News Police: Foreigner found in Norway with memory loss likely to be Czech
A foreign man found in Norway suffering from memory loss and speaking five languages including Czech is very probably a 36-year-old Czech citizen. The Czech police said on their website that a number of members of the man’s family had recognised him. On Tuesday the police in Norway appealed for information as to the identity of the man, who was found in a snowdrift in Oslo in mid-December. There were indications that his hands had been bound for some time and he told the news agency AFP that he been robbed and sexually assaulted.
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The Social Democrats have said in the debate on the draft state budget for next year they will be emphasising as priorities increases in funds for national security, social services, and education. The statement was made on Friday by the party’s leader Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec will alone be seeking an additional three billion crowns to increase police numbers and to improve not only cyber-security but also anti-terrorism measures.
Austrian club Admira drew first blood against Slovan Liberec on Thursday
evening in their third round qualifying match for the Europa League but the
Czech club got two goals from Vuch to win 2-1. The second leg against
Admira will be on August 3.
In other qualifying matches, Macedonia’s Shkëndija defeated Mladá Boleslav 2-0, while Slavia Prague drew with Portuguese club Rio Ave.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has opened negotiations with fellow members
of the Cabinet on the state budget for 2017, meeting with the justice,
environment and culture ministers. The draft budget is counting on a
deficit of 60 billion crowns next year. The bill includes pay rise for
teachers, nurses and doctors, higher pensions and higher health insurance
payments that the state pays on behalf of children, pensioners and the
Justice Minister Robert Pelikán told journalists after talks with Mr
Babiš that his ministry would get additional 650 million crowns that would
be used for increased salaries of court personnel and the hiring of new
staff in the judicial sector and the Prison Service. Pelikán originally
wanted two billion crowns more in the budget.
The government must approve the budget bill and send it to the lower house of parliament by the end of September.
A strike by cabin crew at Air France continues to disrupt traffic. Two flights between Prague and Paris were cancelled on Friday morning. The afternoon and evening flights remain on schedule for the time being. The strike, over a new contract for flight attendants, is expected to last all week.
The inhabitants of Prague are signing a petition against plans to build a 60-metre wheel on the bank of the Vltava River. The Prague 5 district authority has already approved the project and signed a contract with an investor, but the plans have met with opposition from conservationists, members of the public and Prague Mayor Adriana Krnáčová. Since Prague is on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list the wheel cannot be built without approval from conservationists. Over 600 people have signed the petition against the wheel so far.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said his government was planning to raise doctors and nurses salaries by 10 percent for three successive years in order to stabilize the sector and put an end to the ongoing brain drain. The head of government made the announcement during a visit to a hospital in the town of Znojmo. He said the pay hike for next year had already been settled and the government would seek to secure in money in 2018 and 2019 as well, if it won another term in office.
The Prague-based European Values think tank has likened President Miloš Zeman to a Russian Trojan horse in an information war. The comparison was made by the think tank’s Jakub Janda within the presentation of a study on Czech websites that serve disinformation purposes. "In the Czech space, Miloš Zeman plays the role of a Russian Trojan horse, systematically embracing and repeating Kremlin’s position on various issues," Jakub Janda, one of the authors of the study, said. The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček dismissed the allegations as nonsensical saying they were part of an ongoing campaign against the head of state. He further questioned the independence and financing of the European Values think tank.
The government has approved an additional 270 million crowns in 2016 to help tide over the country’s social services. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksova made the announcement following Thursday’s cabinet session. Regional governments have clamoured for extra funds saying that social services in the regions are severely underfinanced and some are in dire need of help. The money should help predominantly organizations working with the elderly and disabled. In 2016 the country’s social services received 8.5 billion crowns, whereas they would have needed 12.3 billion to cover their needs. The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry helped them out earlier with an additional 350 million from its own budget.
An opinion survey in which Czechs were asked to evaluate world leaders indicates that Czechs have the biggest respect for Pope Francis, who received a positive evaluation from two thirds of respondents. More than half of respondents also gave a positive evaluation to US President Barack Obama. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico is likewise seen in a positive light. Two world leaders who are viewed negatively are Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose initial popularity with Czechs slumped in the wake of the migrant crisis.
National anti-drugs coordinator Jindřich Vobořil has warned of a rise in online gambling among the young. In his 2015 report on gambling addictions, Mr. Vobořil said online gambling had become a new phenomenon in the gambling industry. He said there was a dramatic increase in online gamblers among the young with 30 percent of people under 17 saying they had tried it. Earlier this year Parliament approved a law aimed at restricting online gambling which should come into force next year. The national anti-drugs coordinator said a restrictive policy must go hand in hand with prevention and treatment.