Czech energy giant ČEZ said on Monday that it was still trying to reconnect some 600 customers left without electricity after storms last Thursday. Extreme weather felled trees and cut power cables around the Czech Republic, initially leaving around 150,000 people without power. Electricity supplier ČEZ said that it would have to spend in the region of 30-40 million crowns (1.7-2.2 million USD) to repair damage caused by the storms. Two people were killed in last Thursday’s storms.
The government agreed on a plan to combat the effects of the financial crisis with the Czech Union of Towns and Municipalities on Monday. At a news conference after the meeting, Prime Minister Jan Fischer said the government would give Czech towns some 2 billion crowns (112 million USD) to help fight the economic downturn, and would set aside another 2 billion crowns in reserve. Head of the Union of Towns and Municipalities Oldřich Vlasák said that the lion’s share of the money would be spent on services conducted at a regional level on behalf of the state. Mr Vlasák added that, at the moment, municipalities are covering up to 70 percent of the cost of such services.
Confidence in the Czech economy grew slightly in July, according to data released by the Statistical Office on Monday. Confidence was up by 0.8 points on that of the previous month, mostly because of a rise in business confidence, the office said. Consumer confidence fell in July by two points, while business confidence was up by 1.5 points. Compared with figures from this time last year, overall confidence is down by some 23 points. According to the Statistical Office, the number of respondents who feared unemployment rose in July, while those who said they were setting aside cash remained the same.
Police have found the body of a 40-year-old woman in Benešov nad Ploučnicí who, they say, may be the 15th victim of the flash floods which struck the country in early July. A spokesperson for the police in Děčín said forensics specialists were now trying to identify the woman who was found in a river on Monday morning. The results of DNA tests should be known in a month, spokesman Ladislav Cvik added. The body is thought to be that of a woman who disappeared on July 4 when helping others escape flash floods in north Bohemia. The floods claimed at least 14 lives around the Czech Republic and caused billions of crowns worth of damage.
A further 20 cases of swine flu were registered in the Czech Republic over the weekend, the Health Ministry said on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in this country to 63. According to the ministry, the majority of those infected did not need hospital treatment and were recovering in isolation at home, without needing to use antivirals. A spokesperson for the ministry added that none of those infected displayed any signs of further health complications, and that all of the patients were on course to make a full recovery. The new cases were mostly registered in people who had returned to the Czech Republic from abroad, notably Great Britain, the United States and Spain, though several of the patients had not recently left the country, and had contracted the virus from those they had been in contact with here.
A government news conference was disrupted on Monday when a man started heckling Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Michael Kocáb. When the floor opened for questions after the conference, an elderly gentleman took the microphone and complained that while minorities were represented and lobbied for by Mr Kocáb, pensioners received no such aid from the minister. The gentleman refused to hand over the microphone when asked. News website Novinky.cz reported that the heckler was unhappy about a rise in the price of his rent and complained that Mr Kocáb was offering him no protection, unlike, he said, the young squatters recently evicted from Prague’s Milada squat, for whom the minorities and human rights’ minister found replacement accommodation.
Total health spending in the Czech Republic in 2007 accounted for 6.8
percent of GDP – lower than the average of 8.9 percent among OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has revealed. Of
other countries in the survey that are in the EU or have applied for EU
membership, only Poland and Turkey ranked below the Czech Republic. The
most highly-ranked in the survey was the US, with 15.8 percent of GDP.
The report also said that the Czechs in 2007 ranked below the OECD average
in total health spending per capita (spending the equivalent of 1,626 US
dollars compared to the OECD average of 2,964). A year later, in 2008,
government introduced mandatory health fees at emergency rooms, private
practitioners’ and hospitals.
In other statistics, the Czech Republic ranked among the highest in the survey when it came to health funding from the public sector: 85.2 percent - well above the OECD average of 73 percent. In the proportion of public funding, the Czech Republic came second only to Luxembourg.
A two-year-old boy in Veltrusy, near Mělník, suffered serious injury on Sunday after he fell under a lawnmower. Doctors had to amputate one of the toddler’s feet. The accident took place when the boy’s father reportedly lent the machine to his daughter, only five years of age. A similar accident took place earlier this week in Moravia, when a three-year-old also fell under a mower: doctors were forced to amputate his right hand.
Police shut down a neo-Nazi event on Saturday, arresting two of the organisers. The men are suspected of promoting movements supporting the suppression of human rights and freedoms. They organised the private event at a pub in Pilsen, attended by some 50 right-wing extremists. Some 60 officers moved in to shut down the event after performers allegedly celebrated the neo-Nazi movement.
Several dozen protestors gathered outside the Iranian embassy in Prague on Saturday to protest the arrests of Iranians who criticised the re-election of the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Demonstrators inside the country had come out against the result and suffered a widely-condemned crackdown. According to Amnesty International, hundreds or even thousands of people could face torture and unjust trials. In an act of solidarity in Prague, protestors wrote the names of Iranian detainees on the pavement outside the embassy. On Saturday more than 80 cities worldwide took part in organised demonstrations over developments in Iran.
Czech IT specialists organize “hackathon” to give government online motorway vignette sales system for free
Minister: Czech Republic won’t take in 40 child refugees from Greek camps
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
Three Czechs trapped in Wuhan due to coronavirus
EU, Russia row over WWII, with Poles and Czechs on front lines