The country's Health Ministry has decided to take steps in combatting alcoholism after surveys suggested repeatedly that alcohol abuse in the country is high, writes news site noviny.cz. According to the website, doctors will now have to screen patients they suspect of alcoholism according to a method known as screening and brief intervention - referring those who abuse alcohol on to specialists. Deputy Health Minister Ferdinand Polák said the system had worked abroad and expressed the hope it would work in the Czech Republic. Specialists have suggested the system could help thousands each year, not least those just slipping into addiction.
Two apartments in a residential building in Havířov were destroyed on Sunday in an explosion that may have resulted from a gas leak. Part of the building collapsed in the incident and 27 people had to be evacuated from their homes. Specialists with sniffer dogs confirmed no one was trapped or had died in the rubble.The police are not ruling out alternative causes behind the explosion. Experts are assessing the extent of the damage.
Jeseník nad Odrou in the area of Novy Jičín has won the title of Village of the Year 2013. A total of 273 municipalities from 13 regions took part in this year's inception. The competition has been held annually for 19 years. Criteria taken into account in order to win the competition or place highly include excellent infrastructure, services, and overall layout and appearance.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived in Prague on Saturday ahead of this year’s Forum 2000. The Tibetan spiritual leader last visited two years ago, shortly before the death of former president Václav Havel, with whom he was close friends. On Saturday afternoon the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak at one of the city’s arenas on the subjects of kindness and mutual respect. Forum 2000, bringing together more than 100 world leaders, now in its 17th year, officially begins on Sunday. Along with the Dalai Lama, notable guests this year include the Burmese winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Aung San Suu Kyi and former president of South Africa, also a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, Frederik de Klerk.
The Czech Republic’s state debt rose by 10.5 billion crowns in the first half of 2013, reaching an overall total of more than 1.6 trillion. Broken down, the share of the debt per citizen comes to almost 160 thousand, the Finance Ministry confirmed. According to ministry forecasts, the state debt will rise to 1.8 trillion by the end of next year and 1.9 trillion by the end of 2015.
The controversial political “lobbyist” Miroslav Šlouf who was to head
the Citizens’ Rights Party - Zemanites’ Prague ballot in October’s
general elections has been scratched off the party’s candidates’ list.
Mr. Šlouf himself admitted that he had been replaced as Prague leader
following a stormy meeting of the party leadership on Thursday night. He
said he would consult lawyers about the move. In a press briefing on its
election candidates on Friday, the party stated that outgoing Transport
Minister Zdeněk Žák will be Prague election leader.
A one-time chief political advisor to President Miloš Zeman, Miroslav Šlouf did not want to comment but, according to the Czech News Agency, called the party leadership “fools”. Mr Šlouf remains a highly controversial figure – a former communist believed to have enormous influence and connections to the underworld who has been linked to many political scandals and shady deals. Although he is credited with Mr. Zeman’s election victory, the president has publicly distanced himself from his former advisor.
Former prime minister and ex-chairman of the Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek announced on Friday that he will not run in the upcoming election although he will fully back his party, LEV 21. Mr Paroubek charged that public media attention given to his party had been scant, adding the party had only raised a third of funds needed for a proper election campaign. He did his praise LEV 21 for well-prepared candidates’ lists. Unlike other politicians who have launched election campaigns in recent days, Mr Paroubek has suggested that the elections will do little to improve current conditions. LEV 21 had two MPs in the lower house, both former Social Democrats; polls aren’t giving the small party much chance of getting into the Chamber of Deputies.
Descendants of Jan Antonín Baťa -founder of the successful shoe-making empire - have asked Slovakia for millions of euros in compensation for property confiscated under the Beneš Decrees in 1947. The move comes following Baťa’s rehabilitation by Slovakia's courts and a decision to scrap the validity of the 1947 verdict which found him guilty of collaboration with Nazi Germany. The Czechoslovak shoe manufacturer set up four industrial centres in Slovakia and invested in hotels, spa resorts, and real estate. Baťa’s descendants have staked a similar claim in the Czech Republic where they are demanding 56 million crowns in compensation for confiscated property.
The anti-corruption police conducted a raid on Friday at the Prague offices of the weekly Euro and E15 published by Mladá fronta. Those are also home to the printing company Europrint. The spokeswoman for the Police Presidium Eva Kropáčová told the Czech News Agency the investigation had nothing to do with the journalistic side of the business. Nine people were reportedly detained. The police raid could complicate the release of the magazine’s next issue, due on Monday.
The labour ministry has exhausted four-fifths of its budget for people or families in emergencies or crisis this year: 7.5 billion crowns in the first seven months – 1.7 billion more than the same period in 2012. More individuals and families have signed for social benefits or welfare, and unemployment did not improve, the Labour Office’s report notes. This year, more funds went to the unemployed and the handicapped.