- The prime minister has backed the head of the Czech intelligence service who recently came under fire over leaked wiretaps.
- The Czech government will discuss new rules that would require lobbyists to register.
- New health care legislation that enters into force on Sunday gives more rights to patients.
- March saw the lowest number of road deaths in more than two decades.
- Tereza Chlebovská, a 22-year-old student from Krnov, has been voted the new Miss Czech Republic.
PM Nečas backs intelligence service boss
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has backed the head of the Czech intelligence service, Jiří Lang who recently came under criticism over leaked wiretaps. The prime minister told Czech TV on Sunday that he had full confidence in Mr Lang who was a loyal official and a good director of the service. Mr Lang was criticized over leaks of wiretapped phone conversations between former Prague mayor Pavel Bém and an influential lobbyist which revealed corruption and cronyism at Prague City Hall. One of the wiretaps also suggested the lobbyist, Roman Janoušek, had contacts among top officials of the intelligence service.
Government to discuss registration of lobbyists
In related news, the Czech government will this week discuss proposals to introduce compulsory registration of lobbyists, the news agency ČTK reported on Sunday. Under the proposed legislation, lobbyists would have to register with a newly established institute while public officials including MPs, and Senators, members of the government as well as their assistants would be required to make their scheduled meetings available on the internet. If the government approves the proposal, the respective bill should be ready by the middle of the year.
The government will discuss the proposed legislation at a time when lobbying came into the spotlight due to a scandal involving former Prague mayor Pavel Bém. Leaked wiretaps revealed that Mr Bém consulted some of his key decisions with a lobbyist, Roman Janoušek.
New health care legislation enters into force
New health care legislation that enters into force on Sunday gives more rights to patients. They are now for example entitled to go through their own medical records and make copies of them; some decisions by doctors now also require the patients’ informed consent and it will be easier to file complaints against health care providers. Patients are now also entitled to leave instructions for the doctors concerning life-sustaining treatment. The new legislation, which also mandates insurance companies to cover vaccination against cervix cancer for girls aged 13, is part of a broader health care reform pursued by the centre-right Czech government.
March saw lowest number of roads deaths since 1990
Forty-four people died on Czech roads in March 2012, which is the lowest number of road deaths for that months recorded since 1990. Last year, 45 people died in traffic accidents in March, a significant decrease since the 1990s. The police registered nearly 5,900 accidents last months, a slight increase compared to last year.
Krnov student voted Miss Czech Republic
Tereza Chlebovská, a 22-year-old student from Krnov, has been voted the Miss Czech Republic 2012. The winner of the beauty pageant received the most votes from the viewers of the show, and was crowned by the Italian actress Claudia Cardinale on Saturday. The jury chose 18-year-old Linda Bartošová from Pardubice to represent the country at Miss World 2012.
Hockey: Plzeň beats Kometa Brno in semifinals game
HC Plzeň 1929 beat Kometa Brno 3:2 in the fourth game of the hockey league’s best-of-seven semifinal series in Brno on Saturday. The hosts’ victory could end the series but Plzeň played a great game, and were leading 3:1 just after the start of the second period. Brno brought the gap down to 3:2 several minutes later but were unable to equalize. The series now moves on to Plzeň where the two teams will clash again on Monday. On Sunday, the other semifinal series continues between Pardubice and Liberec.
The start of the week will be mostly cloudy with rain showers expected across the Czech Republic. Daytime highs should range between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius.