Czechs are low on the list of regular blood donors in Europe, according to research from the European statistical office. Around two-fifths of Europeans have donated blood, with the most donors in Austria followed distantly by France, where more than half have donated. The Czech Republic is in 22nd place, with only 30% of the population over the age of 15 having ever donated blood.
Higher hospital registration fees this year will not mean better catering for patients, according to the health insurance company VZP. While many have expected that hospitals would be using the extra income to increase the comfort of patients, the company’s spokesman points out that the law stipulates no such thing and hospitals receive money for patients’ catering from insurance companies. The law states that the regulation fee is the income of the hospital and must be used for running and modernising the hospital. Patients have paid for hospital stays since 2008; the original fee of 60 crowns a day was raised to 100 at the end of 2011.
In the London Olympics, shooter Lenka Marušková advanced to the final round of the air pistol only three points away from first place but ended up eighth overall. Backstroker Simona Baumrtová set a new Czech record in the 100m race, finishing just under one minute and advancing to the semi-final. Gymnast Kristýna Pálešová lost her chance to qualify for the multi-disciplinary final, finishing eighth out of 14 in the first group.
Syrian officials have freed a Czech citizen being held since the end of June. The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the press on Saturday that Sandra Bitarová was safe and in good health. According to Czech Television, Bitarová lives permanently in Syria, where her father is from, and works in an advertising agency. She was detained for a day once this year already and Czech diplomats received no explanation. Her family says she is not politically active.
Around three dozen supporters of the Czech Pirate Party gathered in front of the Office for Personal Data Protection on Saturday to protest the European Indect project, aimed at connecting and assessing data from surveillance cameras. The Pirate Party maintains that the project jeopardises personal freedoms as the system regards them as potential criminals under the guise of thwarting terrorism.
Despite tough going in the actual arena on the first day, the Czech Olympic team scored fashion points at the start of the London games on Friday with original and witty uniforms. The 133 athletes appeared during the opening ceremony wearing blue and white suits topped off with wellington boots and parasols. While ‘wellies’ trended high on Twitter throughout the evening, the New York Times summarised the fashion spectacle as ‘Lauren vs. Rubber Wellies’ – comparing the Czech accessory to the US team’s, reportedly ‘controversial’, choice of berets and blazers by Ralph Lauren. BBC commentators themselves were also amused at the fashion quip on English weather.
The Czech team had worse results on the field on their first day of competition. The highest seeded tennis player Tomáš Berdych suffered a shocking upset on the central court at Wimbledon, losing to Belgian Steve Darcis in two sets, 6:4, 6:4. The 26-year-old can still hope for a victory in the doubles tournament, where he will be playing alongside Radek Štěpánek. Meanwhile, Kateřina Emmons lost her chance to defend her gold in rifling from Beijing, taking fourth place on Saturday morning, 1.2 points short of a bronze.
Better news for tennis world no. 4 Petra Kvitová, who narrowly defeated Kateryna Bondarenko on the first day of the Olympic Games. Kvitová won the first set handily from the Ukrainian but struggled in the second, ending the third in a close finish, 6:4, 5:7, 6:4. She will now continue to the second round.
Steel tycoon Tomáš Chrenek has donated nine million crowns to the presidential campaign of Jan Fisher. The owner of the Třinec Iron and Steel Works, Mr Chrenek is also behind the Barrandov film studios and TV Barrandov station. Regarding the donation, Chrenek said Jan Fischer was the most trustworthy of the candidates and someone who had proven that he was capable of leading both an important institution and the Czech government, as during his interim tenure between 2009 and 2010. Fischer, he said, had gained the respect of the Czech public and specialists. Mr Fischer is the current frontrunner in the first direction presidential election, which will be held early next year
The coalition party TOP 09 has released its balance sheet for the year. The party expects income of nearly 36 million crowns and expenses of about 33 million. A separate budget for this year’s autumn elections to the Senate and local bodies will consist of 26 million crowns to which the party’s partner organisation, Mayors and Independents, will contribute eight million. The party plans to invest six million in Senate races and 28 million in elections to regional councils.