The hypermarket chain Globus has announced it is planning to invest four billion crowns into its Czech outlets in the next three years. The plans entail a modernization of its present stores, an expansion of the network and the setting up of a new e-shop. Last year Globus’s sales in the Czech Republic reached 23 billion crowns and the hypermarket chain is aiming to increase them by another 10 billion crowns. Globus came to the Czech Republic twenty years ago and operates 15 hypermarkets in the country.
The Czech Medical Chamber has announced it is setting up a committee for patient care. The chamber’s chairman Milan Kubek said its task would be to assess the quality of health care afforded and access to health care around the country. The Medical Chamber has warned that due to a lack of medical and particularly nursing staff, the quality of patient care is deteriorating. Some hospitals have had to close down units due to lack of staff and other institutions are sending patients home earlier than they would normally.
War veteran and RAF pilot Jaroslav Hofrichter has died at the age of 95, the Czech Spitfire Club reported on Tuesday. For close to four years Hofrichter flew with 311 Bomber Squadron of the RAF. The war hero, who received three Czechoslovak War Crosses and a medal for bravery, was later persecuted by the communist regime and relegated to manual labour until his retirement in 1975. Prime Minister Sobotka and Defense Minister Stropnicky expressed their condolences to his family and friends.
Police are searching for a hoax caller who claimed bombs had been planted at more than ten different sites around the country, including Prague’s main train station and the train stations and city halls in the towns of Plzen and Pardubice. The call was made early on Tuesday and the bombs were to go off at 15 minute intervals in different parts of the country. Three Prague squares, including Namestí Republiky in the city center, were off-limits to the public for several hours and hundreds of people were evacuated during the security operation.
The world’s biggest cargo plane – Antonov An -225 – landed at Vaclav Havel Airport on Tuesday, attracting a crowd of onlookers. The plane is to transport a 135 ton generator to Australia on Thursday. The Soviet-designed six-motor cargo plane can carry up to 640 tons of load. It is the longest and heaviest aircraft in the world. The Antonov only made one previous unscheduled landing in Prague, in 1989, when it had technical problems. At the time it was the plane’s second landing outside Soviet territory.
The High Court in Olomouc has sentenced a 30-year old man to 15 years in prison for intentionally driving his car into a group of people in a fit of rage. One of the four persons injured remains in a coma. The man had been drinking heavily and had had a row with his girlfriend when he took the wheel of his Skoda Fabia. The young woman refused to get into the car with him and he drove off in a rage only to return a few minutes later and in front of witnesses accelerated and drove the car into a group of bystanders. He told the court he suffered a bad migraine attack and lost control.
The sale of Fairtrade products in the Czech Republic has reached a plateau after several years of growth, according to the head of Fairtrade Czech Republic and Slovakia Hana Chorváthová. In 2015 Czechs bought 200 million crowns worth of Fairtrade goods, mostly coffee and chocolate. Coffee accounts for 61 percent of all Fairtrade products sold in the country, followed by chocolate, tea, sugar and biscuits.
The National Heritage Institute has announced a planned reconstruction of the Palace Gardens on the southern slopes of Prague castle. The reconstruction of the gardens complex should be launched in 2017 and is expected to last for five years. It should cost 45 million crowns. The Palace Gardens are a popular tourist attraction and will remain open to visitors throughout the phased-out reconstruction.
Security at Prague’s main international airport will gradually be boosted to a maximum level, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday after making an inspection of the airport together with Interior Minister Milan Chovanec and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnačová. Last year the cabinet earmarked 187 million crowns for heightened security measures at Vaclav Havel Airport including a face-recognition security system which should be up and running by the end of the year. The National Security Council is to receive a report on the progress made and security measures still to be effected. Since the terrorist attacks in Brussels joint police and military patrols have been present at key sites around the country.
The Czech government will need to provide hospitals with funds needed to meet a 10-percent pay rise for staff, hospital representatives and Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček agreed Monday. The minister stressed that the hospitals would need further money for development. He has repeatedly stressed that the state should markedly increase minimal health insurance payments to help covers funds on behalf of children, pensioners and the unemployed, from the present 870 crowns to 1,007 crowns a month. As the state pays the insurance for nearly six million people, the healthcare sector would gain almost 10 billion crowns if insurance were increased.