More ministers will be replaced in the centre-right Czech government, Prime Minister Petr Nečas told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Saturday. Mr Nečas said the shakeup could involve ministers from any coalition party, including TOP 09. Five cabinet members for the TOP 09 party survived this week’s government reshuffle that saw Public Affairs chair Radek John leave the Interior Ministry to be replaced by non-partisan Jan Kubice, while Vít Bárta, of Public Affairs, stepped down as transport minister and was replaced by Radek Šmerda. Mr Nečas specifically mentioned Health Minister Leoš Heger, of TOP 09, and said he was not happy with the advance of the health care reform. The planned shakeup might also involve Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra of the senior coalition Civic Democrats and Education Minister Josef Dobeš, of Public Affairs.
Hundreds of Czech Catholic pilgrims are planning to attend the beatification of John Paul II in Rome on May 1, the pilgrimage’s organizers from the Hradec Králové diocese said. Most of the pilgrims will travel on a special train dispatched by the Czech Railways for the occasion. The ceremony will also be attended by Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, the archbishop of Olomouc, Jan Graubner, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, and other Czech Catholic dignitaries. Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world are expected to arrive in Rome for the beatification of John Paul II who died in 2005.
A spell of sunny weather broke several temperature records around the country on Saturday. A weather station in Příbram, central Bohemia, registered the temperature of 23.1 degrees Celsius, which topped the previous record from 1885. Meteorologists issued a warning against an increased risk of fires on Saturday for the whole of the Czech Republic. Fire fighters also asked for extreme caution when starting outdoor fires as record numbers of fires are registered each April; over the last fire years, fires caused damages worth nearly one billion crowns.
Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital requires patients, including children, to swim in the nude in its rehabilitation pool, Czech TV reported on Friday. The report said that preschool girls were often in the pool at the same time as adult men, as were young boys and adult women. Several patients complained about the rule, Czech TV said. A hospital spokesman defended the measure saying patients’ swimwear could bring bacteria into the pool. The spokesman said this was confirmed by tests conducted by the hospital’s hygienists. However, a leading Czech sexologist, Petr Weiss, said that in more conservative countries, the practice could be labeled as sexual abuse of children. In contrast, other Prague hospitals reportedly require patients to wear swimsuits in their rehabilitation pools.
Prague zoo started selling elephant dung as fertilizer to members of the public on Saturday. Most of the several dozen plastic buckets with the droppings sold within an hour, the news agency ČTK reported. As part of the launch, the zoo’s director, Miroslav Bobek, signed the containers for people as souvenirs. The zoo sells 1.5 kilo of elephant dung for 70 crowns, or 4.2 dollars; each of the zoo’s three elephants produces between 140 and 180 kilos of dung a day. One customer, who bought three buckets, told the ČTK agency he would use two to fertilize his exotic plants, and give the third to his mother for her roses. The zoo will be sold n on weekends only.
Eight people died in traffic accidents in the Czech Republic on Friday and Saturday despite a police road-safety operation. Traffic police said they would conduct an increased number of checks over the Easter weekend, focusing on speeding and drink driving, the most common cause of accidents in the Czech Republic. Last year, 6 people died in road crashes on Easter, and 16 were killed the previous year.
The Czech Republic’s national hockey team beat Russia 6:3 in Brno on Saturday, in a preparatory game ahead of the world championships. The 39-year-old Czech star forward Jaromír Jagr scored one goal and three assists in the game, to the delight of the cheering crowds in Brno’s sold-out Rondo arena. The Czechs showed one of the season’s performances, with a great showing by goalie Ondřej Pavelec. The Czech Republic will play Sweden on Sunday before heading to the world championships in Slovakia that kick off on Friday.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said he will not allow the outgoing Deputy
Interior Minister Michal Moroz to take up a high level post in government
working for his former boss Radek John who is to handle a newly established
anti-corruption portfolio in the Nečas Cabinet. Mr. Moroz revealed his
plan to follow his boss to a new government post less than 24 hours after
Radek John was forced to vacate the post of interior minister within an
effort to clean the ministry of people who might have links to the security
firm ABL. Michal Moroz who said he would be leaving the ministry at the end
of the month is also linked to the said security firm.
The scandal surrounding the junior coalition party Public Affairs and its alleged ties to the security firm ABL brought the government to the brink of collapse and led to a cabinet re-shuffle in which two Public Affairs ministers were replaced.
The opposition Social Democrats have proposed putting a ceiling on election campaign expenditures. According to party leader Bohuslav Sobotka there should also be a restriction on sponsorship gifts received and the number of billboards each party can put up. The opposition party is proposing a ceiling of 80 million crowns on annual party expenditures in election years. The sum would not include employees’ salaries or rent on buildings and property. The main rivals on the Czech scene the Civic and Social Democrats are still in debt after spending astronomical amounts of money on the 2010 election campaign.
Human remains are reported to have been found amidst the debris of an explosives factory damaged by a powerful blast on Wednesday. A police spokesman said it had been confirmed that the remains were human but it was still not clear if they belonged to one of more individuals. Four people were reported missing after the accident –a powerful nitroglycerin explosion – at the Explosia plant in the suburbs of Pardubice. The plant manufactures the plastic explosive Semtex, often used in terrorist attacks because of its high performance and easy use. The blast damaged only part of the building and the factory resumed operation on Friday.
Brno scientists pair with Czech biotech firm to develop healing artificial tears
Traditional tourist sites open to visitors after long break
Czechs smoked less during Covid-19 outbreak but paid more due to tax hike
“There is no reason to panic” — says health minister about Karviná COVID-19 outbreak
Czech scientists researching molecule responsible for ‘cytokine storms’ – deadly consequence of many COVID-19 infections