In the News 17.8.09

In the News 17.8.09

HAVEL GOES GREEN. He will not be seen much but he will be there. Czech former president Václav Havel will support the Green party in the upcoming October early elections, according to the Greens leader Ondřej Liška.



Havel is adamant that the Greens’ presence in the Chamber of Deputies is in the interest of the Czech public. But Havel will not appear in billboards or TV spots calling on Czech voters to vote for the Greens. That is just simply not his style.

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ILLEGAL COLLECTION OF INFORMATION. It was one of the biggest projects in the Czech health care sector: The State Institute for Drug Control (SÚKL) was to collect information about all Czech patients and put it on the internet.

The data was collected in pharmacies when patients picked up prescriptions. A huge database of all medicines that patients have ever swallowed started to emerge. It was possible to find out who suffers from what disease and what medicines doctors prescribed them.

The project has cost roughly CZK 170 million to date. The institute was to pay a further CZK 90 million a year for operating the database.

Now, after eight months of work, the institute must halt work on the project and immediately destroy the data it has collected.

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Collecting the information turns out to have been illegal, Aktuálně.cz learnt from a report on the central electronic prescriptions register issued by the Office for Personal Data Protection.

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ELECTION STALEMATE ON HORIZON? Another threat for Czech economy has emerged on the horizon. Economists say the October elections and a potential election stalemate are among the main risks.

Politicians’ inability to form a government could scare foreign investors into selling their Czech crowns.

A subsequent fall in the crown’s value could lead to an increase in interest rates for state bonds which, in the worst-case scenario, lead the state into a debt trap.

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TRACKING DOWN THE ARSONISTS.  Police in north Moravia arrested 12 people – nine men and three women in connection with the brutal arson attack.

The costs of treatment of little Natálka, the two-year old girl that has been suffering from grave burn injuries reach up CZK 5 million.

Natálka has undergone six major surgeries, including being taken off life support for a short moment. She is under the permanent care of doctors from the anesthesiology and resuscitation unit of the Ostrava teaching hospital.

Doctors treat the girl’s skin with special Integra burn treatment. Integra was first used worldwide in 2000, and doctors in Ostrava began using the method in 2003. Natálka has been woken up from an induced sleep two keks ago and has made her first contact with her parents.

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It will take months before she recovers completely.

“Those responsible for the brutal (arson) attack should pay the health insurance for all the costs,” said the head of the hospital Svatopluk Němeček.

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The six-month fall in home prices is over. Data from some real estate agencies and property portals show that prices of flats and houses are slowly starting to grow again. All of them agree that waiting for yet a better price is pointless.

“For a few months now we have been registering a slow increase in flat prices in Brno, and Prague has joined it in the past two months. These cities generally serve as indicators of future development. We expect prices will gradually start rising in other regions, too,” said Michal Pich of EuroNet Media, which runs the real estate portals realitycechy.cz and realitymorava.cz.

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INCREDIBLE STORY. The story of an unknown photographer is more incredible than that of any fiction.

The author of unique photographs from World War One has been unknown until about four months ago. The Prague Castle Administration has been contacted by a grandson of the mysterious man who took the extraordinary pictures.

He was an Austro-Hungarian army officer and his name was Jindřich Bišický (1889-1949).

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The exhibition Walking Through World War I, which 15,000 people have seen since April, could theoretically change its subtitle, Photographs by an Unknown Soldier. Due to high demand and discovery of the author, Prague Castle has extended the exhibition until the end of September. Negotiations on organising the exhibition in Austria are being held.
Police charged Friday four people with the arson attack in Vítkov, which severely injured a Roma family in April this year.

“It is a historic moment in the fight against extremism,” police spokesperson Dalimil Sypták told journalists Friday morning. Sypták added no more details can be revealed due to the ongoing investigation.


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