The lower house of Parliament on Wednesday approved a new Civil Code, bringing about a radical overhaul in the areas of family, ownership and contract law. Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil said that the country deserved a new, liberal code of civil law. The opposition Social Democrats and the Communist Party criticized the law but could not prevent its passage through the lower house. At the instigation of the Social Democrats, the lower house’s constitutional rights committee will be investigating whether the new Civil Code is in accordance with the Czech constitution over the next three months.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted against a change in the retirement age regulation, proposed as part of the pension reform. The opposition, which has a majority in the Senate, also pushed through changes to the proposed calculation of pensions that would benefit middle-class seniors. The proposal will now again be put to the vote in the lower house.
Under the new pension reform, the retirement age would gradually be increased, with a planned universal retirement age for both women and men to be introduced in 2041. According to the head of the Senate, Social Democrat Milan Stěch, it would be more sensible to update the retirement age every five years based on the average life expectancy.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority has taken a number of samples from vegetable sprouts that may be behind an outbreak of a bacterial infection which first was observed in Germany. The German government has stated that it may be caused by vegetable sprouts. The Czech Food Inspection Authority started drawing samples from both domestic and imported sprouts last week. So far, experts in Germany have not yet confirmed that sprouts are the actual reason behind the infection, which is caused by a mutated E. coli bacterium. In Germany, the bacterial infection has killed 25 people.
The general director of Czech TV, Jiří Janeček, has announced that he will be resigning from his post due to health reasons. He said on Wednesday that he will be leaving the post, which he has held for eight years, at the end of August. He added that he was making the announcement in due time so that a new director could be found. He refused to provide a detailed explanation of his health. However, in 2007, Mr. Janeček suffered from a venous thrombosis.
The majority of those who voted for the junior coalition party Public Affairs say they regret giving the party their vote, a fresh survey by the STEM agency suggests. According to the poll, which was published on Tuesday, some three quarters of Czechs who cast their ballot in favor of Public Affairs say they regret the decision. Overall, roughly one in four Czech voters is unhappy with their last vote. Some 29 percent responded that they are not sure who they would vote for in the next general elections.
Data about the salary development in the Czech Republic published on Wednesday indicates that the average monthly wage has increased by 2.1 percent or 0.4 percent after being adjusted for inflation. The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic grew by 471 crowns, to 23,144 Czech crowns, or roughly 956 Euro. According to analysts, the result was more positive than expected and shows that business continue to employ a conservative salary policy. Experts say that the development of wages has been healthy and appropriate considering the general status of the economy.
Czech unemployment declined for a fourth consecutive month in May, data from the Labor Ministry showed Wednesday. The jobless rate fell to 8.2 percent, in line with expectations, from 8.6 percent in the previous month. A year ago, the rate was 8.7 percent. The unemployment rate for women was 9.5 percent and that for men came in at 7.2 percent. Analysts predict a further decline in the coming months, largely due to seasonal employment.
According to a fresh survey, the traditionally high trust that Czechs place in their doctors and pharmacists remains unchanged. The poll, published by the polling agency Factum Invenio, finds that nine out of ten respondents are convinced that their doctor will prescribe them the medicine that is best for them. Interestingly, some three quarters said that they believe that physicians find themselves under pressure from pharmaceutical companies. According to the director of Factum Invenio, this is not a paradox in itself. He explains that while patients are aware of the growing influence of pharmaceutical companies, they continue to place great trust in their doctors and do not believe that they would act in a way that would damage patients’ health.
The 46th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will feature a number of films that were successful at festivals abroad in its non-competitive Horizons section. Among the movies selected is the Iranian film Nader And Simin, A Separation, which won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale, one of the most prestigious film festivals world-wide. Other picks include the Italian film The Solitude of Prime Numbers, a nominee for the Golden Lion at the 67th Venice International Film Festival. German director Wim Wender’s 3D film Pina will also be shown outside of the competition at this year’s festival.
DNA tests may have solved a murder case that happened 17 years ago. The possible perpetrator is a 50-year old prisoner who is serving a sentence for the murder of his grandmother. His blood was also found on the t-shirt of the victim of a 1994 murder. The man is currently facing a trial at a court in the north Bohemian city of Ustí nad Labem. According to a state official, this may one of the first occasions in the Czech Republic on which DNA testing has lead to the apprehension of a murderer.
The present heat wave should give way to a bout of cold and rainy weather on Thursday when day temperatures are expected to drop to around 20 degrees Celsius.