The tradition of the pig slaughter in the Czech Republic has declined precipitously in the last ten years, as reported by the Czech Press Agency. While 75,000 tonnes of pork went towards pig slaughters in the year 2000, only a third of that, 25,000 tonnes was slaughtered in 2008. According to the Association of Czech Meat Processors, the decline is due to the more favourable prices of pre-processed pork in supermarkets today and the greater number of restaurants that offer the kinds of food items traditionally prepared in slaughters. Concerns that the EU would ban home pig slaughtering were allayed in September, when the European Council passed a measure permitting the practice and instating stronger regulations against animal cruelty.
The Czech Republic is expecting the delivery of 90,000 additional doses of swine flu vaccine. That amount will be roughly equal to the number of dosages currently available for the first wave of vaccinations. Health minister Dana Jurásková made the announcement Saturday at a meeting of the Czech Medical Chamber in Brno. The minister also said that under set circumstances the state would be assuming legal responsibility for possible side effects of vaccination. 95,000 vaccines are currently being distributed around the Czech Republic, with vaccinations set to begin on Monday. The second delivery is to be made after December 4. The Czech Republic’s chief hygiene officer, Michael Vít, has said he expects a statistical epidemic to be underway at the beginning of December.
A 27-metre spruce was felled Sunday and taken to Prague to become the Christmas tree in Old Town Square. The tree was chosen from the Krkonoš Mountains as it has been for the last six years. This year however was the first that the tree was taken from a location accessible to onlookers, and several dozen people attended the cutting. The historic square’s Christmas tree is carefully selected each year; this year’s spruce, which stood on the bank of the Elbe River, was scheduled for felling regardless of Christmas due to concerns that a flood could bring it down on a nearby bridge.
The Czech Medical Chamber is demanding a fundamental amendment be made to the act on public health insurance. The chamber wants permanent contracts with health insurance companies so that private-practice doctors can sell their practices without having to hold public tenders for new contracts. The same would apply to health care facilities owned by private businesses. The head of the Medical Chamber, Milan Kubek, said that the demand would be a task for the government that emerges from parliamentary elections.
A Czech soldier of the 15th contingent on duty in Kosovo was shot on Saturday, possibly by a member of the same contingent. The 26-year-old soldier was rushed to an American military hospital where he was operated on and his condition is now stabilised. Defence ministry spokesman Andrej Čírtek says there are serious suspicions that the soldier was shot by one of his comrades. The spokesmen noted that the contingent in question has proven to be problematic on other occasions. The ministry, he said, is mounting an investigation, and the wounded soldier will be brought home the moment his health allows.
A poll conducted by the agency CVVM suggests that support for the Lisbon treaty increased to 43% in the month before its final ratification by President Václav Klaus in early November. According to the poll, one fourth of Czechs believe the treaty is beneficial to the Czech Republic while some 20% believe the opposite. A third of respondents said that the treaty would have no effect on the country’s position in the European Union. 64% of people complained of a lack of information about the treaty and a similar number said that they had very little or no interest in the issue. The Czech Republic delayed EU-wide ratification of the reform treaty during October as eurosceptic politicians in the country made last-ditch efforts to challenge its constitutionality.
Traffic at Prague’s Ruzyně Airport came to a halt on Saturday for more than five hours due to an electrical fire in the control tower. No one was injured. The airport was unable to say how many passengers were affected as ten flights were cancelled and 17 were diverted. The fire began early Saturday morning in auxiliary power cables and did not apparently affect traffic control systems. Tower dispatchers returned to work later in the morning, however the airport has said that flights will continue to be delayed throughout the day. Prague-Ruzyně is the Czech Republic’s primary international airport and one of the busiest hubs in Central Europe with an average 34,000 passengers a day.
In a letter to the convention, President Václav Klaus called upon the
Civic Democrats and other right-wing parties to offer more topics for
voters who would otherwise pay more attention to extremist groups. Mr
Klaus, who is currently in Peru, wrote that he sees primary threats in the
welfare state, rampant infringements on privacy, the emergence of new,
left-wing parties focusing on environmental issues and constraints imposed
by the EU. Should the party neglect these issues, he warned, people will
vent their frustration through other, potentially extremist groups.
President Klaus founded the Civic Democratic Party in 1991. He resigned his membership and his seat as honorary chairman last year, saying he found it difficult to identify with the party’s centrist shift.
Representatives of the Association of Czech Travel Agencies have reached an agreement with the Ministry of Finance on the interpretation of an amendment to the “prices act”, which took effect November 18. According to the agreement, travel agencies will provide final prices for package holidays in their promotional literature, rather than an enumeration of separate expenses.
Former constitutional judge and one of the authors of the Czech
constitution, Vojtěch Cepl, has died at the age of 71. The Constitutional
Court announced the death on Saturday. Judge Eliška Wagnerová, who made
the announcement, praised her colleague’s tireless promotion of the rule
of law, which he felt was as important as democracy itself. As court’s
most visible member, she said, Judge Cepl had helped ingrain the
institution of constitutional justice in Czech society.
Vojtěch Cepl was born in Prague in 1938 and was educated at Charles University, Oxford and the University of Michigan. From 1969 until 1993 he was a professor at Charles University and sat on the Constitutional Court from 1993 until 2003.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives