A new study obtained prior to release by the Czech news agency, suggests
that in terms of structure psychiatric institutional care in the Czech
Republic most resembles systems in the former Soviet Union and the
setting it apart from current practices in western Europe, where the trend
has been towards community care and other support systems. The study was
conducted by specialists from the Prague Psychiatric Centre: care across
European countries was examined.
In Italy, for example, many mental hospitals were closed or reduced in size. In the Czech Republic similar steps could only be taken following the introduction of alternative systems to prevent the mentally ill from ending up on the street or in prison, specialists suggested. Currently, Czech psychiatry receives 3.5 percent of the annual healthcare budget; that is to be boosted to five percent after reforms are introduced. The European average is eight.
The driver of a French bus which crashed on a motorway west of Prague on April 8 has died bringing the death toll in the accident to two. A 15-year-old schoolgirl died in the crash and 23 other school children were injured. The bus was headed for Prague when it careened off the motorway near Rokycany, some 80 km west of the Czech capital, shortly after 5am. The police were investigating the accident as a possible case of negligence resulting in death. The case is now likely to be closed.
Two-time ice hockey world championship gold medal winner Tomáš Vokoun, a goalie who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins, has told the news website idnes he will no longer play for the national squad. Vokoun led the Czech team to an unexpected victory against Russia in the final in Germany in 2010. Before that, he won his first gold in Austria in 2005. Vokoun told idnes that the Czech Republic had plenty of talented up-and-coming goalies and that it would be unfair of him to take a place on the roster. Vokoun did not play in the championship last year due to injury and missed the year before that when he sought a new contract in the NHL.
In related news, former controversial presidential aide Ladislav Jakl was awarded the Zelená perla (Green Pearl, recognising most outlandish statement) for an opinion piece in which he slammed cycling as an alternative means of transport. In the piece last year he mocked biking as a clean and healthy means of travel, suggesting that cycling should be “banned”.
On a working visit to Prague the president of the European Council, Herman
van Rompuy said the EU had weathered the worst of economic crisis and the
future of the euro was no longer at stake. He said the EU must now focus on
jump starting the economy and creating thousands of new jobs in order to
secure the return of financial stability. Prime Minister Petr Necas said
that, while it was in the Czech Republic’s best interests to help the
euro zone’s recovery, Prague was in no hurry to exchange the crown for
the euro and such a decision would have to be made on the basis of a
national referendum. Mr. Van Rompuy assured his host the European Council
would not pressurize Prague on the matter, adding that since the Czech
Republic did not fulfil the respective critieria for euro zone membership
it was not an issue of the present day.
Mr van Rompuy also met with the Czech president, Miloš Zeman. The European Council president’s visit comes some three weeks after the head of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, attended the ceremony of hoisting the EU flag at Prague Castle.
Communist Party MEP Miloslav Ransdorf who has a 17 million crown debt has been unable to a visit from the bailiff and the confiscation of his real estate in Prague. His nine million crown house in Prague’s Libuse district and flat in Zabehlice are to be auctioned off on June 26th. The MEP allegedly owes money both to financial institutions and close friends.
The Finance Ministry has announced plans to withdraw 6,000 licences for video lottery terminals which were originally issued until the end of 2014. The move is being made in line with the wishes of individual town halls which aim to cub gambling. The Czech Constitutional Court recently upheld a complaint filed collectively by town halls that attacked an article of the lottery law enabling the finance ministry to issue video lottery terminal licences over their heads.
The Czech Senate on Thursday approved four new Constitutional Court judges, accepting all the nominations proposed by President Miloš Zeman. The new judges are Jaroslav Fenyk, Jan Filip, Vladimir Sládeček and Milada Tomková. There were three vacancies in the 15-member court to date and another seven seats are to be vacated by the end of the year. Ahead of the vote President Zeman urged the upper house to vote prudently saying the Constitutional Court was on the brink of collapse and must be stabilized. The head of state has promised to submit four more candidates in June.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka on Thursday unveiled the line-up of the shadow cabinet. His ministerial team is 14-strong, with a newly added youth and sports portfolio. Jan Mládek whose candidacy for shadow finance minister was shaken by a highly imprudent remark made at the last party conference, is on the team. Jiři Dienstbier whose position was weakened after he failed to secure a post in the party leadership is shadow justice minister. Lubomir Zaorálek is shadow foreign minister and Vladimir Špidla, a former EU commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, is shadow environment minister.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events