Twenty percent of Czechs think bribes are a normal part of life, according to a poll conducted by the CVVM agency. A fifth of respondents said they would think nothing of offering a bribe to smooth the way at a public institution or hospital. On the other hand two-fifth of Czechs said they would never offer a bribe on principle. The Czech Republic has had serious problems tackling widespread corruption in the wake of four decades of communism when small bribes were often the only way of acquiring hard to get products or services.
President Miloš Zeman will mark the 26th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the 76th anniversary of a Nazi crackdown on Czech universities at Albertov shortly after a demonstration against immigrants is due to start there, the president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told Czech Television on Sunday. Mr. Ovčáček said it was likely that the head of state would address the gathering, similarly as he did last year when faced with a hostile crowd of his critics. Mr. Zeman is known for his tough stance on the migrant issue and has in the past come under fire for making anti-Islamic statements. The migrant issue is expected to dominate the 26th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution with demonstrations both in support of and against migrants planned in Prague and other cities.
The ANO party has gained a strong lead over its rivals in public trust ratings. According to the outcome of an October poll conducted by the TNS Aisa agency ANO would now win general elections with 28 percent of the vote. Its coalition ally, the Social Democrats, has fallen a full 12 points behind it, with just 16 percent, the Communist Party, in third place, would get 12.5 percent, the centre right TOP 09 would get 9.5 percent and the Civic Democrats 7 percent. The only other party to cross the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house would be the junior party of the governing coalition, the Christian Democrats with 5.5 percent.
Temperature records are falling around the country due to the unseasonably warm weather. Four monitoring stations on Saturday recorded the highest ever measurements taken in November since recording began in 1775. The highest temperature recorded was at Kopisty, north-west of Prague which reported a high of 20.4 degrees C. Meteorologists predict that the entire month of November should bring above average temperatures and very little rain.
A growing number of parents are refusing to get their childen vaccinated against serious childhood illnesses, the president of the Czech Association of Pediatricians Alena Sebkova told the ctk news agency. She said parents often fear the side-effects of the vaccine more than the illness itself. In such cases doctors have parents sign a form saying they take responsibility for the risks involved. Dr. Sebkova said that this trend could have serious consequences in that it might bring back eradicated diseases.
The Association of Pharmacists has criticized a proposal for Czechs to be able to get prescription medicine by post. The proposal was put forward by the owner of an internet pharmacy as a way of helping seniors, mothers on maternity leave and people living in isolated regions who have a problem getting to the nearest pharmacy. At their meeting in Benesov on Saturday pharmacists said direct contact with a qualified pharmacist is essential to minimize health risks and pointed out that pharmacists were able to meet the specific demand of individual patients and deliver medicines in person.
President Miloš Zeman has spoken out in favour of a direct election of mayors and governors. Speaking at the weekend conference of the extra-parliamentary party Citizens' Rights – Zemanites of which he is honorary chairman, Mr. Zeman said mayors should be elected by the will of the people, according to a system where by the candidate with the most preferential votes from the winning party should take up the post. The Citizens' Rights party which was founded by Mr. Zeman’s sympathizers and promotes his philosophy never gained enough supporters to become a significant political force. Its chairman Senator Jan Veleba said the party was in favour of more elements of direct democracy in the political system.
Madonna will perform at Prague’s Arena on Saturday and Sunday. The singer is here within her Rebel Heart tour and her two concerts are completely sold out. In addition to Rebel Heart hits Madonna will perform some of her staples such as True Blue, Like A Virgin and La Isla Bonita and 'La Vie En Rose' the signature song of Edith Piaf. Madonna last performed in Prague in 2009.