The Senate on Tuesday overturned a proposed bill that would have banned abortions in the Czech Republic. The bill was drafted by the Christian Democrats and would have sent a doctor who performed an illegal abortion to five years in prison. Anyone found guilty of helping a woman to get an illegal abortion or persuading her to have it would have faced up to a year in prison. 134 out of 170 senators present in the upper chamber voted against the bill.
On a visit to Finland, the Czech Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla criticized movement of labour restrictions within the enlarged EU. Of all the EU member states only Britain and Ireland have opened their labour markets to the newcomers. The Czech Prime Minister said the restrictions introduced against the new EU countries were ungrounded and based on prejudice. The Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen countered that although his country had introduced a two year restriction period it is at the same time very flexible in granting labour permits. 8o% of all applications submitted have been granted, he said.
The government's human rights commissioner Jan Jarab has called for tougher laws against violence, in particular racist crimes. Mr. Jarab told the CTK news agency that Czech legislation was still distorted by years of communism in that property crimes were often regarded as more serious and elicited harsher punishment than attacks against human beings. This is one of the most serious problems in the area of human rights, Mr. Jarab said.
The Czech Anti-Monopoly Office (UOHS) has fined three of the country's biggest bakeries a total of 120 million Czech crowns, a little over 4 million US dollars. The office launched administrative proceedings against Delta, Odkolek, and Penam last year following an almost twenty percent price hike on their baked goods. All three bakeries have been found guilty of concluding a cartel agreement. Delta Bakery, which received the highest fine (55 million crowns) rejects the accusations and claims it has always had an independent pricing policy.
The Kladno regional court has found four Czechs guilty of distributing drugs at the Vinarice prison, west of Prague. A prisoner was sentenced to seven years for being the head of the drug smuggling gang. His former inmate is to spend 3.5 years in jail, while a former prison guard and nurse have each been given a conditional sentence of two years. The police have charged twenty-six people with the illegal distribution of drugs, medicine, and mobile phones at prisons. Most of them are yet to face trial.
Just days after firing manager Jiri Kotrba, Sparta Prague football club have hired Frantisek Straka as his replacement. Mr Straka is a former Sparta player who made his reputation as a manager by leading Teplice to success in the UEFA Cup. In other sports news, Czechs Radek Stepanek and Jan Hernych have been knocked out in the third round of tennis's Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami.
Wednesday is expected to be sunny with day temperatures between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius.
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