News Government approves compensation for scrapped hospital fees

24-03-2014 13:01 | Daniela Lazarová

The government has approved a proposal for hospitals to get 2.1 billion crowns in 2014 as compensation for scrapped hospital fees which went to cover food and accommodation services provided to patients. In 2015 hospitals would get 4.2 billion crowns for this purpose. The money would come from a higher state contribution to health insurance for children, pensioners and the unemployed. The proposal still needs to win approval in Parliament and be signed into law by the president. Hospital fees were scrapped as of the start of this year by a ruling of the Constitutional Court which upheld a complaint that they were unconstitutional in view of the fact that patients are already paying health insurance.

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No details being disclosed regarding young women’s release from captivity

28-03-2015 13:31 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech authorities have not disclosed any details with respect to the negotiations leading up to the release of the two Czech women who were kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 or said where they were kept in detention. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said that the ministry did not want to reveal further details at this point. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec indicated that the Czech Republic had not paid a ransom to bring them back. The Czech Republic does not negotiate with terrorists or pay ransom money, he told Czech Television.

President Miloš Zeman’s spokesperson said the president was extremely happy to hear that the two young women had been freed and expressed his gratitude to the IHH NGO for negotiating their release. 

One injured in freight train collision

28-03-2015 11:34 | Daniela Lazarová

Two freight trains collided head-on near the town of Litomerice on Saturday morning. One of the engine drivers was badly injured in the accident. It is not yet clear how the trains came to be on the same track. An inspection team is at the site of the accident and the rail track will be closed at least until the end of the day. The preliminary damage estimate is around 100 million crowns. 

Prague hosting annual Prague Half Marathon

28-03-2015 11:27 | Daniela Lazarová

Over 12,000 participants will be taking part in the traditional Prague Half Marathon run on Saturday. The Prague Half Marathon holds IAAF Gold Label Road Race status and is managed by the same organization that holds the Prague Marathon in May. The marathon starts at midday and should end around 3pm. The 21 km run has a looped course in the northern part of the city starting and ending on Jan Palach Square near the Rudolfinum. Drivers have been warned to expect traffic restrictions. 

Two Czech women kidnapped in Pakistan in 2013 have been released

28-03-2015 10:19 | Daniela Lazarová

Two Czech women who were kidnapped in Pakistan two years ago have been released, Czech Television reported early on Saturday citing Turkish media sources. The IHH Turkish charity reportedly participated in negotiations to secure their release and the two young women returned home via Turkey late on Friday night. The news of their safe return has since been confirmed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who thanked the IHH for helping to secure their release and asked the media to respect their and their families’ privacy in order to enable them to return to a normal life as soon as possible. The Turkish media published a photo of the young women on which they both appear to be unharmed. 

Czech Airlines says it has regulation of two crew members in the cockpit at all times

27-03-2015 19:08 | Daniela Lazarová

In connection with the tragic Germanwings plane crash, the Czech national carrier Czech Airlines has said it has an internal regulation according to which there must be two crew members in the cockpit at all times during a flight. If one of the pilots needs a few minutes break they must wait to be replaced by one of the cabin assistants before leaving, a spokesman for Czech Airlines told the news site novinky.cz. The regulation has been in force for the last ten years. The airline Travel Service has confirmed a similar policy. 

Defense minister: all in readiness for US convoy

27-03-2015 17:59 | Daniela Lazarová

Defense Minister Martin Stropnický said all was in readiness for the 120 vehicle strong US military convoy, which is expected to pass through Czech territory at the end of this week. Speaking at a press briefing in Prague on Friday the minister said the smallest details had been taken care of to ensure a smooth transfer, and all was in readiness both at the military barracks where the soldiers will be staying the night as well as along the given route. Traffic police are prepared for the event and we have all the necessary licenses, the minister noted. The cost of the operation –estimated at 175,000 crowns will be covered by the US army.

The convoy, returning from a NATO exercise called Operation Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic states, is travelling through six countries on its way to a military base in Germany. It will arrive in the Czech Republic on Sunday and spend four days on Czech territory. 

Labour ministry wants early retirement for more miners

27-03-2015 16:28 | Daniela Lazarová

The Labour Ministry is working on a proposed legislation which should enable up to 4,000 miners to go into early retirement – by up to five years earlier than the present pension law allows. The present criteria for early retirement allow miners who have worked below ground since 1993 and who undertook 3,300 work shifts by 2008 to ask for retirement 5 years earlier. Labour Minister Michaela Marksova said on Friday she wanted to all miners who have undertaken the said number of work shifts without specification by what date to have the same advantage. The measure is being undertaken to ease the social impact of the planned mine closures. 

Lodging house owner fined for running old people’s home in atrocious conditions

27-03-2015 14:46 | Daniela Lazarová

The owner of a lodging facility in Přerov, which illegally served as an old peoples home has received a half a million crown fine, the ctk news agency reports. The case came to light when Czech Senator Jitka Seitlová publicized the fact that there were several dozen helpless, old people living in the house in atrocious conditions. After the case made national headlines the people were quickly removed, with some ending up in emergency wards holding their documents with no idea of where they were or what had happened to them. By failing to register his lodging house as a social and health facility the owner by-passed strict health norms and avoided regular inspections to check up on the wellbeing of the home’s inhabitants. 

Police find internationally banned anti-personnel land mines at Vrbětice depot

27-03-2015 13:50 | Daniela Lazarová

The police have confirmed finding internationally banned anti-personnel land mines in storage at the Vrbětice munitions depot, which was seriously damages in a series of blasts last year, Czech Television reported. The anti-personnel landmines have been banned since 1997 by the Ottawa Convention. Five people have been charged with violating the law on arms licensing and holding illegal weapons. They are employees of Excalibur Army and Real Trade, two weapons trading companies which stored ammunition at the munitions depot in Vrbětice. 

Air Bank posts 313 million crown profit

27-03-2015 12:26 | Daniela Lazarová

Air bank which was established in 2011 has consolidated its position on the Czech banking scene, posting a 313 million crown profit in 2014, the ctk news agency reports. The preceding year the bank suffered 80 million crown losses. The main reason behind the turnaround is a 49 percent increase in clients in 2014 to 318,000. Originally the bank did not expect to show a profit until 2015. 

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