The number of suicides in the Czech Republic in 2010 rose slightly to 1502 cases, the Czech Statistical Office said on Thursday; there were 48 more suicides last year than in 2009. The number of suicides has risen for the third time in succession after hitting a historic low in 2007. Czech men are much more likely to commit suicide that women; the highest figures were registered on Mondays. Suicide by hanging is by the far the most common, followed by shooting and poisoning.
The National Tissue Bank, which will preserve tissue and cell transplants and supply them to Czech hospitals, opened in the Moravian city of Brno on Thursday. The construction of the facility cost 420 million crowns, around half of which was covered by EU funds. The new centre is owned by a private firm where the state has a 24-percent stake. While Health Minister Leoš Heger, who attended the facility’s opening, welcomed its establishment, a number of experts criticized the fact it is not completely state-owned.
Three Czech tourists were killed and a number of others injured in a bus crash near the town of Grenova in northern Greece late Wednesday. The mini-bus was carrying 21 Czech tourists on their way to a nearby holiday resort when it collided with another vehicle, swerved off the road and caught fire. Two young women were reportedly killed on impact, a third tourist, a middle-aged man, succumbed to his injuries several hours later in hospital. A fourth Czech remains in critical condition. The bus was dispatched by the tourist agency Nikolas Tours.
Dozens of people, including some of the biggest names in the Czech show business, came to pay their last respects to the late lyrics writer Pavel Vrba who died last week at the age of 73. Mr Vrba authored the lyrics to more than 2000 songs over his long career that began in the early 1960s. The ceremony was attended by singers Lucie Bílá, Helena Vondráčková, Marta Kubišová and other artists who sang his lyrics.
Prague football clubs Sparta and Slavia filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the Czech football association over its recent sacking of the head of the referee committee, Luděk Macela. The clubs managers said Mr Macela had been fired in breach of the FA’s statutes. The lawsuit comes a day before the Czech football association is set to vote on its new chair.
The cabinet broke off talks on the 2012 budget on Wednesday over fresh demands for more money for the transport ministry. The junior coalition party Public Affairs has demanded an extra 9 billion crowns for the transport ministry threatening to torpedo the settlement on church restitutions in the lower house if its demand was not met. The ultimatum raised the ire of Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek who called it blackmail pure and simple and stressed that the proposed deficit of 105 billion crowns was not negotiable.
Over 100 containers of toxic waste from Ukraine will not be stored in the Czech Republic but in neighbouring Germany, the daily Právo reported on Wednesday. The paper which broke the story on Tuesday cited Ukrainian media reports as saying that Kiev has signed a contract with an unnamed Czech company on the import of over 100 containers of the toxic substance beryllium which was to be taken to an unnamed destination in the Czech Republic. Právo corrected the report in its Wednesday edition saying that although an unnamed Czech firm was involved in the deal the toxic waste was to be buried in unused mines in neighbouring Germany.
An amendment to the law seeks to introduce medicinal marihuana which would be available on prescription. The amendment being prepared by a commission of experts has received backing from the prime minister and is being strongly advocated by Public Affairs. Medicinal marihuana would be covered by health insurance under a similar model as that in effect in Canada or Israel.
The town of Nový Bor will employ Romany councilors as liaisons between the local authorities and the Roma minority. A number of projects – which should secure more jobs for the Roma and free-time activities for their children – is aimed at diffusing the growing ethnic tension between the majority population and the Romany minority. The situation deteriorated in the late summer following a brutal attack by Romanies on a local bar.
Police in the northern town of Varnsdorf are gearing up for another anti-Romany protest over the weekend. Over 300 people have confirmed participation on Facebook. In an effort to diffuse growing ethnic tension the local authorities have called a public debate on the problems behind the wave of anti-Romany sentiment.