Patrik Eliáš set up the tying goal in the third period and scored in the
penalty shootout in NHL action on Thursday to help his New Jersey Devils
down Philadelphia. The player was named the game’s 1st star. The final
score was 4:3 for the Devils.
In other action, goalie Ondřej Pavelec, who plays for the Winnipeg Jets, allowed no goals in his team’s win over the New York Islanders – his first shutout of the season. The final score was 3:0.
A new poll conducted by the Factum Invenio agency suggests that if the general election were held today, six parties would make it into the Chamber of Deputies. According to the survey, the opposition Social Democrats would win with 28.5 percent of the vote, while traditional right-wing rivals, the Civic Democrats, would finish with 19.2. The Communist Party would finish third – with 15.9 percent, followed by TOP 09 with 13.7. Two parties, not currently represented in the lower house would, the survey suggests, make it back in: the Christian Democrats (5.9 percent) and the Greens (5.4). By contrast, current coalition member Public Affairs would finish well below the five percent threshold required: just 2.2 percent.
Legislators in the lower house are to debate the new Civil Code in a third reading on Friday in a special meeting of the lower house called to sidestep obstructive efforts by the opposition. The bill, which covers 3,000 paragraphs making it the most extensive modification of Czech legislation in 50 years, deals with questions of private and family law, property issues, contract law and inheritance. Justice Minister Jiŕí Pospíšil has strongly backed the bill, saying the country needed a civil code for the “21st century”. But critics, such as members of the opposition Social Democrats, charge the legislation will largely create legal confusion.
The country’s health minister, Leoš Heger, has said he will order state hospitals to raise wages in January by 6.25 percent instead of an earlier promised 10 percent. Speaking to journalists on Friday, he stressed that the remaining 3.75 percent could be added midway through the year, if revenues are collected by the insurance companies allowed. The minister stressed the decision was a compromise in light of gloomy economic predictions for the Czech economy for 2012 - not expected to grow more than – at best - one percent. The unions had been asking for all 10 percent as of January and are expected to respond to the minister’s decision on Monday. Despite the poor economic outlook, the minister has promised that he will do his utmost to make sure patient care remains unaffected; if anything new investment will need to be curbed to meet current financial difficulties.
The Senate on Friday awarded world-famous Czech scientist Antonín Holý an honorary medal for his contributions in scientific research and development. Mr Holý has spent a considerable part of his career in helping develop medicines to help patients with AIDS. The head of the Academy of Sciences Organic chemistry and biochemistry branch, Zdeněk Havlas, praised Professor Holý, saying he was an example of the dedication required in the sciences. Antonín Holý has received considerable recognition for his work including a nomination for the Nobel Prize for medicine.
Ten guests staying at a Prague 5 hotel have been taken to hospital with food poisoning. Others who suffered a milder form of food poisoning were attended to on the spot. All are said to be in stable condition. Eight of the patients are believed to be contestants in a beauty pageant. Tests are being conducted to ascertain the cause of the problem.
The Czech Central Bank on Thursday also confirmed the bleak economic outlook, revising its growth forecast for 2011-2012 downward, mirroring an economic slow-down in Europe. The bank predicts a 2 percent growth this year, down from a previous 2.1 percent growth estimate and 1.2 percent growth in 2012 down from a 2.2 percent forecast. The downward revision echoes a similar estimate by the Czech Finance Ministry announced earlier this week. The Central Bank board on Thursday voted to leave the benchmark two-week repurchase rate at a record-low 0.75 percent, half the European Central Bank’s main rate.
The Czech lower house approved the 2012 state budget in its first reading late Wednesday, nodding to its basic parameters: budget revenues, expenditures and deficit. The draft budget, pushed through by the votes of the centre-right coalition government of Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and Public Affairs, reckons with revenues of 1,085 billion crowns, expenditures of 1,190 billion and a 105 billion crown deficit, i.e. 3.2 percent of GDP. The draft budget, fiercely criticized by the opposition, will be now discussed by the lower house's committees. The house is to take a final vote on it in December.
U.S. General Timothy Ray, who is in charge of building an Afghan air force, has praised the Czech Republic’s input in training Afghan helicopter pilots. In an interview for the CTK news agency the general said the work of Czech instructors was excellent and the skill of Czech mechanics who have experience with Russian military equipment was proving invaluable. Czech military experts are teaching Afghan pilots to fly Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters and maintain them, both in the Czech Republic and in Afghanistan. The Czech Republic has aspirations to establish a NATO helicopter pilot training centre in Pardubice, east Bohemia.
Police have classified a Romany attack on two teenagers in the town of Nový Bor as racially motivated. The incident took place last Friday outside the local cinema. An 18-year-old boy and a girl of 15 ended up in hospital with concussion, a broken nose and head injuries. They were attacked by Romany youths of approximately their own age. Another attack occurred in the town less than 24 hours later when unknown culprits beat up a twenty-year-old man. Racial tension has been high in Nový Bor since August of this year when a group of Romanies attacked guests in a bar with machetes. The towns inhabitants have criticized the local administration for failing to secure law and order and anti-Romany demonstrations have been taking place on a weekly basis. Following the latest attacks the town has once again received police re-enforcements.
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