A new study by psychiatrists from Prague’s General Teaching Hospital suggests that the number of alcoholics in the Czech Republic is double the number previously thought: as many as 700,000 people reportedly have serious problems with alcohol in their daily lives, and only one percent are trying to tackle their addiction in detox programmes. The story was reported by Wednesday’s Lidové noviny, which outlined numerous alcohol-related problems from health (namely cirrhosis and other liver problems) but also, for example, job loss and domestic violence.
The construction of the ELI Beamlines centre, to include the world’s most efficient laser, began in Dolní Březany on Tuesday. The project is being largely funded by the EU. The launch was attended by Prime Minister Petr Nečas and the education minister, Petr Fiala. The prime minister called the project the “most important scientific installation in the country”. The new centre has been designed to attract international experts as well as to curb the so-called brain drain in Czech science. The centre will focus on research into cancer treatment, medical imaging and diagnosis. The laser will also be used in the development and testing of new materials and the handling of radioactive waste. The centre is expected to begin operation in 2016, reaching full performance by 2019, Jan Řídký, the director of the Czech Academy of Sciences’ Physics Institute, said.
The Czech Banking Association, in its updated forecast, made clear on Wednesday it expected the Czech economy to contract by almost one percent this year, while back in July it forecast a 0.6 percent drop. CBA representatives discussed the downward revision as related largely to a fall in household consumption. The government´s austerity measures and unstable expectations of further development had contributed to the forescast change. The CBA also cut its forecast of GDP development for next year: the association now expects growth of less than 0.5 percent, while in July it estimated one percent growth.
The decision by No. 39 – legendary Czech goalie Dominik Hašek – to retire for a third and final time from hockey drew reaction in media around the world on Tuesday and Wednesday. The two-time Stanley Cup winner and gold medal champion from Nagano ’98 opted to hang up the skates after negotiations with a final NHL team proved fruitless. The 47-year-old Hašek had been preparing for a return to the ice in the hope of playing in the NHL again – first in the minors if need be. No deal was reached in the end. Germany’s focus.de noted it was the end of a hockey icon, while former goalie Darren Eliott told USA Today that Hašek, known as the Dominator, could just as easily been nicknamed the Innovator – referring to Hašek’s now famous acrobatic style, often doing whatever it took, even throwing his stick, to keep pucks out of the net.
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, who is recovering from a lingering knee injury, has not ruled out a comeback before the end of the year – either in the ATP World Tour Finals or the final of the Davis Cup to be played against the Czech team in Prague. The Davis Cup final is to take place on November 16-18. Nadal said it would be tough but that a comeback before the end of the year was “not impossible”.
Slovakia and Poland have lifted their ban on the import and sale of Czech spirits. Slovak Agriculture Minister Lubomír Jahnátek said on Tuesday that all Czech spirits imported to the country would have to have certificates of origin and a clearly marked date of production. He said Slovakia would recognize certificates issued in the Czech Republic. Special measures will apply to spirits produced between January and September this year which is considered high-risk. Poland is taking similar measures. Czech liquor producers recently protested against the ban arguing that their certified products were unquestionably safe.
Police have arrested a man suspected of distributing contaminated bootleg spirits in the Semily area, north-east of Prague. The man is reported to have bought cheap liquor from Moravia containing the deadly methanol. Police found over 3 thousand liters of it in storage on his premises. If convicted the man would face up to five years in prison.
The leadership of the ruling TOP 09 party met on Tuesday to consider a possible successor to outgoing Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromír Drábek. Mr. Drábek is to leave office at the end of the month in connection with the bribery charges leveled against his first deputy Vladimir Siska. Minister Drábek, who is to be questioned by investigators on Friday said that he did not feel in any way guilty but was prepared to accept political responsibility for the actions of his subordinates. Among the names being floated are the party’s deputy chairwoman Helena Langšádlová and Deputy Health Minister Marek Ženísek. The final decision will be in the hands of party leader Karel Schwarzenberg.
The six rebel Civic Democrat deputies who will decide the fate of the centre-right government at an upcoming parliamentary session in October say there is still room for a compromise solution. Following Tuesday’s session of the party’s deputies club in Parliament, Petr Tluchoř said he and five other deputies who were not willing to support tax hikes had no interest in bringing down the coalition government. He said the group had offered the Civic Democratic party alternate ways of saving money which would not necessitate a 1 percent VAT hike next year. The proposal is reportedly a package of cost-cutting measures in the public sector. The row over tax hikes within the prime minister’s Civic Democratic Party threatens to bring down the government since the prime minister has linked a vote of confidence in his government to the controversial tax hike bill. The bill is to be debated at a session starting October 23.