The Justice Ministry has made public a list of judges and state attorneys who were members of the Communist Party pre-1989. The list appeared on the ministry’s web page on Friday. A ministry spokeswoman said the decision to make the information public stemmed from a ruling of the Constitutional Court last November, according to which party membership is not sensitive information which would fall under the privacy law. The list names 618 judges and 359 state attorneys. According to the ministry it is incomplete.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Friday slammed doctors who are leaving state hospitals over low pay as utterly irresponsible. Speaking after a meeting with Health Minister Leoš Heger the president expressed full support for his efforts to reform the health sector, saying that the present crisis might actually facilitate the much-needed overhaul of the network of health care providers. Meanwhile, doctors’ trade unions announced at a press conference on Friday that they were launching a second wave of the campaign “Thank You, We Are Leaving” in which he expected several hundred more physicians to hand in their notice. Up till now 3,800 of an overall 16,000 doctors working in state hospitals have resigned. The mass exodus is expected to hit hospitals at the start of March. The health minister has asked GPs and specialists in outpatient surgeries to take on extra patients if need be until the situation has been resolved.
A Czech woman who was reportedly raped in Israel last year has been asked to come forward and give evidence. The case is being investigated after an Israeli youth boasted about his conquest on the web, saying he had forced a young Czech student to have sex with him against her will. A student activist has filed criminal charges against him, saying that the description given attested to rape. However the young woman in question apparently left the country without reporting the incident to the police. The authorities have asked her to come forward and give evidence. The case has been at the centre of media attention since the story broke in December.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has announced a change-of-guard at several Czech embassies. Career diplomat Dusan Strauch is to serve as Czech ambassador to North Korea, where he will replace Martin Tomčo who will take up the ambassadorial post in Finland. A number of changes will be made in other countries as well, within the next few weeks. The name of the new ambassador to Ukraine has yet to be announced and it is not yet certain who will fill the ambassadorial post to the US. Petr Gandalovič, a former agriculture minister who served as general consul in New York, is a likely candidate.
Austrian and Czech police have cracked down on a seven-member gang of car thieves operating on Austrian territory. The gang stole cars in a number of cities including Vienna and Salzburg causing damage to the tune of 450 000 euro. The police confiscated 26 stolen vehicles. Three members of the gang are in detention in the Czech Republic. The ringleader was a 55-year-old Czech man on an invalid pension.
A Czech driver was fined 1,000 euro and had his driver’s license confiscated by Austrian police after being caught speeding at 196 km per hour along a highway with a 100 km per hour limit. Traffic police said the Czech has driven aggressively and with a total lack of consideration for the safety of others. The man may be banned from driving on Austrian territory for a number of years.
Fertilizer producer Lovochemie is reported to have been the biggest polluter of the river Elbe in 2009, the environmental group Arnika told the CTK news agency on Friday. According to the group’s report over 18,000 tons of dangerous substances were released into the Elbe and its tributaries, the Ohře, Bilina and Vltava rivers. Zinc formed half of the emissions, with Lovochemie being responsible for most of it. Arnika said that toxic substances that were discharged from Czech plants twenty years ago now present a big problem in neighbouring Germany. The Hamburg port administration is reportedly spending 70 million euros a year on the elimination of dangerous waste from the riverbed.
Czech industrial output grew by 2.0 percent in November 2010 from the October level and by 15.9 percent over 12 months, official data showed on Friday. In October, industrial production contracted by 0.3 percent compared to the level the previous month, but grew by 6.9 percent on a 12-month basis, the Czech Statistical Office said. Driven by production in the automotive and machinery sectors, the November year-on-year result exceeded analysts’ predictions, most of whom had forecast an 11-percent increase on an annual basis.
The gradual thaw has turned many of the country’s roads and pavements into ice-rinks and put pedestrians at risk from falling snow and icicles from rooftops. Conditions worsened sharply on Friday morning with traffic police reporting dozens of accidents around the country. Emergency wards were reported to be bursting at the seams as doctors struggled to deal with the growing number of accidents.
Tomáš Berdych of the Czech Republic stayed on course for a title at the start of the new season when he eased into the semi-finals of the $450,000 ATP Chennai Open on Friday. The world number six brushed aside the 112nd-ranked Blaz Kavcic of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3 in an hour and 24 minutes on the centre court of the Nungambakkam Tennis Stadium. The top-seeded Berdych dropped his serve twice in the second set, but kept the pressure on Kavcic by breaking him four times. Berdych, playing for the first time in Chennai, awaits the winner of the quarter-final between third seed Stanislas Wawrinka and Robin Haase.
The weekend is expected to bring mild weather with day temperatures ranging from 3 to 8 degrees Celsius. Warnings have been issued about icy roads and possible local floods as tons of snow start to melt.