Several dozens international experts have approached the Czech environment minister, Tomáš Chalupa, over a controversial bill on the Šumava National Park, the news website idnes.cz reported on Monday. The signatories of the letter, which include heads of national parts in Austria, Italy and Switzerland, as well as university professors and other experts from Germany, Poland, Portugal, and other countries, warn against the planned removal of the strictest level of protection from some of the core parts of the Šumava National Park. The letter had reportedly arrived at the ministry at the end of last year. The bill has also come under criticism from Czech wildlife experts
The Czech army on Monday began a military training mission in Mali, as part of an EU mission to the West African country. In the first stage, 34 Czech troops will guard an army base in the capital Bamaku before taking part in a training programme for the Malian military. Their mission is expected to last 15 months; most Czech troops participating in the mission are from the 43rd Airborne Battalion in Chrudim which has gone through missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and other places.
Several changes to the health care system come into effect on Monday, April 1. Medical marihuana is now legally available in the Czech Republic for patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other serious conditions. They will be able to get electronic prescriptions for cannabis from their doctors. All medical marihuana will be imported; the authorities will only allow Czech firms to grow medical marihuana in a year’s time. The changes to the health care system also include a new regulation of organs transplantations; Czech patients can now receive organs from foreign nationals who die in the Czech Republic.
Snow on Monday continues to disrupt traffic in parts of the Czech Republic. Some roads in the northeastern Moravian-Silesian region are covered with ice; however, most major roads and motorways have been cleared. Bad weather has also caused problems on the rail where several local routes had to be closed for traffic. The police have registered dozens of car accidents over the last 48 hours; more problems are expected later on Easter Monday when many people are returning home from family visits.
Some 30,000 people in Prague have been left without running water after a water pipe burst on Sunday afternoon. The affected area includes the districts of Hostivař and Zahradní město. The authorities have provided the inhabitants cisterns with drinking water which is however running out. The repairs are expected to last until Monday night.
Many Czechs, especially in Moravia, practice traditional customs on Easter Monday, a public holiday in the Czech Republic. One of the most popular customs includes the whipping of girls and women with special whips made of willow branches; this, some believe, bestows beauty and health on them for the next year. In return, the men receive coloured eggs.
Czech Christian Democrat Senator Petr Šilar is going to launch a European
Citizen’s Initiative to scrap daylight saving time, the news website
idnes.cz reported. Mr Šilar says the shift to summer time no longer
the benefits it was once introduced for, such as energy savings, and
be abandoned. Along with Czech Christian Democrat MEP Zuzana Roithová, Mr
Šilar is planning to start petitions in seven EU countries including the
Czech Republic to gather a million signatures in support of the motion.
That would ensure the European Commission would have to deal with the
proposal, as stipulated by the Lisbon treaty. The gathering of signatures
in the Czech Republic is to start later this month; people in other EU
countries will get a chance to sign the petition in August.
The Czech Republic, along with the rest of Europe, switched to summer time, or daylight saving time, at 2 AM on Sunday when clocks moved forward by one hour.
Some 10 centimetres of fresh snow has fallen in southern Bohemia and Moravia since Saturday night. The snow disrupts travel in parts of the region; one local road near Přerov, in northern Moravia, was closed on Sunday morning. Car accidents have occurred in several places; a section of the D1 motorway between Brno and Ostrava was closed for some time due to a pile-up involving a truck and several cars. Some 20 cm of new snow has fallen in the Beskydy mountains where the authorities warned against hikes. Meteorologists expect more snow will fall during the day.
Air pollution exceeded the permitted levels on Sunday in the east-Bohemian regions of Pardubice and Hradec Králové as well as in the northeastern Moravian-Silesian region, according to data released by the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute on Sunday. The northeastern Czech Republic is one of Europe’s most polluted regions due to heavy industry located on both sides of the Czech-Polish border.
The Czech Interior Ministry is planning to bring the diverse agenda of offences under a single legal code, the news agency ČTK reported on Sunday. The ministry has come up with a new bill which would also unify penalties for the individual offences. Under current legislation, offences are dealt with in around 200 different regulations and acts. The bill is to be preliminarily discussed by the government next week.