Friday, February 15, 2013

News 2.15.2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Friday, February 15th, 2013

By: Jan Richter

* Doctors' unions have called on hospital physicians to join a protest
against the government health-care reform on March 1.

* The lower house has backed a constitutional amendment that would
strip convicted MPs of their mandate.

* The Czech Republic's oldest citizen celebrates her 109th birthday on

* Viktoria Plzen pulled off a huge upset on Thursday night when they
beat the Italian side Napoli 3:0 away in the Europa League.

Doctors' protest against reform to be held on March 1

Doctors' unions have called on hospital physicians to join a protest
against the government's health-care reform which is to be held on
March 1, the unions' chair Martin Engel said on Friday. The unions
asked doctors to take care of their own health on that day, and to
inform patients of the risks related to the reform. Only emergency
cases should be treated during the protest. The Czech government has
implemented a broad reform of the health care system including changes
to the structure of hospitals and cuts to their budgets. Doctors also
complain the Health Ministry has failed to raise their salaries as
promised two years ago.

One third of Czechs happy with health care: poll

In related news, some 32 percent of Czechs are happy with their health
care, according to a new survey by the CVVM institute released on
Friday. Another 33 percent of those polled said they were dissatisfied
with the health care system. Most people - around 80 percent - consider
financing of public health care the biggest problem while 67 percent
said they did not approve of the functioning of health insurance
companies. Some two thirds of people who took part in the survey also
saw problems in the management of drugs.

Lower house backs bill stripping convicted MPs of mandate

The lower house of Parliament on Friday backed a constitutional
amendment that would strip MPs convicted to serve prison terms of their
mandate. The convicted deputies would also lose their salaries and
other benefits. The draft legislation was admitted for further debate
in the house; if eventually approved by MPs and Senators, it should
come into force during the next parliament. The amendment, tabled by
the lower house speaker Miroslava Nemcova of the Civic Demoracts, comes
in reaction to the case of her former party colleague, MP Roman
Pekarek, who is to serve five years in prison for corruption but has
refused to give up his mandate. Another MP, former Social Democrat
David Rath, has been held in custody since last May also on corruption

President signs medical marihuana bill into law

Czech President Vaclav Klaus on Friday signed into law a bill on
medical marihuana which will be made available to patients later this
year. The legislation allows patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis,
atopic dermatitis and other disease to obtain marihuana on electronic
prescription which will be under tightened supervision. One gram of the
drug should be available in pharmacies at a price ranging between 80
and 200 crowns, or 4 and 10 US dollars. Medical marihuana will be
imported; next year, the authorities are planning to issue licences to
Czech companies to grow cannabis plants as well.

Culture minister to remain in office

Czech Minister of Culture Alena Hanakova, of the TOP 09 party, is set
to remain in office. Speculations of her demise emerged after TOP 09
leader Karel Schwarzenberg reportedly offered the job to a former
rector of Prague's Academy of Fine Arts earlier this week. However, Mr
Schwarzenberg met with Minister Hanakova on Friday and said he had no
objections to her remaining in the post.

Thousands of young Danes visit Prague

Another 6,000 Danish students are expected to visit Prague next week,
the news agency CTK reported quoting sources from the Danish embassy.
The Czech capital has become a popular destination for young Danes;
this week, an estimated 10,000 of them arrived in Prague for two- or
three-day stays. Their visits coincide with the winter school holidays
in their country. Danish students come on cheap package tours, and have
caused number of incidents mainly fuelled by alcohol. Prague police
register around 10 such incidents each day; on Wednesday, a group of
Danish students demolished several hotel rooms in the capital.

Flu epidemic in decline

An epidemic of flu that has hit the Czech Republic in recent weeks is
in decline, the country's chief hygiene officer, Vladimir Valenta, said
on Friday. The number of cases of acute respiratory infections has
registered an 11.6 percent decrease this week, while the number of flu
cases dropped by over 22 percent. Mr Valenta however warned the flu
epidemic was not over yet as more flu-related deaths are being
registered across the country. In total, 85 people have died of
flu-related causes this season.

Czech Republic's oldest citizen celebrates 109th birthday

The Czech Republic's oldest inhabitant, Evangelia Carosova, celebrates
her 109th birthday on Friday. Ms Carosova, who lives in a village
outside the north-eastern town of Bruntal, was born in Greece and moved
to Czechoslovakia to escape the civil war that broke out in the 1940s.
The illiterate woman, who has lived in her village since 1950,
reportedly understands Czech but only speaks Greek.

Czech photographer wins World Press Photo sports category

Czech news agency CTK's photographer Roman Vondrous has won the
category of Sports actions - stories of the international World Press
Photo contest. Mr Vondrous won with a series of photos from the Velka
Parubicka steeplechase; the black-and-white shots depict the background
of the famous cross-country run. Mr Vondrous said the award was his
greatest achievement so far.

Plzen pull off huge upset against Napoli while Sparta lose to Chelsea

Viktoria Plzen pulled off a huge upset on Thursday night when they beat
the Italian side Napoli 3:0 away in the first leg of their Europa
League first knockout stage tie. Plzen's goals came from Vladimir
Darida, Frantisek Rajtoral and Stanislav Tecl. Sparta Prague,
meanwhile, lost 1:0 in the Czech capital to Chelsea, who took all three
points thanks to a late strike from the Brazilian Oscar.


The weekend will be slightly warmer with overcast skies, light snow and
temperatures ranging between 0 and +2 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today

Czechs and Germans intensify the fight against rampant cross-border
drug trafficking

The Czech and German interior ministers on Thursday pledged to
intensify cooperation at all levels to curb a flourishing cross-border
drug trade in crystal methamphetamine. Despite tightened border
controls, Czech suppliers are meeting growing demand in the southern
and eastern parts of Germany which border on the Czech Republic and
where an increasing number of young people are falling prey to the
highly-addictive stimulant.

Pavel Sporcl - Not your everyday violin virtuoso

In the Czech Republic and increasingly even abroad, violinist Pavel
Sporcl enjoys the kind of name recognition that aspiring rock stars
dream of. A natural talent, he became the enfant terrible of the
classical music world when first he arrived on the scene, forgoing a
tuxedo for a bandana and taking an interactive approach to his
concerts. Having toured the world over and recorded roughly a dozen
albums, 36-year-old Pavel Sporcl is not only a dominant but a defining
force in classical music. I met Pavel as he was preparing for a
concert, and asked him to describe what it is that has made him and his
career so distinct.

Business News 15.2.2013

In Business News this week: The current Czech recession equals in
length the longest previously recorded; the industry minister says the
government will look into the issue of excessively high prices set for
solar power; Becherovka loses CZK 100 million due to a spirits ban; and
art collectors have spent in CZK 5.4 billion at Czech auctions in the
last decade.

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