Defence Minister Karel Kuehnl said on Thursday that the military had
decided to reinforce the protection of Czech soldiers in Afghanistan. The
military is reacting to the outburst of violence in Muslim countries
caused by the printing of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that are
considered disrespectful by Muslims.
Four dozen Czech soldiers are serving in NATO's ISAF units in Northern Afghanistan, along with Germans and Danes. Czech soldiers also serve in international missions in other regions in which Muslim populations prevail - Iraq and the south Serbian province of Kosovo but no problems have been reported.
The Czech Medical Chamber has called on Health Minister David Rath to discuss easing the directive on remunerating medical care. The decree and Mr Rath's policies are opposed by a number of doctors' associations which plan to hold a large protest rally in the centre of Prague later this month. Under the minister's directive, doctors and health-care facilities will receive three percent more money for providing care than they received in the first half of 2005. However, the decree also stipulates strict limits on the use of medicines and certain treatments. If doctors and facilities exceed the limit, they will not be remunerated by health insurance companies and will face penalties.
The tent city which was set up in Prague on January 24 to provide overnight shelter for homeless people will by removed next Wednesday, Prague mayor Pavel Bem told reporters on Thursday. The seven army tents, equipped with wood-burning ovens and toilets, have been providing beds and food for around a hundred homeless people every night. According to estimates, there are some 4,600 homeless people in the Czech capital, while shelters only provide 900 beds. The costs of the operation of the tent city are estimated at just under a million crowns (38,000 dollars).
The Council of Judges of the Supreme Court has approved the Justice
Ministry's request that Jaroslav Bures become a judge of the Supreme
Court. Mr Bures is scheduled to be appointed judge by President Vaclav
Klaus on Tuesday and so fulfil all legal conditions to be appointed
chairman of the Supreme Court. The post has been vacant since Iva
Brozova was dismissed by President Klaus last week. Mr Bures has been
cited as a successor to Ms Brozova, but neither the president nor the
Justice Ministry have confirmed it. Mr Klaus said at the beginning of
the week that the new Supreme Court chairman would arise from the 30
judges whom he would appoint on February 14.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic's Constitutional Court has decided that Iva Brozova will remain acting chairwoman of the Supreme Court, until the Constitutional Court rules on her complaint against her dismissal.
Czech expatriates who lost Czech citizenship after they left communist Czechoslovakia can still ask for its renewal. President Vaclav Klaus has signed an amendment which abolishes the five-year deadline for the applications which expired last September. Czech legislators decided to amend the law because they expected that some Czech expatriates living in more remote parts of the world may not have learnt about the possibility to apply for the renewal of Czech citizenship.
The head of the National Security Office, Jan Mares, has resigned. Mr Mares decided to leave office after a police recording of a telephone conversation between him and a man linked to a corrupt gang was made public last week. Although the two men discussed how they could gain contacts at the Presidential Office, Mr Mares maintains that it was an innocent conversation. The government was scheduled to vote on Mr Mares' dismissal during its session late on Wednesday.
Social Democrat and Communist Deputies joined forces to push through a
much disputed new labour code during a session of the Lower House of
the Czech Parliament on Wednesday. The opposition Civic Democrats and
the two junior ruling coalition parties, the Christian Democrats and
the Freedom Union, have expressed fears that it would increase the
authority of trade unions and threaten the flexibility of the labour
The lower house also approved an amendment to the consumer protection law, which - among other things - would allow for entrepreneurs who violate the law to be fined up to 50 million crowns. The maximum fine currently stands at one million crowns. The labour code and amendment have yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.
Paediatricians, sexologists, social workers and others involved in child care attended a round table discussion in Prague on Wednesday. An estimated 18,000 children in the Czech Republic have been involved in prostitution, pornography, or were victims of some other type of commercial sexual abuse. This constitutes close to one percent of the country's population under the age of 18 years. According to Eva Vanickova from Charles University's medical faculty, it is up to paediatricians to be more attentive and look out for symptoms of abuse. The health ministry also presented a new information booklet on the problem.
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