News ANO boss Babiš wants to change coalition agreement and bring back hospital fees
The minister of finance, Andrej Babiš of ANO, says he wants to hold talks with coalition partners the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats on reintroducing a fee for overnight hospital stays. The three parties agreed to abolish the fees in a coalition deal signed in January. However, Mr. Babiš said on Czech Television on Monday night that doing away with the CZK 100 a night fee was a mistake. He also wants to discuss bringing back a second pillar of the pension system, another legacy of the previous centre-right cabinet abolished by the current government. The Social and Christian Democrats have reacted coolly to the ANO chief’s call.
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The Czech prime minister, Bohsulav Sobotka, has written to the president of the European Commission informing him that the Czech Republic has fulfilled a commission demand regarding the introduction of civil service legislation, the Czech News Agency reported. Prague is now waiting for confirmation from Jean-Claude Juncker that the Czech Republic has fulfilled a condition for drawing on European Union funds. Mr. Sobotka wrote that he expected the Czech Republic to be able to apply for funding from the EU’s operational programmes in the coming weeks and other programmes soon afterwards.
A regular test of the siren systems in Czech cities and towns will not take place on Wednesday due to plans to use the sirens the following day to signal a moment’s silence for the victims of a shooting in Uherský Brod last week. The sirens usually go off at noon on the first Wednesday of every month. A spokesperson for the fire service directorate said it had decided to cancel the March test at the proposal of the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec. Eight people were shot dead in an apparent random shooting in a pub in Uherský Brod before the gunman turned his weapon on himself.
The mayor of Prague says the designer of the city’s Blanka tunnel must be “a moron” (debil). Adriana Krnáčová made the comment after news emerged that the tunnel would not be open until next year at the soonest as hundreds of kilometres of water-damaged cables have to be replaced. The mayor told TV Nova that moisture could be expected in a tunnel and the designers must be stupid. However, a representative of the company that planned the project, Satra, told Tuesday’s Mladá fronta Dnes that the design had fulfilled all technical and safety requirements. Originally meant to open in 2011 Blanka, which has cost Prague CZK 37 billion, was most recently scheduled to go into operation in April.
This winter has been one of the warmest recorded in the Czech Republic, according to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. The average temperature from the start of December to the end of February was 0.7 degrees Celsius, which is 1.9 degrees higher than the average for the period 1971 to 2000. However, last climatological winter was even milder with an average of 1.2 degrees Celsius.
The One World international festival of human rights documentaries got underway in Prague on Monday evening. The annual event opened with Warriors from the North, which explores how a radical Islamic group recruits volunteers in Denmark. The 17th One World will bring over 110 films from five dozen countries to audiences in Prague before moving on in reduced form to 33 other Czech cities and towns.
British director Sean Ellis is set to portray the 1942 assassination of the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich, in Anthropoid, a movie named after the daring operation carried out by Czech and Slovak paratroopers dropped near Prague. The lead roles will be taken by actors Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy. Heydrich died days after the attack, sparking Nazi reprisals that included the destruction of two villages and the killing of thousands of civilians.
Five Czechs have made this year’s list of US dollar billionaires, compiled by the US business magazine Forbes. The richest Czech Petr Kellner, owner of investment group PPF, is reported to be the 160th wealthiest person in the world, with assets valued at 8.4 billion US dollars. It is the tenth time Kellner has been ranked in the Forbes’s rich list. Agrofert owner and finance minister Andrej Babiš is 732nd, followed by Radovan Vítek, Karel Komárek and Pavel Tykač.
A newborn boy was placed in a babybox in Vyškov in Moravia on Monday evening at around six p.m. The founder of the Czech baby box network, Ludvík Hess, said the child’s condition was stable. The baby, who was given the name Dominik, was the fourth child this year to be abandoned in this manner. There are currently a total of 63 baby boxes in the Czech Republic, and in the past nine years, 70 girls and 46 boys were left in them.
American pop singer Madonna is set to perform in the Czech capital in early November. Her appearance in Prague’s O2 Arena is part of her tour promoting her last CD Rebel Heart. Tickets for the concert will be released in mid-March. The popular singer will launch her tour in August in Miami, before moving to Europe, Australia and Asia. Madonna last played in the Czech Republic in 2009.
The first victim of last week’s shooting incident in Eastern Moravia was put to rest on Monday after a funeral attended by family, friends and local inhabitants. The 43-year-old waitress was one of the eight people killed last Tuesday in a random attack in a pub in the town of Uherský Brod. The 64-year-old shooter, who was apparently mentally instable, subsequently turned the gun on himself. The other seven victims, all of them men, will be laid to rest in the coming days.