Swelling rivers broke their banks on Friday in several parts of the Czech Republic. The Labe in northern Bohemia flooded a major thoroughfare between the city Děčín and the capital; a swollen stream closed a Czech-German border crossing in the Most area. Czech authorities issued mid- and high-level warnings on Friday in the regions of Plzeň, Karlovy Vary and Ústí. Authorities in Prague halted traffic on the Vltava on Friday.
The danger of floods is the result of a continuing thaw that has hit the country. Warmer temperatures and steady rainfall are only expected to continue into the weekend.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas met on Friday with the head of the Czech doctors’ chamber, Milan Kubek, to discuss the situation in the heath care system threatened by mass resignations of dissatisfied doctors. After the meeting, Mr Nečas said the government would not increase doctors’ salaries immediately, but promised that funds saved in a planned radical health care reform would be used to that effect eventually. For his part, Mr Kubek welcomed the prime minister’s efforts, but said if no reform takes place, doctors would leave the country in unprecedented numbers.
Former Ukrainian economy minister Bohdan Danylyshyn, who has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic, was released from custody on Friday. Mr Danylyshyn, who served in the government led by former prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko from 2007 to 2010, faces prosecution in Ukraine for abuse of power, along with several of his former colleagues. He was detained in the Czech Republic on an Interpol arrest warrant in October. He denied any wrongdoing and applied for asylum. After his release from custody, Mr Danylyshyn thanked the Czech government for upholding the principles of freedom and democracy.
The Czech government is considering scrapping a multi-billion environmental clean-up tender, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Friday. Citing anonymous sources from all three coalition parties, the paper said Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, from TOP 09, who had long advocated the deal, was ready to give it up under pressure from Prime Minister Nečas and other members of the government.
The winner of the tender, which might be the biggest such deal ever awarded by the Czech government, should remove environmental damages in companies privatized in the 1990s. The process has been criticized for lack of transparency and a great risk of corruption.
Czech veterinarians criticized on Friday their German colleagues for poor communication in the dioxin scandal. A spokesman for the Czech veterinary administration said that despite repeated inquiries, German vets failed to provide the Czech authorities with information about exports of dioxin-contaminated products to the Czech Republic.
German officials said on Friday that 4.5 tons of contaminated meat from Germany was sold on the Czech market at the end of December. Czech authorities also banned on Friday the sale of 200,000 eggs from Germany which lacked a precise designation of origin.
Hundreds of people, along with the country’s top officials, came to the Czech Senate on Friday to pay their last respects to the late Senator Jiří Dienstbier, former dissident and Czechoslovakia’s first post-communist foreign minister, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 73. The ceremony was attended by President Václav Klaus, former president Václav Havel, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Prague Archibishop Dominik Duka, former German foreign minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, among others. Hundreds of people signed condolence books for the late Jiří Deinstbier, who in the early 1990s became a symbol of the fall of the Iron Curtain.
The Czech Supreme Court ruled on Friday that poverty alone was not a sufficient reason for removing children from families. That is only possible when other measures, such as assistance provided by the authorities, failed to improve the child’s living conditions. The court’s ruling is binding for lower Czech courts which will from now on have to determine on a case-by-case basis whether sufficient assistance was provided to a socially weak family; only then can they rule that a child should be taken away from his or her family and placed in institutional care.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas said on Friday the Czech Republic would adopt the single European currency, the euro, as soon as the country meets the Maastricht criteria, on condition the Eurozone is stable and it is better for the Czech Republic to adopt the euro than to keep its own currency, the crown. Mr Nečas said the open Czech economy has a vested interest in the continuation of the EU’s convergence process; however, the Czech Republic should be clearer in expressing its position and should act more pragmatically within the 27-member bloc.
Czech Filip Jícha has been voted the world’s best handball player of the year 2010. An expert jury, international media and handball fans from all over the world took part in the poll whose results were announced in Sweden ahead of the handball world championship that started there on Thursday. The Czech national handball team had not qualified for the final tournament; 28-year-old Jícha, a left backcourt for the national side and Germany’s THW Kiel, will accept his award on the championship’s final weekend.
Four Czech players will appear in the starting line-ups of the All Star game of the Kontinetal Hockey League that will take place in St Petersburg in early February. The league’s Eastern Division team, dubbed Team Jágr, will feature star Czech forward Jaromír Jágr, from Avantgard Omsk, along with his teammates Roman Červenka and defender Martin Škoula. The Western Conference team will feature goalie legend Dominik Hašek, from Spartak Moscow.
The weekend will be overcast, with occasional rain and fog. Daytime highs should range between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius.