MPs from the TOP 09 party will likely allow the opposition to call a special meeting of Parliament to discuss the ProMoPro affair and question Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra. The head of the party’s parliamentary club, Petr Gazdík, told TV Prima on Sunday that the party would in all likelihood not attend the meeting, thus allowing the opposition a sufficient majority to table the programme. The coalition already blocked one such meeting, apparently on the condition that Mr Vondra would explain his part in the affair and apologize. His speech however fell short of a full apology and Mr Kalousek and others in TOP 09 have called for his resignation. The audiovisual company ProMoPro was paid exorbitant sums from Mr Vondra’s office during the 2009 Czech EU presidency.
Increasing patient co-financing will be the very last step in reforms, Health Minister Leoš Heger has told Czech Television. Co-financing is currently at 17% and should not exceed 20%. Mr Heger said that the reform begins with health insurance companies; the package of 25 reform measures ensures that insurance companies with poor financial management will have to merge. The government is to discuss the first of Mr Heger’s proposals on Wednesday, an amendment to the public health insurance act to increase the daily cost of hospitalisation from 60 to 100 crowns per patient.
A minority of Czechs today would be in favour of joining the EU, according to a poll conducted by the SANEP agency. By the agency’s estimate only 42% of people in the Czech Republic would vote for accession if given the opportunity. According to the poll, people are bothered primarily by bureaucracy influencing the country’s competitiveness and by the single currency, with 74% of people opposed to introducing the euro. Nearly 62% of respondents also do not believe that Turkey should be allowed to join the EU.
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Prague Philharmonia are holding benefit concerts for earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan. In Prague Castle’s Spanish Hall, Romanian conductor Ion Marin will lead the orchestra in Antonín Dvorák’s New World Symphony, which is very popular in Japan. In Rudolfinum then the Prague Philharmonia will be led by Vladimir Ashkenazy. The Czech Philharmonic was touring Japan at the time of the disaster and several of their concert venues were badly damaged.
The TV popularity poll TýTý 2010 has been won by the Czech Television show Vyprávěj, a weekly family series set in the 1960s. The creators also received the prize for best series of the year in a ceremony at Prague’s Vinohrady Divadlo on Saturday. The most popular actors of the year were Veronika Freimanová and Ondřej Vetchý; singers Michal David and Lucie Vondráčková were alsoé awarded. Czech TV’s Stardance received the prize for most popular programme. The TýTý awards are voted on by viewers and organised by the weekly Týdeník Televize. They were watched last year by 2.5 million people.
A three-year-old girl is in stable but very serious condition after being attacked by two Rottweilers near Litoměřice. The child was brought to hospital in Prague by helicopter on Saturday with injuries to her hand and face. TV Nova reported that the girl was visiting the dogs’ owner with her mother and playing with them in the courtyard when they attacked, causing such injuries to her face that she may have been left blind in one eye. The dogs’ owner says that they have never attacked anyone before.
Kenyan long-distance runner Philemon Kimeli Limo has won the Prague Half-Marathon, setting a record time of 59 minutes and 30 seconds. It was the first time in the Czech Republic that the 21-km track has been run in under an hour. The previous record was 1:00:07. Limo was followed by Ethiopian Azmeraw Bekele 1 minute and 5 seconds behind him; third place went to Kenyan Kwemoi Titus Masai, who finished in 1:00:40. In the women’s race, another Kenyan, Lydia Cheromei, also broke the records, winning the race in 1:07:33; Ethiopia’s Belainesh Zemedkun came in second place.
The astronomical clock at Prague’s Old Town Square will be stopped on Monday for three weeks due to repairs to the tower. Workers will be redoing the plaster on the tower of the Old Town Hall, which has problems with dampness and affects the machine and dust from the work would otherwise damage the clock. The work is expected to be completed and the clock reset on April 24. One of the many legends around the astronomical clock says that catastrophe awaits if the machine is stopped. Fortunately, three previous repairs in the last 20 years have seen so such problem.
The Civic Democratic Party wants to create an association of regional shadow governors to oppose the association of governors. The chairman of the South Bohemian Civic Democrats, Martin Kuba, told reporters at a regional part conference on Saturday that the latter association, comprised of Social Democrat governors, is overly politicised. The Civic Democrat association should consist of ballot leaders in regional elections next year. Chairman of the association of governors Michal Hašek called the idea is an attempt to draw attention away from the government’s problems.
Roughly 200 artists have held a demonstration in Prague to protest the city’s conditions for street performers. A march of musicians, jugglers, mimes and others began at Náměstí Republiky and continued over Charles Bridge to Kampa. The artists complain that Prague is generally intolerant towards street performers, that there are very few localities where they can legally perform and that they wait for weeks for permits. The organisers say they are in talks with City Hall to propose new legislation.
Brno scientists pair with Czech biotech firm to develop healing artificial tears
Traditional tourist sites open to visitors after long break
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