The biggest Czech public health insurance provider VZP announced the first five medications that are on the so-called ‘positive list’. The list, which the insurance company is launching this month, consists of prescribed medications for no co-payment fee will be charged at the pharmacy. VZP has negotiated 15-30 percent discounts for the medications on the positive list, in exchange for an agreed amount of orders. The insurance provider says this will allow it to save a few hundred million crowns annually. The first five medications on the list are for treatment of diabetes, osteoporosis, prostate and stomach problems.
Around 4,000 people participated in a demonstration in central Prague on Saturday to demand legalization of marijuana in the Czech Republic. Organizers of the protest were calling for the legalization of growing marijuana for personal recreational and medical use. The police detained seven people for drug-related offenses. The procession from Charles Square to the Žižkov neighborhood was part of a global Marihuana March and was taking place for the 16th time in Prague. According to the latest poll by the Ipsos agency, 53% of Czechs agree with recreational use of the drug. Prescription marijuana for medical purposes was recently legalized in this country.
Former president Václav Klaus told the Právo daily on Saturday that he was exclusively responsible for the text of the controversial New Year’s amnesty. This was in reaction to this week’s statement by the current chancellor at Prague castle Vratislav Mynář that the real authors of the amnesty were Mr Klaus’ former advisors Petr Hájek, Ladislav Jakl a Pavel Hasenkopf. Earlier in the week Mr Hasenkopf, who was a lawyer at Prague Castle said that part of the amnesty was prepared by the Justice Ministry. Mr Klaus denied ever asking Mr Hasenkopf to help him prepare the text of the amnesty, which put to an end a number of controversial corruption cases. In reaction to the former president’s statement, Mr Hasenkopf posted on his Facebook accounts a copy of an email from Mr Jakl from last year forwarding a request from the president to create a draft of the amnesty.
Czech Television opened up its studios in Prague, Brno and Ostrava to the public on Saturday, as part of the public broadcaster’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the beginning of broadcasting. Visitors will be able to view sets of television seri es and news studios at the main Kavčí hory headquarters in Prague. On Saturday morning, hundreds of people were reportedly waiting in line there to take a tour of the complex. The open house in Prague will last until 6 p.m., while in Brno in Ostrava until 4 p.m.
Two men and a woman in wheelchairs rappelled down the 25-meter high wall of the Congress Center in Prague on Saturday, as part of the “Pojď dál” festival marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Jedličkův Institute for children with physical disabilities. The three disabled sportspeople were aided by professional mountain climbers as they scaled down the wall. They originally requested to go down one of the supports of the nearby Nusle bridge, but did not receive permission. The day-long festival also featured a rich musical and artistic program.
The Liberec football team defeated Prague’s Sparta 2:0 on Saturday in the 26th round of the Gambrinus League. This is the sixth win in a row for Liberec’s Slovan, which puts them in the third place in the league, only five points behind the leading Plzeň, giving them a good chance to play in the European league in the next season. Slovan’s victory has complicated Sparta’s ascend to the top of the chart, where it remains in second place.
Milan Peroutka, drummer of the cult pop-rock band Olympic, died on Friday night at the age of 49. Peroutka had played with Olympic, headed by the frontman Petr Janda, since 1986, and recorded a number of albums with the band since the 1980’s. To celebrate 50 years since the band’s founding, Olympic began the Blue Pyramid tour last year. Given Mr Peroutka’s passing, the band cancelled two upcoming concerts next week in Prague.
The police’s anti-corruption unit have proposed that 12 people be charged in connection with suspicious contracts won by the company Promopro during the Czech presidency of the European Union in 2009. Detectives say the firm overcharged the Office of the Government by almost CZK 400 million for audiovisual services. Among those accused are three former state officials, including the then deputy to Alexandr Vondra, who was deputy prime minister for European affairs when the alleged offences took place. The three face charges of abuse of office and breach of trust, while police say the other accused are guilty of money laundering and fraud.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, appointed three new Constitutional Court judges on Friday. Following Senate approval of their nominations last week, academics Jaroslav Fenyk and Jan Filip have joined the country’s highest court, as has judge Milada Tomková. The Senate also gave its backing to the nomination of Vladimír Sládeček; he will be appointed next month when the term of one of the current justices comes to an end. All in all, seven of the 15 members of the Constitutional Court are stepping down this year.
The acting head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes says she is considering suing her predecessor for alleged financial mismanagement. Pavla Foglová told journalists on Friday that former director Daniel Herman had paid bonuses in January that the institution did not possess and had raised the salaries of dozens of senior employees shortly before his removal last month. Mr. Herman says his sacking by the Institute’s left-controlled board was a political move. The state agency administers the files of the StB secret police and other documents from the communist era.