Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra has criticised the Interior Ministry for its failure to prepare a proposal for the banning of the Communist Party. Mr Vondra told Czech Television on Sunday that he believed the ministry had failed in fulfilling a government resolution. The Interior Ministry was asked by the government to prepare the groundwork for a constitutional lawsuit against the party. The ministry however says it was unable to acquire sufficient material, even with the aid of experts and the intelligence community. The government will be discussing the situation on Wednesday.
Less than a quarter of adult Czechs feel they are better off now than under communism, according to a new poll. The results, compiled for Czech Television by the poling agency SC&C, also suggest that three out of ten feel they were better off during the communist era. Respondents said that the most significant improvement since November of 1989 has been the offer of goods in shops and open borders. The greatest failures were given as coupon privatisation, the worsening of personal relations and the work of government offices.
Waiting lists for kidney transplants in the Czech Republic are getting longer each year, but remain shorter than the European average, the Transplantations Coordinating Centre reports. The centre’s director, Pavel Březovský, says that the list increased by roughly 60 people to 651 last year compared to the year before. The reason for the discrepancy with Europe, he says, is that fact that haemodialysis centres in Europe put people on the writing list earlier than in the Czech Republic. Physicians are marking the 50th anniversary of the first kidney transplant in Czechoslovakia and have launched a campaign to encourage living donors.
PepsiCo CZ has recalled a batch of flavoured water found to be contaminated. The beverage manufacturer made a press release stating that extensive microbiological tests had shown that no other batches or products were contaminated other than the one in question - Toma Natura Plus with peach and jasmine favouring. It says it discovered the problem after receiving one complaint.
Police are searching for the dean of the West Bohemian University law school, Květoslav Růžička, who they say has been missing since Friday morning. He was last seen leaving his residence in Prague 5. The Plzeň law school’s doctorial programme was recently suspended as a result of continuing fallout from a plagiarism and corruption scandal. Mr Růžička has also been involved with the ongoing lawsuit between the company Diag Human and the Cezch state, in which he was an arbitrator.
Police in Hradec Králové are filing charges of negligent manslaughter against a driver whose unexplained manoeuvres on a side street left two children dead. The 40-year-old driver struck the children, boys aged three and six, and their grandparents while reversing rapidly into a zebra crossing. He then circled the car a number of times in the intersection, eventually crashing into a building. Police have ruled out alcohol or drug use, and witnesses told the website Tyden.cz that he may have been suffering a seizure. If convicted he faces up to six years’ imprisonment.
Severe smog that has afflicted the entire country in recent weeks has largely lifted, though many areas still have higher air dust rates than are permissible. Measuring stations still show three times in the limit in parts of the region of Moravia-Silesia – one of the worst areas for air pollution in Europe. Conditions have also remained poor in Kladno, west of Prague, and in a part of Brno. Elsewhere the situation is returning to within permissible norms..
General Secretary of the OECD Ángel Gurría says that the Czech government’s reforms are going in the right direction, but still have much to surmount. Mr Gurría visited Prague on Friday and offered the government a list of recommendations for improving the economic situation in the country, among them a number of health care proposals. The OECD recommends decreasing ‘excess capacities’ in hospitals, spending less on medicines and digitalizing medical documentation. The General Secretary also praised the effect of the new Labour Code on the labour market, consumption taxation and the government’s cooperation with its economic council, NERV.
The Chamber of Czech Doctors says that its cooperation with the Ministry of Health is not working. Speaking at the start of a conference of the chamber in Brno on Saturday, its president, Milan Kubek, criticised Health Minister Leoš Heger for reneging on an agreement to raise the salaries of health care workers by ten percent. Health care report is the main topic of discussion at the weekend conference, which is being attended by 46,000 doctors from across the country. Minister Heger will also be holding discussions with the doctors.
Mr Kubek also told the doctors’ conference that the chamber had learned of at least 30 cases where young physicians were working under conditions of “slavery” in Czech healthcare facilities. He said that the need to accumulate experience after their studies leads young doctors to work long hours for inadequate remuneration that is impermissible under the law. The Ministry of Labour has apparently inspected the situation but has not yet published its results.
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