The Czech Medical Chamber, which associates all Czech physicians, called on Saturday on doctors to support more than 3,800 of their colleagues who handed in resignations in a bid to ensure higher salaries. Following Thursday’ stall in the talks between the government and doctors’ trades unions, the chamber ask both parties to immediately return to negotiations.
Doctors’ unions rejected on Thursday an offer by Health minister Leoš Heger of an extra 1.5 billion crowns for salary-hikes from a 2 billion crown package it has promised to raise by scrapping 10,000 non-essential hospital beds.
Additional local elections are held in 16 communities across the Czech Republic on Saturday. Some 225 candidates are running for 106 posts on municipal councils in places where no elections took place in October, either because there were no candidates or ballots were handed in late. The Czech news agency reported turnout was high at the polls, with over 60 percent in several communities. Polling stations will remain open until 10 PM on Saturday; the results will be announced on Sunday.
Social Democrats in central Bohemia nominated on Saturday the acting leader, Bohuslav Sobotka, for the position of party chair. A month and a half ahead of the Social Democrat party congress, Mr Sobotka has won seven nominations by regional party organizations, and leveled up with his rival for the job, the governor of South Moravia Michal Hašek. The central Bohemian party conference was the last to pick their candidate. However, the nominations are not binding for delegates at the Social Democrat Congress that will in March elect the new leader.
A 34-year-old man was shot dead in a tram in Prague in the early hours of Saturday. The man was shot in the head and died immediately; the shooter escaped and police are searching for him, a police spokeswoman said. The incident took place at the 22 tram line’s terminal station in the neighbourhood of Hostivař shortly after 1 AM. The man got on the tram in city centre at around 0:45; the tram driver only noticed the passenger was dead when the tram reached its final stop. The identity of the victim and the motive of the shooting remain unknown; the police have asked for assistance any witnesses who were traveling on the 22 line after midnight.
Some 30 percent of Czech will fill their census forms online, according to a new poll by the Stenmark agency released on Saturday. Around 38 eight percent of those polled said they were going to hand their forms to census workers, while another 11 percent will send the forms in by mail. The decennary population and home census will take place between March, 7 and April 14, and will cost 2.5 billion crowns. The forms will for the first time available online. In February, the Czech Statistical Office launched a campaign in the media promoting the nationwide event.
Authorities in the Ústí region in the north of the country called off on Saturday an air pollution warning as contamination levels had dropped. Friday’s fresh southwestern wind cleared the air in the area, meteorologists said. Smog was threatening the region since late January but pollution did not reach the levels necessary for the authorities to order the biggest polluters to scale down production.
One of the most visited Czech castles, Karlštejn, opened to tourists on Saturday after a winter break. In February, the castle will be opened on weekends between 10 AM and 3 PM; people can visit the Imperial Palace and the Marian Tower. The 14th century castle, built by Emperor Charles IV, draws around 240,000 visitors each year.
Around 40 football hooligans clashed with the police in the northern city of Ostrava on Friday night. The police fired warning shots to disperse the crowd; two police officers we injured and four hooligans arrested, a spokeswoman for the Ostrava police said. The violence broke out after a police patrol entered an Ostrava bar, frequented by hooligans and neo-Nazis. The spokeswoman said the officers’ presence in the bar provoked an aggressive response from the crowd who pushed them out of the bar. The patrol called for reinforcements; when several dozen police officers arrived at the scene, they were attacked by some 40 hooligans. The situation calmed down only after one of the police officers fired warning shots, the spokeswoman added.
The Czech Republic’s women’s tennis team is leading 1:0 over Slovakia in the 1st round o the Fed Cup after Lucie Šafářová beat Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchová 7:5, 6:1 in Bratislava on Saturday. In the first set Hantuchová was ahead 5:4 in the first set and was two points away from the set, but the Czech stood firm, broke the next game and took the set. In the second, the Slovak put up little resistance and Czech number two Šafářová converted her first match point in an hour and 29 minutes. In the other game on Saturday, Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulková was an easy prey for Czech Republic’s number one, Petra Kvitová who won 6:2, 6:3.
Weekend will see partly cloudy skies, with occasional rain on Sunday. Daytime highs will reach 11 degrees Celsius.