MLADA FRONTA DNES reports today that the race to gain entry into the European Union has evened out. Slovakia has completed its nineteenth chapter of EU legislation and has caught up with the Czech Republic in membership requirements. Slovakia is now ahead of Poland, which has completed just sixteen chapters. The completion of Slovakia´s nineteenth chapter places it amongst the frontrunner candidates for EU membership.
PRAVO reports on the the surprise resignation of the security director of the Civilian Intelligence Agency, Martin Hejl, on Wednesday night. The military counterpart to the Intelligence Agency alleges that Hejl compromised national security by revealing and manipulating confidential documents. Hejl says that the allegations against him are completely unfounded and claims that his critics are not capable of distinguishing fantasy from reality.
LIDOVE NOVINY features an article today on new property legislation passed in the Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday that would require all Czechs owning property valued at more than 10 million Czech crowns to make an annual declaration . If it makes it through the Senate, the government claims the bill would enable the accurate taxation and registering of property. The center-right parties oppose the bill , which was pushed through the Lower House by the Social Democrats and the Communists. Civic Democrat leader Vaclav Klaus describes the bill as a typical example of Czech envy of the success of others and describes it as illogical.
According to HOSPODARSKE NOVINY, state regulations for tobacco advertising are going to become more strict. The Social Democrat government has announced its proposal to curb tobacco and alcohol advertising within 300 meters of schools, playgrounds, and prohibit advertising on large billboards. A spokesman for Philip Morris in the Czech Republic told the paper that these restrictions on advertising would not seriously impede the company´s profits.
Back to LIDOVE NOVINY and the paper reports that burglaries in the Czech Republic are becoming more violent. The summer season is notorious for burglaries, and crime experts estimate that 25 percent of homes in Prague alone are broken into while their owners are on vacation. According to police reports, recent trends demonstrate that there has been an increase in violence and property damage associated with burglaries. The police believe the rise in violence is a result of an increase in the number of amateur criminals operating in the country.
MLADA FRONTA DNES reports that patients´ medical records are no longer to be kept secret. But critics of new legislation guaranteeing patients the right to find out about their state of health are concerned, however, that too many people will have access to such information, which they say should be kept confidential. Many doctors are afraid that patient privacy will be seriously compromised. With the new legislation, any person, including medical students and researchers, interested in finding out about the medical records of others, will be granted access to medical files after providing proper identification and a written request.