News of Radio Prague

Medical Chamber threatens strike action

The Czech Medical Chamber has threatened strike action if Parliament approves a proposed amendment to the law which would make membership in the Medical Chamber voluntary. The proposal, tabled in Parliament by the opposition Civic Democratic Party, led to a highly publicized row between the head of the Medical Chamber Davic Rath and the leader of the Civic Democrats Vaclav Klaus. Mr. Rath accused the Civic Democratic Party leader of wanting to dissolve the Medical Chamber and compared him to the first communist president of Czechoslovakia Klement Gottwald, who did just that after the communist takeover in 1948. Mr. Klaus reported that were Mr. Rath close by he would personally slap his face.

Doctors call for an end to the wrangling

Meanwhile, doctors have called for an end to the highly publicized dispute , saying that the issue was being abused in a bout of political warfare between the two strongest parties on the scene, the rival Civic and Social Democrats. The leader of the Social Democrats Vladimir Spidla has said he would vote against the proposed amendment. In a statement for the CTK press agency the association of Private Practitioners distanced itself from the affair and criticized the head of the Czech Medical Chamber David Rath for failing to maintain what it called "political independence".

Spak dressings are safe

The Czech Health Ministry has called off a false alarm regarding the French salad dressing Spak saying that a final round of tests had confirmed that the dressing was perfectly safe. The ministry issued a public warning after the country's Chief Hygiene Officer announced the presence of toxins in Spak's French salad dressings produced on November 11th and 13th of last year. The tests were conducted after two people were taken ill after having consumed a meal which included the named product. A series of repeated tests have now confirmed that the dressing is perfectly safe. Spak says it will not sue despite the fact that the incident damaged its good reputation. An estimated 500 thousand crowns worth of Spak salad dressings were taken off the shelves and the firm says it has monitored a drop in sales. An out-of-court settlement is currently being debated.

No more anonymous bank accounts

An amendment to the law on the Central Bank, which is to come into force on May 1st, bans anonymous bank accounts. The amendment is part of a wider effort to combat money laundering and increase transparency in financial operations. Czech banks currently register over seven million anonymous accounts to the tune of 130 billion Czech crowns. The new law on the Central Bank will also merge the operating budget with the investment budget and slightly re-shuffle the banks priorities. Its chief interest will as of now be price stability rather than the stability of the Czech crown. The Institute for Protection of Private Data has expressed reservations regarding an article of the law pertaining to operations with clients' private data . It says that the orchestrated campaign against money laundering could violate people's right to privacy.

And finally a quick look at the weather forecast :

And things couldn't be better! Wednesday, which is a national holiday in this country, is expected to dawn bright and sunny and we can look forward to unseasonably warm temperatures. Afternoon highs are expected to hit 25 deg C on Wednesday and an unbelievable 27 deg C on Thursday. Nighttime temps between 8 and 12 degs.