- The Czech Foreign Ministry has advised Czech citizens against travelling to Egypt, in particular the Sinai Peninsula.
- The Czech government is planning an overhaul of the public sector which would save state coffers billions of crowns.
- Ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský has warned against continuing discrimination of Roma children in the Czech education system.
- The Social Democrats have rejected the idea that the David Rath corruption case could be linked to party financing.
- Czech industrial output grew by 2.2 percent year-on-year in April following an 0.7-percent decline the month before.
Czech Foreign Ministry advises Czechs against travelling to Egypt
The Czech Foreign Ministry has advised Czech citizens against travelling to Egypt and in particular making individual trips to the Sinai Peninsula citing a heightened threat of terrorist attacks. The ministry advises tourists who are already in Egypt to exercise extreme caution, not to stray from their tour group and stay away from public rallies and protests. Travel agencies say their clients are in no danger but are ready to offer alternate holiday destinations.
Overhaul of public sector to save more money
The Czech government is planning an overhaul of the public sector which would save state coffers up to 12 billion crowns in 2014 and close to 25 billion the year after. Individual ministries have until mid-July to revise their expenses and say where money could be saved. A merging of ministerial agendas is not being ruled out. Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has been commissioned with drafting a proposal for the respective changes by the autumn.
Ombudsman slams ongoing discrimination of Romany children
Ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský has warned against continuing discrimination of Roma children in the Czech education system. The Ombudsman said that according to the results of a recent study 32 to 35 percent of Romany children were studying at schools for children with learning, physical or mental disabilities and that most of them were placed there undeservedly in order to spare regular schools the effort of helping them integrate. The Czech Republic has received similar criticism from the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights.
Social Democrats say party financing is transparent
The Social Democratic Party on Wednesday once again rejected the idea that the David Rath corruption case could be linked to shady party financing. In his address to the lower house on Tuesday, the former governor of central Bohemia MP David Rath, who is charged with corruption, slammed his party colleagues for distancing themselves from him and implied that the seven million crowns he was caught red-handed with were finances for the party ahead of the autumn elections. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said on Wednesday that the party’s financing was transparent and that all transactions were above-board. He said the police had made no inquiries in this respect nor asked to look into the party’s books.
Protest rally held outside Labour and Social Affairs Ministry
Some thirty people gathered outside the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Prague on Wednesday to protest against the reform of the welfare system and the fact that no tender was held for a new computerized system of welfare payments. The rally, is part of a series of anti-government protests which were originally planned as “human blockades” of several ministries implementing a broad range of government austerity measures but all have been marked by a low turnout.
Ruling parties block parliamentary commission on IZIP
The ruling parties on Wednesday blocked an opposition proposal for the lower house to discuss the setting up of a special parliamentary commission which would investigate who is responsible for a bungled electronic health records project (IZIP) that cost taxpayers two billion crowns. The project, launched ten years ago was frequently criticized for lack of transparency and failed to motivate doctors to use it. The government recently voted to scrap it and cut its losses saying that nothing can be salvaged from it. The ruling parties are in favour of a standard investigation by the police.
The health minister is now outlining conditions for a tender on a new electronic health records project that would link up a complex system of already existing data bases run by hospitals, GPs and specialists.
Industrial growth up by 2.2 percent in April
Czech industrial output grew by 2.2 percent year-on-year in April following an 0.7-percent decline the month before, according to data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Wednesday. The growth was pulled by the manufacture of motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers which registered an increase of 8.3 percent against the previous month, while the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products posted a record drop of 19.0 percent in annual terms.
People in Need celebrating 20th birthday
The non-profit humanitarian organization People in Need is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It was established in 1992 by a group of war reporters and foreign correspondents who were no longer satisfied with reporting on conflicts and natural disasters and began sending out aid instead. The organization, now one of the biggest of its kind in central Europe, focused on providing aid to crisis areas and supporting adherence to human rights around the world. Czech public television is devoting a special day of programming to People in Need showing photos and videos from the organisation´s projects, missions and fundraising campaigns supported by tens of thousands of people.
Corruption in driving schools
Police in Karlovy Vary have detained five people suspected of corruption in issuing drivers’ licenses. According to a police spokeswoman several driving schools may have been involved in the scam in which drivers licenses were issued without proper training or tests. No one has as yet been charged in connection with the case.
Czech FA denies second division winners Ústí license to play in top division
The Czech football association has denied the winners of the second division, FK Ústí nad Labem, a license to play in the top division. The association said that the club had failed to reconstruct its stadium which did not meet the requirements for the Gambrinus Liga. Ústí will therefore remain in the second division in the next season. Second division runners-up Jihlava will be promoted along with Zbrojovka Brno which finished fourth as FK Baník Sokolov, which came in third, did not have the funding to play in the top division.
The coming days are expected to be cloudy to overcast with rain in places and day temperatures hovering at around 20 degrees Celsius.