Daily news summary News


Health minister to meet one of doctors’ unions’ demands

The Czech health minister, Leoš Heger, said on Thursday he would next week come up with ways to change doctors’ salary scales to meet one of their trades unions’ demands. The planned change would increase their salaries by 5,000 to 8,000 crowns; Mr Heger said the government would approve the change at its session next week if doctors’ trades unions end their campaign to resign en masse or ask their members to withdraw their resignations.

Last week, Mr Heger said he would use two billion crowns to increase salaries of Czech health workers; however, physicians wanted these funds to be included in their base salaries rather than used for bonuses. A new round of talks between the health minister and doctors’ trades unions is scheduled for Friday.

Health minister: people should not burden medical emergency with banal cases

People should not burden emergency health care services with banal cases if the looming health care crisis becomes reality, Health Minister Leoš Heger said after meeting with emergency services workers on Thursday. If more than 3,800 Czech hospitals doctors walk out after March 1, emergency and rescue services will work under a crisis scenario, and will be tasked with transporting patients for treatment to hospitals that remain operational. They will still respond to emergency calls. A representative of the emergency services association said a crisis regime could be maintained for up to a month.

Czech personal data watchdog against proposed air travellers data sharing

The Czech Office for the Protection of Personal Data is opposed to a proposal by the European Commission that would oblige air carriers to provide EU member states with data on their passengers, the news agency ČTK reported on Thursday. A spokeswoman for the Czech watchdog said colleting data on air travellers entering or departing the EU made little sense since potential terrorists can use other means of transpor, such as train or car.

The proposal, tabled by the European Commission earlier this week, is aimed at lowering the risk of terrorist attacks. Air carriers would have to provide their passengers’ e-mail addresses, phone numbers, as well as details on their luggage and credit cards.

Press: top court ruling rids company managers of social, retirement insurance

A verdict by the Czech Supreme Administrative Court has ruled invalid social and retirement insurance payments made on behalf of tens of thousands of Czech company managers, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Thursday. The court ruled in December that companies’ statutory representatives cannot be employed as directors and other executives in order to prevent a conflict of interests. Their social and retirement insurance is therefore void as they should have never been employed by their firms. The paper said, however, that statutory representatives of 350,000 or so Czech companies usually hold top executive jobs. The ruling could also affect contracts concluded by these managers as they might not be legally valid. The ministries of finance and labour and social affairs have declined to comment on the issue.

Coalition TOP 09 party joins European People’s Party

The conservative TOP 09 group, part of the right-of-centre Czech coalition government, joined on Thursday the European People’s Party, the largest political party in the European Parliament, the news agency ČTK reported. TOP 09, a brainchild of Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, was formed in 2009 as a split of the Christian Democrats. In the last general elections in 2010, it won more than 16 percent of the vote.

Lower house chair nominates Sir Nicholas Winton for Nobel Peace Prize

The chairwoman of Czech Parliament’s lower house, Civic Democrat Miroslava Němcová has nominated Sir Nicholas Winton for the Nobel Peace Prize. Ms Němcová told reporters on Thursday that she had asked the speaker of the UK’s House of Commons, John Bercow, and the chair of Israel’s Knesset, Reuven Rivlin for support; Mr Rivlin agreed while Mr Bercow said he was not in a position to nominate Nobel Peace Prize candidates.

Sir Nicholas Winton, who organized a rescue of nearly 700 mostly Jewish children from German-occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, has already been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. In January, the deputy chair of the Czech Senate, Přemysl Sobotka handed his proposal to the Norwegian ambassador in Prague.

Police: driver involved in Wednesday’s deadly crash was speeding

One of the drivers involved in Wednesday’s car crash that killed six people was speeding, police said on Thursday. A 48-year-old woman crashed her BMW head on with another car coming from the opposite direction near the south Moravian town of Prostějov on Wednesday morning. The BMW reportedly swerved through a crash barrier in front of the oncoming Škoda Fabia; a witness who was overtaken by the BMW moments before the crash said it was going way above the 130 km/h speed limit. The driver and another person died in the BMW, while four people including an 11-year-old girl died in the other car. The police ruled out ice as a possible cause of the accident.

Carmaker Škoda posts record sales in January

The German-owned, Czech-based carmaker Škoda Auto posted record sales in January 2011. The firm sold 68,400 cars in that month, a rise of more than 26 percent year-on-year. An increased interest in Škoda cars was registered mainly on the Chinese, Indian and Russian markets where sales rose between 40 and 80 percent. A member of the company board said Škoda would like to double its sales by 2018.

Defensive flaws exposed in Croatian friendly

The Czech football team lost 2:4 in a friendly against Croatia on Wednesday night, the four conceded goals is a record since 1993. The Czech team came back to level the score at 2:2 by half time after letting in two early goals. But a dismal defensive performance in the second half exposed serious worries about the Czech team’s prospects when they face up to world champions Spain in next month’s Euro 2012 championship qualification game.

Sparta apologize for fielding players who refused to appear for national sides

The football club Sparta Prague apologized on Thursday to the Czech and Croatian football associations for fielding three players in a warm-up game who had refused to appear for their national sides. Czech players Tomáš Pekhart and Václav Kadlec were to join the Czech under-21 national team in Holland, while Croat Manual Panič was to appear in Wednesday’s friendly against the Czech Republic. They refused to join their national teams on health grounds but featured in a prep match in Spain on Tuesday in the shirts of other players.


The end of the week will be mostly cloudy and overcast with occasional rain and snow in higher places. Daytime highs should not exceed 8 degrees Celsius.