The State Institute for Drug Control has called on Czech women who received breast implants made by French manufacturer PIP to undergo medical examination, the news site idnes has reported. The implants by PIP are suspected of being potentially carcinogenic and are reportedly more likely to split and leak than other kinds. Despite the scare, the Czech State Institute for Drug Control has not registered any serious cases thus far. At least one plastic surgeon said that the implants had been used successfully in the Czech Republic for several years. The brand implants were exported to 65 countries worldwide.
The regional court in Ostrava has sentenced a 59-year-old recidivist to 18 years in prison for a murder committed in jealous rage. Two years ago the convicted man, Alexandr Baláž, threw another man on the floor in his apartment and stomped on his stomach, later claiming the victim - a supposed friend - had behaved inappropriately towards his girlfriend. The man suffered fatal internal injuries. The incident came several months after Baláž was charged in a case of domestic violence against his girlfriend, in which he broke her jaw. Throughout the trial the suspect claimed he was innocent; Tuesday’s ruling can still be appealed.
The Czech national squad lost to Russia 2:1 in overtime at the quarterfinals of the world junior hockey championships in Canada on Monday. The Czechs put up one of their best performance of the tournament, going ahead in the 28th minute. But the Russian team soon equalized. The game went into overtime but the Czech goalie failed to block a shot from the blue-line area. The Czechs will now play Slovakia for the 5th spot.
The Czech economy will most likely contract by up to 2 percent in 2012, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek told Czech Radio on Monday. This would mean the state budget would lose between 30 and 50 billion crowns; however, the budget’s deficit would still remain at 105 billion crowns, or 3.2 percent of the country’s GDP. Mr Kalousek said regardless of the possible contraction, the government would pursue its fiscal strategy aimed at gradually lowering the deficit of the state budget. By 2014, the deficit should drop to 1.9 percent of the GDP.
The system of issuing new electronic ID cards collapsed on Monday, the first day it was in operation, the news website idnes.cz reported. The Czech Interior Ministry said around 7,000 applications for the new card were sent in on Monday morning but the central system collapsed twice between 11 AM and 1 PM. The authorities informed however that people do not have to exchange their IDs as long as the original ones remain valid. The new, smaller ID cards fitted with chips were going to be first issued in July but had to be postponed due to technical problems with the databases.
The Czech police on Monday released a 63-year-old man who shot two people in the north Bohemian town of Tanvald on Sunday, killing one and wounding the other. A police spokeswoman said no charges had been yet pressed against the shooter pending further investigation. The victims, aged 22 and 24, respectively, were Romanies, according to media reports. His family is planning to stage a protest rally in the town.
Czech President Václav Klaus and Prime Minister Petr Nečas, accompanied by their wives, had the traditional New Year lunch at the presidential retreat in Lány on Monday. The officials discussed agenda for 2012, and coordinated their foreign trips. After the lunch, Mr Klaus and Mr Nečas told reporters the economic situation in Europe was serious but people should not give in to panic. The tradition of the New Year lunch with the president and the prime minister began in 2004. On Tuesday, Mr Klaus will have lunch with the speakers of the lower and upper houses of the Czech Parliament.
An appellate court in Olomouc on Monday ordered the release of a Polish citizen who was sentenced in November to two years in prison for selling illicit synthetic drugs. A judge at the court said the trial suffered from severe procedural flaws which is why the case was returned to a lower-instance court which would have to try the man again. The Polish citizen opened several shops in Olomouc and other town in central and northern Moravia which offered new synthetic drugs advertising them as collectors’ items. The man moved his business to the Czech Republic from Poland after the Polish police cracked down on his shops there.
No sharp increase has been registered in the prices of foodstuffs due to a higher VAT rate that came into force on January 1, the news agency ČTK reported on Monday. The lower VAT rate increased from 10 to 14 percent; however, most supermarket chains raised their prices gradually in the last weeks of 2011 to avoid a sharp increase in January. The head of the Czech Trade and Tourism Confederation said Czech retailers used a similar marketing strategy as their colleagues in Germany when the country adopted the euro.
A record number of 5.2 million people visited Prague in 2011, according to an analysis by the consultancy firm Mag Consulting released on Monday. Most visitors to the Czech capital – around 4.5 million – came from abroad. The number of visitors to Prague broke the previous record from 2010 when some 4.7 million people visited Prague, according to figures by the Czech Statistical Office. The Mag Consulting firm also registered a record number of 13.2 million hotel stays in Prague last year.