The Czech Republic is against the introduction of a new bank tax in the European Union which should serve as a reserve fund for possible liquidity crises. Caretaker prime minister, Jan Fischer, who is attending Thursday’s EU summit on economic policy, said that in its present form the proposal was too rigid and too many questions remained unanswered. The EC is pushing for a common stand on the issue ahead of a G20 finance ministers meeting at the end of June, where it hopes to persuade other countries to adopt similar measures. Another controversial issue discussed is whether the EC should have the right to review member states’ budgets before they are presented to national parliaments for approval.
The caretaker government of Jan Fischer is considering naming a commissioner who would oversee the planned completion of the Temelín nuclear power plant in south Bohemia. According to the news site Aktualne.cz the government wants to increase the transparency of related tenders and bring the construction process under greater control. The state-owned company CEZ which owns the plant has not specified how much it wants to invest in the plant and how many reactors it is planning to build.
The Czech branch of Transparency International has criticized the anti-corruption measures floated by the emerging centre-right coalition government. The head of the Czech branch of TIC Vaclav Liška told the ctk news agency the debate on corruption had shrunk to a discussion of a couple of controversial repressive measures, such as the introduction of an agent provocateur. He called on politicians to adopt a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy that would be primarily based on prevention. The Czech branch of TIC is preparing its own draft proposal.
Some 2,500 doctors working in state hospitals are threatening to quit their jobs at the end of the year if they do not get a substantial pay rise. Their ultimatum comes in response to an appeal from the Czech Medical Chamber which has urged physicians to put more pressure on the government. The chamber wants to see the average monthly salary of Czech physicians upped from the current 45 000 crowns to 70 000 – which is triple the average salary in the country. If doctors follow through with their threat some hospitals will face serious problems.
Seven Chinese nationals who were detained at Prague’s Ruzyně airport on Tuesday after trying to enter the country with false visas are to be deported to their homeland later today, the ctk news agency reported. The visas were made using the original forms, which were reportedly lost from the German embassy in China. The Chinese nationals tried to circumvent the routine airport check by cutting off the machine-readable zone from their visas, but an officer noticed this and used a computer database to check the visa numbers. The fraud is being investigated.
Three candidates have so far been nominated for the post of Ombudsman, left vacant after the death of Otakar Motejl earlier this month. They are former dissident Anna Šabatová, nominated by the Social Democrats, Jitka Seitlová, deputy to the late Ombudsman, nominated by the Civic Democrats, and the head of the National Council for People with Disabilities, Václav Krása. President Klaus is expected to put forward two nominations of his own. The next Ombudsman will be elected by the country’s new Parliament.
The police are questioning a snake breeder in the town of Ostrov, west Bohemia, who dumped the bodies of four dead pythons in a local forest. There was a panic among the locals after one of the six-metre long snakes was discovered by a man out walking his dog. The police have now confirmed that the snakes were all dumped dead and presented no danger to the public. The police are investigating the case on suspicion of negligenc e and animal cruelty.
A regional court has sent a doctor to two years in prison for malpractice. The physician led at least three of his patients to believe they had cancer and offered them a special cure for large sums of money. He then proceeded to treat them with vitamin injections, before pronouncing them cured. The fraud came to light when one of his patients insisted on getting a second opinion.
Radek Štepánek has ruled himself out of Wimbledon after sustaining a left knee injury. Štepánek, who is 25th in the ATP rankings and was seeded 22 for Wimbledon, suffered the injury in training earlier this week and following an extensive examination said on Thursday he would have to pull out of Wimbledon as well as the Davis Cup on doctors orders. He had been scheduled to play in a Davis Cup quarter-final against Chile on July 9-11 in Coquimbo, Chile. The Czech has been sidelined from the courts since March due to fatigue.
Athlete Eliška Klučinová equalled a long-standing Czech national record in the heptathlon at a meeting in Kladno on Wednesday. The record of 6268 was set by Zuzana Lajbnerová in 1988. Klučinová beat finished ahead of Marina Goncharova of Russia, who had 6,182, while Lyudmyla Yosypenko of Ukraine finished third. She said her joy was all the greater because her success had come in front of friends and Czech fans in Kladno.