The head of the Czech National Council of Disabled People has filed a criminal complaint against Health Minister Leoš Heger over what it deems to be unlawful steps in health care reform. Chairman Vaclav Krása writes in the complaint that the recent raising of patients’ fees pay for hospital stays is unlawful and unconstitutional, as is the introduction of paid extra care. The council suspects Heger of abuse of power and harming other people´s rights, implementing controversial direct payments by patients in spite of the fact that the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (part of the Czech constitution) guarantees free health care and medial aids for free to Czech citizens and creating unequal conditions of people´s access to health care.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said today he fears plans for the establishment of a union of banks within the European Union might jeopardise the single financial market in the EU. Some European politicians, including European Commission head Jose Barroso, are calling for the establishment of the bank union in reaction to the current crisis. However, Mr Kalousek says it is not possible to expect that all countries will participate in the bank union and warns that if the union were formed by only some countries, it might be the end of the single financial market in the EU. The plan – which entails greater integration of the banking sector, stronger regulation and changes in insurance policies and bank guarantees - will be discussed by EU governments and heads of states at a summit in Brussels next week.
Several dozen people gathered in Prague on Saturday to commemorate post-war politician Milada Horáková and other victims of communism on the weekend before the 62nd anniversary of her execution by the Communist regime. Horáková was executed on charges of treason and conspiracy after a show trial on June 27, 1950. People paid their respects to her and others at the monument to 235 victims of communism in front of Pankrác Prison in Prague, where Horáková and others were imprisoned and killed. Milada Horáková served in the anti-fascist resistance during WWII, before becoming an MP for the National Socialists. She left politics after the Communist coup in 1948 and was arrested the next year. The Supreme Court overturned her conviction in 1968, however she was only exonerated in 1990.
Doctors are struggling to save a four-year-old boy who was found on the tracks of the metro in Prague on Friday evening. The boy will likely remain in critical condition for several more days, after doctors worked five hours to save his leg. The child was found in the metro tunnel with serious injuries between the Opatov and Chodov stations. Rescuers believe he was either hanging on between wagons before falling through, or was walking down the track and was struck by the train. Police are unable to provide further information in light of his age.
The Visegrad group states have said the solution to the EUs debt crisis must not undermine growth or hurt the common market. At their session in Prague on Friday the heads of government of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary stressed the need for long-term, far-reaching changes which would gradually restore confidence on EU financial markets. Meeting ahead of next week’ s EU summit in Brussels the Visegrad group warned against quick solutions in the form of a hastily conceived fiscal union which EU members would be asked to support without closer inspection.
The lower house on Friday failed to vote on a bill on the restitution of
church property, now in its third reading, due to procrastination tactics
employed by the opposition parties. The opposition Social Democrats who
strongly oppose the proposed legislation conducted a protracted debate in
order to prevent a possible vote on the bill in the course of this
parliament session. Their aim was to get the vote postponed until July,
after which they plan to veto it in the Senate where they have a majority
meaning that it would return to the lower house in September. The
opposition’s argument is that the ruling parties would have a more
difficult time pushing through the bill on the eve of the senate and
regional elections in view of strong public opposition to it.
Under the draft legislation, the Czech state would return some 56 percent of the physical property worth around 75 billion crowns; for the rest, Czech churches and religious societies would receive some 60 billion crowns in compensation over a period of 30 years.
The finance ministry wants to get the controversial privatization of the Mostecka uhelna coal mining company annulled and is seeking to receive damages from six former managers who allegedly siphoned close to 7 billion crowns from the company. The police have accused the men of insider trading and abuse of power. They are suspected of illegally taking over 3 billion crowns from the company in 1998 and subsequently using the money to buy its shares. Paradoxically, it was the Swiss authorities who launched an investigation into the company’s privatization in 2005. The equivalent of 12 billion crowns was blocked in Swiss accounts.
South Moravian Regional State Attorney Petr Coufal has announced his decision to resign from office after the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that he had made a serious mistake by deciding on a case that concerned him. Coufal went out of his way to deal with an anonymous complaint against himself for parking his private car in a parking lot for official vehicles. The judge said Coufal had abused his position to sweep the case under the carpet.
The Czech Anti-Monopoly Office has fined the city of Liberec, which hosted the world ski championships in 2009, 6.5 million crowns for irregularities in around 70 tenders relating to the event. A frequent transgression was the illegal parsing of tenders. City councillors have said they would appeal the decision. The fine is one of the biggest ever levied in this country.
A thirty-six-year-old man turned himself in to the police in Olomouc on Friday, owning up to a murder he committed 16 years ago. According to a police spokesman he claimed to have killed a 41-year-old woman who was an acquaintance and trustingly let him into her flat. The man allegedly provided many details of the murder leading the police to believe that he is telling the truth. An investigation is underway.