A unique 64-carat diamond worth 16 million US dollars is currently on display in Prague. The stone, lent from Antwerp, was found in Lesotho, South Africa in 2012 and is the biggest diamond ever shown in the Czech Republic. The exhibition features a collection of some 200 diamonds of various colours, shapes and sizes altogether worth 21.5 million dollars. It can be viewed at Siroka 15 in Prague and will run until November 16th.
The Prague Transport Authority has announced that due to maintenance work in Prague’s Metro service on line A between the stations Dejvická and Můstek will be interrupted in both directions over the weekend. Metro service between the stations Můstek and Náměstí Míru will be provided on a single track by a shuttle train. Prague Metro is providing replacement buses.
Parts of Moravia, particularly the Ostrava and Karvina regions report worsened air quality with dust particles in the air exceeding three times permitted norms. Children, chronically ill and elderly people have been advised to stay indoors. Heavily-industrialized Moravia and Silesia are particularly prone to smog in the winter months and the problem is aggravated by city transport and coal heating.
A new police anthem which was to be played on special occasions has evoked a storm of controversy in police ranks. The majority of officers have rejected the anthem as a piece of music reminiscent of the 1950s communist era. Police president Tomáš Tuhý who released the anthem to the press on Friday has said he would get it reworked so that it would better represent a modern-day force.
Health Minister Svatopluk Nemeček told journalists he was not interested in escalating the conflict with the finance minister and wanted to get back to get back to work. The minister said he was not concerned about losing in post and felt that he had the support of his party leadership. On Friday the health minister accused media controlled by the Agrofert company, which is owned by ANO party leader Andrej Babiš, of publishing lies and trying to damage his reputation. Mr. Babiš advised the health minister to get psychiatric treatment.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has dismissed speculation of a coalition crisis in the wake of a flaming row between Finance Minister Andrej Babiš of the ANO party and Health Minister Svatopluk Nemeček of the Social Democrats. The prime minister, who met with Andrej Babiš late on Friday night, said that there was no question of the coalition falling apart adding that a meeting planned for Wednesday would help clear the air. He expressed regret that the ministers had played out their conflict in the media, rather than on coalition ground. Mr. Babiš has criticized the heath minister’s performance in office, saying that if he were a member of his ANO party he would have been recalled long ago.
Czech universities are organizing a gathering at Prague’s Albertov on November 17 to mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the 75th anniversary of the Nazi oppression of Czech university students in 1939. The event is to be attended by President Miloš Zeman and his counterparts from Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Germany. The event will be followed by a debate with the four heads of state at the building of the Law Faculty. A series of other events are scheduled to take place on November 17 across the Czech Republic to mark the fall of communist regime.
Czech President Miloš Zeman on Friday filed a complaint with the Constitutional Court over the civil service bill. The president proposes to revoke the bill in full or to abolish certain parts. Mr Zeman vetoed the bill, which had been approved by the Czech parliament early in October, but his veto was subsequently overturned in a new lower house vote. The bill should depoliticize public administration and overhaul rules for the employment of public servants, but Mr Zeman has repeatedly criticised the fact that it introduces politically appointed deputy ministers.
The first delivery of medical marihuana for patients suffering from illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, has arrived in the Czech Republic. One kilogramme of the drug imported from the Netherlands by the company Czech medical Herbs will be distributed to pharmacies in the course of next week. Another two companies that won a license for growing and distributing medical marihuana are Elkoplast Slušovice and Phoenix. The law on medical marihuana opening the way for patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological diseases to use the drug under medical supervision, came into force in February last year.