A new scientific study has found that new-born babies in Moravia’s industrial north-east are significantly more prone to illness than in the rest of the country. The joint study by the Czech Institute of Experimental Medicine and the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague focuses on the notorious Karviná district, which suffers from severe smog as a result of copious coal-burning by homes and power plants, pollution from local steelworks, and proximity to a similarly industrial area of Poland.
The lower house of Parliament has approved a bill that should introduce a broad ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants. The government-proposed legislation was defended by the newly appointed Health Minister Miloslav Ludvik who said it was a vital step in protecting public health and particularly that of the young generation which frequently topped the European ladder in tobacco and alcohol abuse. The draft law caused heated controversy in the lower house and there were numerous efforts to modify the ban, such as a rejection of the proposed amendment that would ban smoking in street cafes or cars with child passengers. The draft legislation now goes to the Senate. If it wins approval there and is signed by the president it should come into force in May of next year.
Jarka Heissigerová is an internationally recognised expert on uveitis, a rare, hard to diagnose and potentially blinding eye condition. The doctor, who spent a number of years studying and working in Scotland, switched her focus to the disease after previously specialising in the incredibly complex procedure of corneal transplantation. Our conversation took in those fields – and eye-care in general – but I first asked Dr. Heissigerová what had inspired her to become an ophthalmologist.
Air pollutant emissions levels were breached on around 40 percent of the territory of the Czech Republic last year, in large part due to extremely warm weather that led to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone and particulate benzo(a)pyrene, iDnes.cz reported on Sunday, citing an annual Ministry of the Environment report. However, the study found that the environment had not deteriorated, despite economic growth that led to increased construction work and energy consumption.
Prague is the best place to live in the Czech Republic, according to the research project Místo pro život (Place for Life). While the capital retains top spot in the survey, the Pardubice Region has shot up from ninth last year to second place, followed by Plzeň, which also came in third in 2015. The authors said Prague triumphed thanks to factors such as wage levels, healthcare standards and number of associations and charities.
The number of new HIV cases in the Czech Republic this year to the end of November is already higher than the 266 total for the whole of 2015, the National Reference Laboratory announced on Wednesday. The final total for the month has not yet been released. To the end of October, the number of new cases so far this year stood at 257. The latest comments confirm the upward trend in new HIV cases seen since 2003. The head of the laboratory said it was a question whether the 300 total of new cases would be hit this year, adding though that the number of new cases usually slows at the end of the year.
About 640,000 Czechs over 15 drink alcohol in a risky way and may be addicted, according to a report on the use of drugs in 2015 submitted to the government on Wednesday. About 12.5 percent of Czechs (19 percent of men and 6 percent of women) drink alcohol regularly or even daily. According to the report, completed by the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction, there were nearly 47,000 problem users of pervitin, heroin and other illegal drugs in the country in 2015.
The Prague Municipal Court has rejected an appeal from an Ostrava woman who a lower court refused to award compensation for the fact that she is forced to live in an environment with polluted air, iDnes.cz reported. Pavla Skýbová was seeking CZK 1 million from the state on the grounds that timely action was not taken to improve the air quality in Ostrava. In recent years some carcinogens up to nine times above EU limits have been found in the air in the north Moravian city.
Around 36,000 people have disappeared from the Czech Republic’s smallest districts, those with populations below 500, between 2001-2014. Such districts still number around 3,500 with 840,000 people living in them. However, if the trend continues then the Czech countryside could follow the example of Spain, Italy, and Greece and become a virtual museum. Districts often face the problems of an ageing population, most of the educated leave for bigger cities, high unemployment, and poor services. The Ministry of Agriculture has woken up to the problem and is now encouraging business start-ups in such localities with grants.