Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has announced his decision to dismiss
Transport Minister Vladimír Kremlík over an overpriced tender to operate
a new online system of motorway vignette sales.
The prime minister said the 400 million crown contract awarded to Asseco Central Europe had been badly organised and put together. He said the matter had not been consulted with him and the transport minister had refused to accept the blame and abrogate the tender.
Mr. Babiš said he would put Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlíček in charge of the transport ministry portfolio. According to Czech Television President Zeman has accepted the prime minister’s decision.
The speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera has died at the age of 72, a
spokesperson for the upper house reported on Monday. Mr. Kubera was
reported to have been unexpectedly taken ill on his way to work and died
shortly after in hospital. Jaroslav Kubera was elected head of the Senate
in November of 2018. In previous years he served as mayor of Teplice (1994
Tributes are pouring in for the seasoned politician from across the political spectrum. Jaroslav Kubera was a fine man with a great sense of humour. When he took the helm in the Senate he gave things new dynamics, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš wrote on Twitter, extending heartfelt condolences to Jaroslav Kubera’s family.
President Miloš Zeman said via his spokesman: Although we had differences of opinion, I considered Jaroslav Kubera a friend. The news of his death touched me deeply.
The head of the Civic Democrats Petr Fiala, Kubera’s own party, said Kubera was a good and honest man, a defender of freedom and common sense.
The head of the centre-right TOP 09 party Markéta Adamova said Kubera would be remembered as a straightforward politician who always spoke his own mind. I did not always agree with him, but his attitude commanded respect, Adamova said.
The Prague Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine IKEM last year
conducted a record number of 540 organ transplants on 486 patients, the
head of the institute Ondřej Viklický told journalists at a press
briefing in Prague on Monday.
He said this made IKEM the biggest transplant centre in Europe, with more transplants performed than the biggest transplant centres in Great Britain or the Scandinavian countries.
IKEM performs 70 percent of all the transplants performed in the Czech Republic. Other transplant clinics are in university hospitals in Prague’s Motol Hospital, in Brno, Hradec Králové, Plzen, Ostrava and Olomouc.
A man who was critically injured during a fire in a care home for people
with mental and multiple disabilities in the town of Vejprty, north
Bohemia, remains in serious condition, a spokesman for the Chomutov
hospital which admitted the patients reported.
Another man is reported to be out of danger and rest have been released into home care. Eight people were killed in the fire and another 29 people were injured.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated. The head of the facility admitted that some of the home’s clients secretly smoked on the premises and had previously started fires by accident.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is no longer counting on building a centre for
orphans in Syria and has announced his intention to send money instead.
The prime minister said he would respond to an appeal for financial aid from the local authorities by sending half a million crowns from his personal account and said he hoped others would follow his example.
The prime minister has long defended his government’s decision not to admit orphan migrants to the Czech Republic by arguing that the country is doing a great deal to help migrants in their home countries.
He earlier stated his intention to build a centre for orphans in Syria, but now said that according to more recent findings finances to organizations helping migrants were needed much more.
Austrian police say they have detained 40 Afghan migrants on the
country’s northern border with the Czech Republic.
The daily Kronen Zeitung which reported the story said people smugglers were increasingly using routes through the Czech Republic to lead asylum seekers to their chosen destination. The forty migrants are all young men who have now filed for asylum in Austria.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and his Czech counterpart Andrej Babis discussed problems relating to migration in Prague last week, emphasizing the need to curb illegal migration and strengthen the EU’s outer borders.
MP Marian Jurečka, who is standing for chairman of the opposition
Christian Democrats, has poured cold water on the idea that an alliance of
centre-right parties could jointly contest the next Czech general
elections. Speaking in Monday’s edition of the newspaper Právo, he said
he did not wish to give voters false hopes.
Mr. Jurečka said he had experience of a coalition with the Mayors and Independents and that while the goal was noble the alliance had run up against electoral and party financing legislation. Unless the law is changed, the idea of such a coalition is doomed, he said.
The Ministry of Health is set to implement new measures to benefit
patients, Czech Television reported on Monday. Officials plan to introduce
electronic application forms for medical appointments and to release
regular data on waiting times for examinations, the station said. The
ministry is currently consulting the changes with doctors and insurance
companies, who are charged with monitoring waiting times.
A special commission is due to discuss electronic application forms at the end of this month. Out-patient specialists are demanding assurances that moving the system online will not end patients’ freedom to choose a doctor.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, says he
understands President Miloš Zeman’s hesitation over whether to attend a
“17+1” summit being held by China in April. Speaking on Czech
Television on Sunday, Mr. Petříček said it was necessary to make clear
to Beijing that the Czech Republic’s expectations with regard to mutual
trade had not been met.
Last week Mr. Zeman, who had long pushed for closer ties with Beijing, said he would not attend this year’s edition of the summit bringing together China and Central and Eastern European states and that the country would be represented by deputy PM Jan Hamáček instead. The president told the newspaper Blesk that China had not delivered on its promises to invest in the Czech Republic.
However, a close associate of Mr. Zeman said later that the head of state might consider going if the China side were willing to sign deals with Czech entrepreneurs on specific projects.