Ex-Health Minister Tomáš Julínek is returning to the sector after a lengthy break, having now been tasked by the conservative think tank eStat.cz to lead a team of experts that will study ways to introduce nominal insurance fees (premiums) in the Czech health care system. Edvard Kožušník, who heads eStat.cz, has confirmed Julínek is cooperating with the NGO but declined to provide any details.
The Veterinary Faculty at the Brno University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences (VFU) is undergoing widespread changes in hopes of getting a positive evaluation in 2014 that would lead to international accreditation. The prestigious institution plans to focus more on research and is establishing four new institutes — including one for large animals such as tigers and bears. An emphasis on “day one” skills will mean graduates should also be ready to practice right after leaving school.
The parts of the long-planned pension reform have been revealed so far give rise to many questions and ambiguities that the government hasn’t been able to give satisfactory answers to. There are 10 points in particular that need closer examination. What is clear, though, is that the reforms aren’t courageous enough and don’t provide a diverse group of people with enough options or guidance, writes former deputy finance minister Tomáš Prouza.
By giving a baby milk or formula in a bottle containing Bisphenol A, you risk condemning your child to reduced fertility, diabetes and various forms of cancer. As of March 1, the manufacture of dangerous polycarbonate baby bottles will be forbidden in the European Union. The Czech government, however, has failed to observe the relevant EU directive and is dragging its feet in issuing a ban.
Czech author Arnošt Lustig, a survivor of the Holocaust, which was a major theme of his work, has died at the age of 84. He had been fighting a malignant cancer for the past five years, a publishing house representative told the Czech news agency ČTK. Lustig had been interned at the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz and Buchenwald as a teenager. He wrote more than 50 books during his career.
Libor Vrba, the director of the Financial Crime and Corruption Division (ÚOKFK) of the Czech Police, resigned Feb. 23 and will leave his post March 15, according to media reports. Minister of Interior Radek John (Public Affairs, VV) has already dismissed several important figures appointed by his predecessor, Ivan Langer. Vrba was also a Langer appointee, and speculation that he would also lose his job began several months ago.
The Czech Republic and Europe as a whole saw the amount of land used to grow genetically modified (GM) crops drop in 2010, according to a Feb. 22 report by the ISAAA. This ran counter to a global trend that saw increased land use. Opponents of GM crops such as Greenpeace saw the drop as good news, while the ISAAA sees Europe as a hard-to-predict area where politics stands in the way of expansion.
Pension reform could have been a bigger catastrophe, but we could also breathe a similar sigh of relief when a tram only runs over one of our legs. The change that the center-right government led by Prime Minister Petr Nečas wants to push through will be a voluntary trap — you can walk into it of your own accord, but you won’t be able to voluntarily walk back out, writes Social Democrats (ČSSD) shadow minister Jan Mládek.
The Czech Republic is preparing to spend Kč 60 million to help small cinemas convert from traditional 35mm film to digital projection. Small exhibitors are pleased since the support helps them compete with multiplexes, but some distributors take a dissenting view, saying that digitization is turning the market into a monoculture of Hollywood film.
There is no ideal fix for the Czech pension system. While each solution has its pros and cons, ranging in impact depending on the stage of a society’s economic and demographic development, the model that requires people to speculate in pension funds — as is used in Hungary — is failing, writes Markéta Šichtařová, chief economist at the financial advisory Next Finance.