Around one million people have joined the series of strikes held by Czech
trade unions in protest of the government reforms. It is being described
one of the largest protests since the fall of communism. The unions are
particularly critical of reforms implemented in the education and health
sectors, as well as the government’s plan to increase the retirement age
in the Czech Republic.
The strike has been symbolically joined by Czech Post, one of the country’s largest employers with 37,000 workers. The union at another large Czech employer, Czech Railways, declined to take part. Czech train drivers, however, did stop around one thousand passenger trains for just over an hour. Public transport in many cities and towns stopped as well. About 30,000 people out of a total of about 200,000 people working in the Czech health sector have also participated in the strike. Services have been limited but emergency wards have been kept open.
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek said the strike held by trade unions on Tuesday was politically motivated. Mr Topolánek said the country is not threatened by the reforms against which the unions protested, but by not having enough of them. According to the chairman of the opposition Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek the number of those joining the strike was huge and the government should regard it as a challenge.
Judges involved in the Kuřim child abuse case have dismissed criticism by Minister Cyril Svoboda for not holding the case behind closed doors. Mr Svoboda said that the fact the case was being reported on in such detail could threaten the health of the two boys whose mother and aunt are on trial. Mr Svoboda, who is minister for legislation, said Judge Pavel Goth was more concerned with becoming famous than protecting the boys, who allegedly suffered abuse at the hands of a number of adults. The chairman of the regional court in Brno, Jaromír Pařízek, said Minister Svoboda had no authority to criticize the court proceedings.
The Czech Republic is listed among the EU countries that don’t sufficiently fight against racism and xenophobia, it follows from the annual report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights released on Tuesday. The report calls on the countries to apply efficient sanctions against discrimination on ethnic and racial grounds. It singles out the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Spain as countries with no permanent commission to deal with the cases of discrimination.
The US website Foreign Policy has included former Czech president Václav Havel on a list of the one hundred intellectuals whose ideas have most influenced present world developments. The Foreign Policy list features philosophers, writers, politicians and other leading figures, including Umberto Eco, Garry Kasparov and Salman Rushdie. The personalities are listed in alphabetical order, without being compared in terms of intellectual qualities or other criteria.
The number of dollar millionaires has been rising in the Czech Republic owing to economic growth and strong crown. Last year the number of Czech millionaires reached 17,000, a year-on-year increase by 15 percent, according to a study published by the companies Capgemini and Merryll Lynch today. The millionaires are mostly business people who have sold or left their companies. Another large group consists of managers and experts of large international companies active in the Czech Republic.
The Czech football player Jan Koller has signed a 1.5 year contract with the Russian club Samara. The 35-year old forward transferred to the top Russian league after half a season with Germany’s Nuremberg. Koller retired from international football after the Czech Republic was eliminated from the European Championship at the group stage. With 55 international goals he is the greatest Czech goal-scorer of all time.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych beat Russia’s Jevgenij Koroljov 4:6, 6:1, 6:4, 3:6, 7:5 in the first round of the Wimbledon Championships in tennis on Monday and advanced to the tournament’s second round. Czech number one Nicole Vaidišová and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová have also made it through to the second round.
Czech Post will join Tuesday’s one-hour strike in protest against the
government’s reforms in one of the largest protests since the fall of
communism. The state-owned Czech Post, one of the country’s largest
employers with 37,000 workers, will join the strike symbolically so as not
to hamper the company’s operation. Employees will display protest texts
on their counters, wear ribbons and sign petitions.
The strike has been called by the Czech and Moravian Confederation of Labour Unions in protest against government’s reforms. The labour union of another large Czech employer, Czech Railways, has announced they will not join in.
The head of the opposition Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek has accused the ruling Civic Democrats of pressuring a Social Democrat MP Petr Wolf into quitting his party because they needed votes for the coalition. Mr Paroubek also called on the renegade MP to renounce his mandate. Petr Wolf left the Social Democratic MP club at the weekend and later gave up his party membership, citing political pressure and threats to himself and his family. Mr Paroubek’s allegation has been rejected by the head of the Civic Democrat MPs club, Petr Tluchoř.