The government’s legislative council has called for a detailed inventory of property to be returned to the country’s churches within the agreed on restitution process. The head of the legislative council Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake of Public Affairs said an inventory was essential in order to prevent future disputes over whether the restituted property had been in state ownership. She said further the cabinet should approve each and every restitution separately. The Catholic Church which is to regain the lion’s share of restituted property is concerned that such an inventory could seriously complicate and delay the restitution process. In filing for restitution churches have had to document past ownership of the property in question.
An army plane has left for Libya to secure the transport of five seriously injured Libyans to Czech hospitals for treatment. Two of them are in need of extensive plastic surgery, two are paralyzed from the waist down, and the last patient has a complicated fracture. They are to receive care within the government’s MEDEVAC programme originally set up to help children from war-torn countries or natural disaster victims.
Two patients were injured in a fire in an Ostrava hospital on Sunday. According to a spokeswoman the fire broke out in one of the hospital rooms and was most likely caused by a patient who disregarded a smoking ban and lit up in bed. The patient herself, aged 69, suffered severe burns. Her roommate is also reported injured. Twenty-two people were evacuated from the ward. The incident is being investigated.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Sunday the Czech Republic should pull its weight in helping to save the euro zone. Speaking in a televised debate, the Czech foreign minister said the Czech Republic could not afford to remain isolated in Europe and should seriously think about making a financial commitment towards restoring financial stability in the euro zone. The country’s contribution would be 90 billion crowns and as other EU members it would have to make a commitment within eight days. The Czech foreign minister said the matter should be put to the country’s parliament without delay.
The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, who is in Prague for a three day visit, said at Charles University on Sunday that China could do much for the world but its growing economic power was undermined by mistrust and a lack of respect. Speaking at an academic debate on the subject of China and its human rights record, the Dalai Lama said that without freedom of speech and rule of law China would never gain the respect and international standing it craved. Chinese dissident Jian Tian Li said that the country’s economic successes were helping the communist leadership to maintain power and it had bribed the country’s intellectual elite with special privileges and high salaries in order to curb opposition.
The Green Party which was marginalized in the last general elections has approved new party statutes including a set quota for men and women on its list of candidates for next year’s regional and senate elections. The new rule stipulating that at least a third of candidates must be women, will also put a woman in the party’s top leadership, either in the top post or a deputy position. The party also agreed to elect an ombudsman who would referee and resolve internal party disputes.
One of the symbols of Christmas - the Bethlehem light –has arrived in the Czech Republic. The light is traditionally brought to the country from Vienna by Czech scouts and this year it was handed over to Bishop Vojtěch Cikrle at a special mass in Brno’s Cathedral of St. Peter and St Paul on Sunday. In the coming days it will be distributed all over the country for people to take home as a symbol of love and hope. Traditionally one of the sites in Prague where people will find the Bethlehem light is the Czech Radio building on Vinohradská street.
A serious accident involving a truck and two vans brought traffic along the D1 highway from Prague to Brno to a standstill for close to two hours on Sunday morning. One driver was killed on impact another was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries. Police are investigating the cause of the accident. Witnesses say icy conditions on the highway are likely to have caused the crash.
Divers are searching for the body of a man who jumped off a bridge into the Vltava River in the town of Kralupy nad Vltavou. Eyewitnesses say he swam in the freezing cold water for about one hundred meters before disappearing underwater. The incident happened at around five am on Sunday morning and it is not clear if the man acted on impulse or had planned the daring feat to impress his friends. The incident is being investigated.
A runaway kangaroo on the loose near the D1 highway in the region of Vysočina is giving the police a run for their money. The animal who escaped from a private owner on Wednesday, managing to avoid a party of 70 volunteers and officers throughout the day, has once again been sighted near the main road. Police are keeping it away from traffic and the owner has sent out a team of fresh volunteers to try to capture the animal.