The Constitution Court has struck down a number of measures from the recent health care and insurance reforms on Tuesday, including the division into standard and above-standard level of health care. The court ruled on a complaint submitted by 51 Social Democratic MPs challenging some elements of the outgoing government’s health insurance reform. The court ruled that providing options of standard and above-standard care by healthcare practitioners, as well as the raising the daily hospital stay fees from 60 to 100 crowns was not described in the law appropriately. The above-standard treatment program was introduced over a year ago, to allow patients to pay extra for treatment or materials which were more expensive than the standard of care. The program met with fairly little interest from the public.
Natural scientist and the head of research and development department at the education ministry, Dalibor Štys, will become the next education minister in the caretaker government of Prime Minister Designate Jiří Rusnok. Since being given the task of putting together a caretaker cabinet last Tuesday by President Zeman, Mr. Rusnok has secured 10 ministers, though key positions remain unfilled, including the posts of the minister of finance and minister of industry and trade. Mr. Rusnok is hoping he will complete the list of names by the end of the week, or Monday at the latest, so he can take it to the president next week for confirmation. His choices for ministers have been criticized on both sides of the aisle in the lower house of parliament, who say the technocrat cabinet is made up of friends of the president, not experts.
Ronald Adams, the former head of the Tatra truck company, is standing trial on charges of corruption. Mr. Adams is suspected of having offered a 20 million crown bribe in connection with the delivery of Tatra off-road vehicles to the Czech military. The accusation against him was raised by former defense minister Martin Bartak, who himself faces charges in the case. Mr. Adams has admitted to making the offer, but claims he was only bluffing in order to test defense ministry officials.
The anti-corruption police have once again charged the founder and director of the private Metropolitan University Prague, Anna Benešová, and two other people with fraud, in connection with a 2-million dollar contract from 2008. According to the police, Ms. Benešová provided misleading information to the board of directors of the university about equipment necessary for the school and approved an overpriced deal. One of the other people accused in the same case is the head of the board of directors, Petr Haluza. Mrs. Benešová received a suspended two-year sentence in 2011 for causing 6-million-crown damages to the school, by allowing a number of students to study for free; she was granted a presidential pardon last year by then president Václav Klaus.
The police are investigating a man who allegedly gave a 50,000-crown bribe to a football player from one of teams in the country’s top Gambrinus league to under-perform in a match last year. The police have not released the name of the person under investigation, but a number of news sites, including iDnes.cz and Aktuálně.cz servers, have reported that sources in football circles speculate that it may be Roman Rogoz, manager of the Příbram team. This newest scandal comes only months after the anti-corruption police charged three people in connection with alleged bribery at a Gambrinus league match in the previous season. That case is still open, and the police have not confirmed the names of the accused.
The state Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority have been carrying out an extraordinary inspection of chicken meat in Czech stores imported from Poland throughout Tuesday, after inspections in Slovakia revealed that imported meat from Polish farms contained medications that are banned in the European Union. The screenings are looking specifically for the drug called metronidazol, which is prohibited from being used for animals.
The Czech National Bank has minted a commemorative gold coin worth 10,000 crowns for the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Great Moravia. The bank will release 11,000 coins for sale on July 3rd. The coin weighs one Troy ounce and depicts the two saints on one side, and on the other the Great Moravian prince Rostislav, upon whose request Cyril and Methodius arrived in his kingdom in 863 from Constantinople to evangelize his subjects and subsequently translate the Bible into Old Church Slavonic.
No. 7 seed Tomáš Berdych reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon on Monday, defeating unseeded Australian Bernard Tomic in four sets. The final score was 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4. The win sets up a quarterfinal against Novak Djokovic. In April, Berdych secured a rare win against the World No.1 in the Rome Masters; the only other time he has beaten him in 15 outings was in 2010, en route to the Wimbledon final where Berdych ended up losing to Rafael Nadal. The top Czech female player Petra Kvitová has also gone through to the quarter final, where she will face Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium. The Czech doubles duo Andrea Hlavačková and Lucie Hradecká are also not lagging behind, and will be playing an Australian team for the chance to be in the semi-final.
One of the most popular summer music festivals in the Czech Republic, Rock for People, is starting up again on Tuesday in Hradec Králové. The festival grounds has been expanded by five hectares, in comparison to last year. Also, after heavy storms that caused a number of problems last year, organizers decided to invest into more security and anti-flooding measures at the event and have left only one of the main stages in the open air, places the rest under giant tents, which will allow the show to continue despite bad weather, which may plague music lovers’ fun again this week. Aside from a wide offer of local bands, there will be an even greater number of international artists at the festival, including the bands Thirty Seconds to Mars, Gogol Bordello and Papa Roach.
Meteorologists are warning of heavy storms across Bohemia, which should start at around 3 pm on Wednesday. Possible torrential rains, strong winds and even hail can be expected. The Hydro-meteorological office has issued warnings for all Bohemian regions, saying that there may be as much as 30 millimeters of precipitation per hour and winds of up to 72 kilometers per hour.
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