The Health Minister Leoš Heger is planning to add a proposal to relieve children of hospital stay fees to an amendment package he will present to the government in the next few weeks. The minister is hoping to either lower the fees, which are currently 100 crowns per day, or get rid of them altogether. The Association of Hospitals agrees with the move saying that that this way children will be able to remain in hospital for as long as necessary and their treatment will not depend as much on the family’s financial situation.
The anti-corruption police have carried out raids against tax evaders in various parts of the country throughout Monday. So far, the police arrested 19 people, 13 of whom were already charged with evading taxes in sales of electronics. Total damages are calculated to be in the range of hundreds of millions of crowns.
A court in the German city of Koblenz handed down four-and-a-half-year jail sentences to a German couple who kidnapped a Czech girl in the north Bohemian town Trmice when she was a few weeks old. The 48-year old woman and a 51-year old man were found guilty of kidnapping, car theft and counterfeiting documents. Both appealed their verdict upon sentencing. The woman, with the help of her partner, kidnapped the girl named Michalka last July from her pram. The police found the newborn a few days later.
A new poll carried out by the Academy of Science’s Public Opinion Research Center (CVVM) has shown that 89% of Czechs are not happy with the work of the current government, while 82% are unhappy specifically with Prime Minister Petr Nečas. This is another tough blow for Mr Nečas, whose party, the Civic Democrats, have fallen drastically in the polls in the past few months, getting weaker voter preferences than the Communist Party last week. The CVVM poll also revealed that 70% of people are unsatisfied with the platform of the current government, all pointing to the fact that this is the least popular cabinet since 1998.
The bout of unseasonably cold weather has been breaking records at monitoring stations around the country. Karlova Studánka in the Jeseníky mountains registered – 19.1 degrees, the lowest temperature on record for this time of year, as did the ski resorts did Pec pod Sněžkou with – 18 degrees and Luční Bouda with – 17.7 degrees Celsius. Out of 143 monitoring stations 96 reported record low temperatures for March 24.
Health Minister Leoš Heger would welcome the practice of putting shocking images on cigarette packs as part of a broad anti-smoking campaign. The health minister said that in his view the drastic pictures could prove effective in putting off young people from smoking. On a panel debate on Sunday the minister admitted that his proposal for a broad smoking ban in restaurants could run into serious problems in the lower house of Parliament, due to intensive lobbying from producers. The government as a whole is against putting shocking images on cigarette packs as being too drastic. The Czech Republic has one of the highest number of smokers in Europe, particularly among the young generation.
The country’s ski resorts report a wave of holiday makers ahead of Easter. Jested hosted 3,000 people over the weekend which is ten times the usual number of skiers at the close of the season. Špindleruv Mlýn reported 7,000 visitors while the Rokytnice nad Jizerou ski resort welcomed 4,500 people. Due to the unusually cold weather and continuing snow showers conditions for skiing are exceptionally good and ski lifts remain in operation. The situation is not expected to change for another week.
A Czech tourist and his Slovak guide died in an avalanche in the High Tatra Mountains over the weekend. The Slovak rescue service said it had found their bodies on Saturday evening, locating them by their mobiles. The men were only partly buried and are believed to have died as a result of injuries sustained when the avalanche hurled them down the slope. There is a third degree avalanche alert in force in the region and the Slovak rescue service has advised tourists to exercise extreme caution.
Four youths have been charged with drug trafficking in connection with the death of a 19-year-old student graduate. The young girl overdosed on the party drug Ecstasy at her graduation party last Thursday. Investigators say the pills in question contained an unusually high amount of methamphetamines and other stimulants and have issued a public warning regarding a batch of Ecstasy with the imprint of a dolphin that may be lethal especially when combined with alcohol.
The freezing cold weather has led Prague City Hall to introduce special measures to protect the homeless. Hot soup and tea are being distributed several times a day in the city centre and night shelters for the homeless are open around the clock. The metropolitan police also make regular rounds of the places where the homeless congregate.
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