Over four fights of Czech women and three-fifths of Czech men believe there are too few women in Czech politics, according to a poll carried out by the CVVM agency for the women’s advocacy group Forum 50%. Most Czechs also think it is easier for men to reach the top in politics than women, the poll suggested. The Czech Republic is 76th among 190 countries in terms of women’s representation in parliament, says the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has softened his position on the possible return of Jiří Čunek to cabinet, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. Mr Schwarzenberg had previously said he would quit if Mr Čunek was reinstated as deputy prime minister and minister for regional development. But the foreign minister, currently recovering from surgery, told the newspaper he would now tolerate his return, if Mr Čunek presented him with his accounts and the decree ending a criminal investigation into allegations that he took bribes. Jiří Čunek has reportedly agreed to do so. Prime Minister Topolánek said on Tuesday it was likely Mr Čunek would be reinstated by Easter.
The Czech footballer Jan Koller says he may quit the game if he is punished by the German football association for allegedly spitting at an opponent. The Nuremberg striker has been ordered to provide a description of what happened during the alleged incident. The 34-year-old strongly denies the charge and says any punishment would be “the limit”. Koller is the Czech Republic’s record scorer, with 50 goals in 81 internationals.
Police have charged a doctor with fraud after he told a lied to a patient he had cancer and then tried to charge him for a “miracle cure”, TV Nova reported. Several other former patients of the doctor have since come forward to say they had paid him large amounts. The doctor, a urologist, was previously was sentenced after removing the a patient’s healthy kidney.
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek has presented a prime minister’s medal to Milan Paumer, a member of the armed anti-communist group led by Josef and Ctirad Mašín. The three killed six people including a cashier before and during a dramatic escape to West Germany in 1953; other members of their group were later executed. Last week the prime minister presented the same award to Josef Mašín at the Czech Embassy in Washington, the first ever official recognition of the group. Czech society is divided over their actions: some regard the men as freedom fighters, others believe they are murderers.
Lukáš Bauer has, as expected, become the first Czech ever to win the season-long cross country skiing World Cup. Second-placed Rene Sommerfeldt of Germany, the only person with even a theoretical chance of catching Bauer, had signalled his intention not to compete in a sprint in Denmark on Wednesday; his failure to declare himself for the race by Tuesday’s deadline means the historic World Cup title belongs to Bauer. Furthermore, it is possible the 30-year-old will end the season with the greatest points lead ever recorded in the competition.
MP Evžen Snítilý has been kicked out of the Social Democrats after defying the party whip and supporting Václav Klaus in a presidential election. Mr Snítilý had earlier been expelled from the Social Democrat’s group in the Chamber of Deputies, after his vote helped the incumbent win a second term. Despite having now been thrown out of the party itself he refuses to give up his seat in Parliament.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek is to present the anti-communist fighter Milan Paumer with a prime minister’s medal on Tuesday. Mr. Paumer together with the Mašín brothers, whom the prime minister decorated in Washington last week, were engaged in subversive actions against the communist regime in the hardline 1950s and eventually escaped to the West killing six people in the process. The prime minister’s decision to decorate them has caused enormous controversy since the public is divided over their actions – some consider them heroes, others murderers. Previous efforts by members of the Senate to get them state distinctions did not garner sufficient support.
Czech insurance companies are expected to pay hundreds of millions of crowns (tens of millions of dollars) in damages caused by hurricane-force winds over the weekend. Insurers have been inundated with calls after winds of up to 95 miles per hour ripped off roofs, uprooted trees and felled power lines. Two people were killed in the wind-storm, one an eleven-year-old girl. Rail and road traffic was disrupted for most of the weekend and at one point over 900,000 people were left without electricity. People have been warned not to enter the country’s forests where emergency crews have been working around the clock clearing the damage.
The Czech Supreme Court has upheld the complaint of an old woman who claims to have grown cannabis for medical purposes in her vegetable patch but was found guilty of illegal production and possession of drugs by a lower-level court. The lawyer who defended the woman pointed out that growing cannabis on such small scale could hardly be classified as illegal drug production. The woman said she used the leaves for poultices. The Supreme Court returned the case to a lower level court saying the state attorney had not adequately proved the woman’s criminal intent.