A new network of high speed trains should be in place in the Czech Republic by the year 2020, Hospodarske noviny reported on Wednesday. Under a plan due to be approved by the government, the purchase of land for the creation of new rail corridors should begin next year. Currently the country has just one high speed train, the Pendolino, which has been running between Prague and Ostrava since December.
Doctors are planning more protest actions against Health Minister David Rath. The minister's radical reforms have met with opposition from a considerable number of doctors, dentists and medical staff who claim that they are undermining the quality of medical care. Rath's opponents say he has failed to consult any of the planned reforms with specialists in the field. A week of protests is being planned for mid-May although it is not yet clear what form they will take.
Czech football authorities have called off two matches involving first division FC Brno after 17 players came down with a flu like infection and have been quarantined for five days. FC Brno, currently just above the relegation zone, were due to host the team below them, FK Chmel Blsany, on Wednesday night. The away game to Slavia Prague on Saturday has also been postponed.
The mayor of Prague, Pavel Bem, says Czechs should vote in a referendum on whether to apply to hold the Olympic Games in the Czech capital. Prague has signalled its intentions to bid to host the Olympics in either 2016 or, more realistically, in 2020. However, there has been some opposition to the proposal, with critics saying the city could not cope with such a huge international event.
The government has decided to double the amount of money to be spent on flood prevention between 2007 and 2010. After a week of heavy flooding which showed that many municipalities were ill-prepared to deal with floods the Cabinet on Wednesday voted to spend eight to ten billion crowns on flood prevention measures and approved the setting up of a special flood fund. The government is also considering the possibility of helping people who live in high risk areas to move to safer ground, by buying their property or offering them a state owned plot of land in exchange for their own.
The government on Wednesday approved the nomination of Pavel Horak to the post of general director of the country's largest state-owned health insurance company VZP. His appointment has yet to be approved by Parliament. Horak is currently director of the General Teaching Hospital in Prague. VZP has had a temporary director since its former head Jirina Musilkova was sacked for alleged poor management.
President Klaus has vetoed a bill on the compulsory purchase of property on the grounds that in its present form it could be abused. The bill would enable the authorities to issue a compulsory purchase order in the public interest. Mr. Klaus said that the bill was vague in specifying what public interest entailed and that in his view it was in violation of the Constitution.
The famous football club Glasgow Celtic are interested in signing Michal Kadlec from Sparta Prague, according to press reports. The left back, whose father Miroslav Kadlec captained the Czech national team, said it would be hard to refuse such an offer. The 21-year-old has been a regular at Sparta since breaking into the team last season.
The High Court in Prague has upheld an eight year prison sentence for Karel Srba, a former foreign ministry official, who was found guilty of plotting to murder a journalist. The case was reviewed on the grounds of an appeal from the state attorney who considered the verdict too soft. Srba's collaborators received six year sentences. Srba ordered the murder of journalist Sabina Slonkova in order to prevent her publishing the details of a bribery scandal in which himself was involved.
Plans to remove a pig farm from the site of a world war two concentration camp for Romanies have ground to a halt, Lidove noviny reported on Tuesday. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek had pledged to provide money to buy out the pig farm at Lety in south Bohemia, but talks between the government and its owners have collapsed. Mr Paroubek now says it will be an issue for the next government, the paper said. A spokesperson for a Romany group said the stalemate proved the government's promises had been intended for an overseas audience.