News Metrostav ups Blanka tunnel court claims

27-02-2014 14:57 | Chris Johnstone

Building company Metrostav has increased its Blanka tunnel court claims against Prague City Council by around 500 million crowns to 2.7 billion crowns, the company said on Thursday. The additional sum represents claims for unpaid work in November and part of December, the company said. Metrostav halted work on the Prague road tunned in December because the city council had not paid bills and the two sides failed to agree on how work should go forward. In separate news, justice minister Helena Válková has demanded Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman keep an eye on the Blanka tunnel case. The tunnel was originally supposed to open in 2011.

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Health Ministry to scrap planned compulsory e-prescriptions

20-04-2014 09:29 | Jan Richter

The Czech Health Ministry is going to scrap plans to introduce compulsory electronic prescriptions, the news website lidovky.cz reported on Sunday. E-prescriptions, which were to replace paper prescriptions as of next year, were expected to save billions of crowns, diminish paperwork in doctors’ offices as well as prevent abuse. But the ministry says many physicians are not ready for the move, and up to 20 percent of them would have to close their practices. Doctors’ unions have welcomed the decision, and say e-prescription should only be voluntary in the future. 

Survey: Few Czechs follow nutritional values labels

20-04-2014 09:09 | Jan Richter

Over 80 percent of Czechs believe they know how to choose healthy food stuffs but only 17 percent of them follow labels with information about their nutritional values, the news agency ČTK reported on Sunday citing a survey by a healthy food campaign. The survey suggests that some two-thirds of those responsible for food shopping in their homes consider their diet unbalanced due to lack of will, time and money. While most Czechs are aware of some basic healthy diet principles, the poll also found that many of them believe in myths; for example, around 25 percent believe they should not eat after 5 PM. 

Czech women’s tennis team is leading Italy 2:0 in Fed Cup semi-finals

19-04-2014 17:10 updated | Jan Richter

Czech women’s tennis team is leading 2:0 against defending champions Italy in their Fed Cup semi-finals tie in Ostrava after Lucie Šafářová defeated Italy’s number one Sara Errani 6-4 6-1 in the opening singles match on Saturday. In the second Rubber, best Czech player Petra Kvitová beat Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-4 6-2. 

Government to launch firearms amnesty in July

19-04-2014 15:42 | Jan Richter

The Czech government is planning to launch an amnesty for illegally held firearms in July, Czech TV reported on Saturday quoting government legislation. Members of the public will be invited to hand in unregistered firearms and ammunition without facing penalties or legal action; they will also be able to apply for permit so that they can keep the weapons legally. The last gun amnesty was held in 2009 when the police retrieved 7,000 firearms. 

Health insurers launch major cancer screening campaign

19-04-2014 12:32 | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic’s largest health insurance firm, VZP, has invited some 408,000 of its clients for cancer screening, a spokesman for the company said. The insurer is planning to reach all of its 1.2 million clients who should regularly be screened for the disease but fail to turn up. These include women aged between 25 and 70 to be screened for breast and cervical cancer; both men and women aged between 50 and 70 should be tested for colorectal and anal cancer. Other Czech health insurance companies are also taking part in the campaign, in total, they want to send out 1.85 invites by the end of the year; those who choose to ignore the invitation will be approached again next year. 

Hockey: Zlín in 2:0 lead over Brno in league playoffs’ finals

19-04-2014 08:45 | Jan Richter

PSG Zlín defeated Kometa Brno 3-0 at home on Friday, taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven playoffs’ final series. Zlín goals came in the 16th, 40th and 55th minutes; Kometa have so far scored no goals in the final series. The series now moves to Brno where the third game is scheduled for Monday. 

Prague’s metro A line out of operation over Easter

19-04-2014 08:38 | Jan Richter

The A line of Prague metro has been closed for maintenance work for the duration of the Easter holidays. The entire line closed on Friday afternoon, and is set to reopen on Tuesday, April 22nd. Prague’s transport authority advise travellers to use the XA tram line instead, or other tram and bus lines. English-speaking staffers at metro stations are providing information about alternative routes, a spokesman for the transport firm said. 

Arbitration court orders completion of Prague’s Blanka tunnel complex

19-04-2014 08:29 | Jan Richter

A court of arbitration, part of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, has ordered the building firm Metrostav to complete Prague’s Blanka tunnel complex within five months. The court also said the city of Prague had to pay 4.04 billion crowns to the firm. The decision came months after work on the controversial tunnel was halted last December over disputes between the company and Prague City Hall. A Metrostav spokesman said the firm would resume work as soon as it received the payment while Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček said the city would pay the required sum. However, the construction company has in the meantime demanded the city pay another billion crowns; the court of arbitration will deal with the latest petition in June. The Blanka tunnel, designed to channel traffic from the city centre, has been criticized as an overpriced and non-transparent project. Its total costs are expected to reach some 36 billion crowns. 

Ballet dancer wins Czech Mr Gay pageant

19-04-2014 08:19 | Jan Richter

Michal Klepetek, a ballet dancer of the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, has won the Czech Mr Gay pagent. The 28-year-old dancer defeated another six finalists in the competition’s final held in a Prague theatre on Friday night. The contestants competed in several rounds including a swimsuit catwalk, question responses, and a free discipline. The organizers raised 35,000 crowns that was donated to a cancer-research endowment fund. 

Police chief suspected of drink-driving

18-04-2014 17:06 | Daniela Lazarová

The police chief of Uherské Hradiště, Bronislav Šabršula, is being investigated on suspicion of drink-driving, Czech Television reported on Friday. The police was alerted to the incident by another driver who reported that a vehicle ahead of him was manoeuvring dangerously on the road and its driver could be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police found the respective vehicle parked on the roadside with the police chief fast asleep behind the steering wheel. He refused a Breathalyzer and blood test and insisted that he had not driven the car but had merely moved to the driver’s seat after having had a row with the driver who had left him in the lurch. The car’s side mirror had been smashed. 

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