The Czech Health Ministry aims to set down stricter norms for vaccination of children. According to Czech Radio it is proposing an amendment to the law on vaccinations which would set an age limit for the MMR vaccine which parents often postpone for fear of side effects. A child would have to undergo their first vaccination within the first 18 months of their life and the second between their fifth and sixth year at the latest. The ministry argues that postponing vaccines upsets the whole vaccine calendar and puts other children at risk. NGOs are protesting against the proposed change on the grounds that it interferes with parent’s rights.
The US Embassy in Prague will support Prague Pride, a week-long series of events celebrating LGBT culture due to begin on Monday. In a press release the embassy said it would illuminate the Glorietta pavilion with a rainbow of colors on Monday evening to mark the beginning of Pride week and had organized film screenings in support of LGBT pride. The American centre will screen the film Moonlight and the AIDS documentary How to Survive a Plague. The US Embassy has actively supported Prague Pride for many years. This year the organisers of Prague Pride say they will place a special emphasis on the human rights of LGBT people in repressive Eastern states such as Chechnya and Armenia. The festival will traditionally end with a march through the city centre on Saturday.
Czech scientist and cartoonist Pavel Kantorek has died at the age of 75. Kantorek died in Canada where he emigrated after the 1968 Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. A professor of natural sciences he taught at Ryerson University in Toronto. His cartoons appeared in newspapers in the US, Germany, Switzerland and Italy and, after the fall of communism, in the Czech press. He published ten books of his best cartoons.
Thirteen Czechs remain hospitalized in Italy following Friday’s accident of a tourist bus near the town of Bolzano. None of the injuries are reported to be life-threatening. The driver was killed in the accident in which the bus swerved off the road and crashed in a field. The cause of the accident is being investigated. According to reports in the Italian press the bus’ brakes failed and the driver prevented a far bigger tragedy by driving the vehicle off the road. Twenty-five of the tourists are returning home on Sunday.
The authorities frequently fail to inform people that their phone was tapped by the police, according to Czech public television. As a result, many people have no idea their privacy was invaded. The issue was highlighted by Journalist Janek Kroupa who says he has proof his phone was tapped in 2012 but he never received notice of the fact that the wiretapping had been concluded. According to Czech law the police have a duty to inform people that they had been tapped in connection with an investigation. In 2015 the police reportedly wiretapped 202 phones. Only 90 people were later informed about the fact.
The ruling coalition is divided over whether and how much to increase the minimal wage, currently at 11 thousand crowns a month. Labour Minister Michaela Marksova of the Social Democrats has said she will propose an increase by 1.200 crowns as of January of 2018. The ANO party would accept a 1,000 crown increase at the most, although Finance Minister Ivan Pilny from ANO says he sees no reason whatsoever to increase the minimal wage. The Christian Democrats say 1,000 crowns might be an acceptable compromise. Employers’ representatives are arguing in favour of an 800 crown increase, while trade unions are demanding a hike of 1,500 crowns. The issue should be resolved after the summer holidays.
Two of the three young men whom the police charged with arson in connection with the fire that ravaged a historic wooden church in Guty, Silesia have been remanded in custody. A police investigator said the youths had set fire to the church intentionally and been planning other acts of violence. One of the three is a minor. If convicted they could face up to 15 years in prison. The church, dating back to 1563 was one of the best preserved wooden churches in the country. It was completely destroyed by the fire and the damage is estimated to be tens of millions of crowns. A public collection is underway to help finance the construction of a new church.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a travel warning for several provinces in Kenya in connection with growing violence ahead of next week’s general elections. Czech nationals are advised not to travel to the country and those already there should avoid public gatherings and demonstrations. People travelling to the country have also been advised to register with the ministry’s travel data base Drozd which will facilitate assistance in the event of problems.
Thousands of motorcycle fans have descended on the Moravian metropolis of Brno for the Czech Grand Prix weekend. Practice sessions got underway on Friday morning and the 22-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 1400 CET on a circuit situated in the hilly woods around Brno. Marc Marquez is leading the Championship on 129 points. The organizers are expecting some 200 thousand visitors.