The health ministry is preparing to extend the list of medicaments which patients will have to pay for in full as “above standard” health care items. The list is to be extended as of next year by 70 medicaments and treatments largely in the field of gynaecology, urology and surgery. As of this week Czechs are paying more for several dozen over-the counter medicaments such as pain killers and allergy products.
A Czech tourist is reported to have died of dehydration while on a hike to Hum, a hilltop medieval town on the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. According to the internet news site 24sata.hr the woman was making the trip with her husband and neither was suitably attired or had thought to bring bottled water. The man called the emergency services when his wife collapsed with exhaustion but medics were unable to revive her. An autopsy is being performed to ascertain the precise cause of death.
A truck passing through the town of Přerov unexpectedly careened off the main road and smashed into a building around mid-day on Monday. The forty-nine-year-old driver was rushed to hospital with severe injuries. The building was badly damaged and may be slated for demolition. The ceiling between the ground and first floor collapsed on impact and firemen are sifting through the debris. It is believed to have been empty at the time of the accident.
Meteorologists have issued a severe storm warning for most parts of the country valid from late Monday to early Tuesday. A belt of heavy rain is expected to pass over the country –west to east- bringing hail storms, high winds and in some areas persistent rain which could swell smaller rivers. The warning includes a call for people to secure their windows and garden furniture. Heavy storms in the Karlovy Vary region on Monday night caused electricity fallouts and disrupted road and rail traffic for hours. Maintenance workers were out all night and for most of the morning removing fallen trees from rail tracks and roads.
Defending champion Petra Kvitová came back from a set and a break down to beat Italian Francesca Schiavone 4-6 7-5 6-1 in a rain-disrupted fourth-round match at Wimbledon on Monday. Kvitová, the fourth seed, looked to be in trouble when former French Open champion Schiavone went a set and 2-1 up, taking advantage of a double fault to help her break the Czech. Kvitová, however, broke straight back and went 6-5 up before light rain began falling resulting in several stops and starts which unsettled Schiavone. In the third set Kvitová raced through two breaks of serve to wrap up the set in 39 minutes. She will now face the former champion Serena Williams.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas says a new justice minister will be appointed by Tuesday at the latest, before the president leaves for a week-long state visit to Indonesia and Malaysia on Wednesday. On a debate programme on Czech Television the prime minister said that the new minister would have to make structural changes to key parts of the justice ministry, which he said the previous minister avoided. The PM unexpectedly dismissed justice minister Jiří Pospíšil this week, criticising him for poor financial management and procrastinating on tough decisions. However, many have speculated that the decision was actually meant to block the imminent appointment of a highly respected prosecutor and anti-corruption crusader to the post of High State Prosecutor. Mr Nečas has declined to comment on who the new minister may be.
Regarding the on-going scandal around former defence minister Vlasta Parkanová, the prime minister also told Czech Television that he could not imagine that Parliament would not allow her to be given up for prosecution. Mr Nečas said the best thing Mrs Parkkanová could do would be to ask that she be stripped of immunity as a Member of Parliament herself. The case, he said, involved a number of questions that could only be cleared up in a court of law – including questions regarding the police investigation itself. The police accuse Parkanová of properly handling the 2010purchase of four Spanish CASA transport planes for the army via an intermediary.
The Czech Republic will probably not reach the planned balanced public budget in 2016 as lower economic growth stands in the way of meeting the government´s consolidation programme, Prime Minister Petr Necas has said. However, the government still has to get the public finance gap below 3 percent of GDP next year, he added. In its policy statement, the government counted on a balanced budget on a 2 percent GDP growth. The growth was at 1.7 percent last year, this year will be around zero and next year below 2 percent as well. Under these circumstances he said he considered it completely legitimate and reasonable to adjust the consolidation pace to concrete economic conditions.
Police cracked down on some three dozen squatters holding a music event at the Milada mansion in Prague 8. A helicopter and one hundred police officers arrived on the scene after midnight and arrested about 25 people for misdemeanours. A number of squatters climbed on to the roof, however, and police were still negotiating with them to come down on Sunday. The squatters were marking three years since police forced their community out of the mansion, which was abandoned in 1988 and is in poor condition. For more than 10 years the squatters had inhabited the building and organised concerts and anti-racism festivals.
The City of Prague has decided to considerably limit its partnership activities in cultural events, providing support instead through grants. According to the decision of the city council, as of next year, 90% of cultural funding will be distributed through grants based on selections procedures assessed by specialists. The system of partnership has often been criticised because it requires no such assessment. A total of 100 million crowns will be transferred from partnership to grant funds.