by Guillermo Canas of Argentina 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
The Social Democrats held conferences in six regions on Saturday ahead of
their party congress in March, at which a new leadership will be elected.
Prime Minister and acting party chairman Stanislav Gross opened the
conference in Prague, while his competitor in the run for party leadership
Transport Minister Zdenek Skromach attended the conferences in the Moravian
cities Zlin and Brno.
Mr Gross warned the Social Democrats, the main ruling coalition party, had adopted an image of a divided and 'extinct' party that has nothing to offer its supporters. He called onto his colleagues to put aside their differences and unite to prove the party is active, has goals, and strives to achieve them.
A Cuban refugee couple living in the Czech Republic were reunited with
their two children in Prague on Saturday, 18 months after being
separated. Liuver Saborit and his wife Mayda Arguelles came to the
Czech Republic in the summer of 2003 and were granted political asylum
in December. Their nine-year-old son and two-year-old daughter were not
allowed to leave Cuba and remained in the care of their grandparents.
The couple say they were forced to leave after being threatened with prison following a large wave of repression against dissidents. Since then, they have staged a numer of protests in Prague to pressure the Cuban government into releasing their children.
The lower house has voted to extend the mission of a Czech military police unit in Iraq. If the decision is approved by the Senate next week, the Czech unit will remain in Iraq until the end of the year; they had been due to return at the end of February. The Czech soldiers, around 90 in total, are training Iraqi police officers in the south of the country.
It will take Czechs, Poles and Hungarians decades to reach Western European income levels, according to a study by the Economist Corporate Network quoted in the Czech paper Lidove noviny on Friday. The report suggests the new EU member states will never catch up with Germany in terms of wages, but should reach the same levels as the Spanish and Portuguese in 14 to 18 years.