Czech morning news in brief: top stories for March 11, 2021

Prague farmers markets call for reopening, Zeman demands health minister's dismissal over Sputnik vaccine, bill to compensate Roma women has early support. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 11.03.2021 09:47:00 (updated on 11.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

POLITICS: Czech president Zeman calls for health minister's dismissal over Sputnik vaccine

Czech President Miloš Zeman has called on Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to dismiss Health Minister Jan Blatný and State Drugs Control Institute head Irena Storova due to their stance on the Russian Sputnik V anti-COVID vaccine. Zeman told the Parlamentni listy server in an interview Wednesday that by refusing the vaccine Blatný and Storova bear responsibility for Czech COVID deaths. Blatný refuses to resign his post insisting that Sputnik V be approved by the European Medicines Agency before its use in the Czech Republic. In the interview, Zeman called Blatný and Storova the main obstacles to vaccine supplies. Storova tweeted in reaction to Zeman's criticism: "My mission and the mission of my colleagues is to protect public health. We are doing this every day and will keep doing so. Our task is to secure only safe, high-quality, and efficient medical products including vaccines against COVID-19."

PRAGUE: Farmers markets in the Czech capital call for reopening

In an open letter to the government, Jiří Sedláček, chairman of the Association of Farmers' Markets of the Czech Republic, which organizes the market at Náplavka, as well as other Prague markets said markets operators have been discriminated against since the beginning of the restrictions. He argued for their reopening writing that "While all food retailers...are open without restrictions, farmers' markets have had to close several times." The operators argue that in Vienna and Berlin outdoor markets have remained operational almost throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic while Prague sellers are prohibited from opening their stalls.

HUMAN RIGHTS: Czech MPs support bill to compensate illegally sterilized women

A bill to compensate women unlawfully sterilized women gained support during its first reading by members of the Czech lower house Wednesday reports It will now move into committee. MPs from the governing ANO and Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) parties had submitted the bill along with opposition members from the Christian Democrats (KDU-ČSL) and TOP 09. Czech Government Human Rights Commissioner Helena Válková, who is also an MP for ANO, asked that the bill be given a preferential reading today. The bill has also been supported by Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights, Monika Šimůnková, who previously called on MPs to adopt it. State policy in Czechoslovakia fully regulated the practice in 1971 when a directive on the performance of such sterilizations was adopted. Romani women and others were systematically sterilized without consent as a way of controlling their birth rate.

SPORT: Slavia Prague to face British opposition in UEFA Europa League

Slavia Prague will face British opposition in the UEFA Europa League this evening in the form of Rangers. The Scottish side, who secured the Premiership title on Sunday will play at the Eden Arena this evening in the first-leg of their fixture, both sides are on long domestic unbeaten runs with Slavia 34 league games without defeat and Rangers on 33. Slavia beat English side Leicester City to move into the last-16 of the tournament last month and will be hoping to move into the quarter-finals of the tournament by beating Rangers, who are managed by former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. At the press conference ahead of the match Jindřich Trpišovský, Slavia manager said, "I admire football on the British Isles, and I wanted to be drawn against a Scottish club as we haven’t played against them yet. One of the reasons, unfortunately, was the atmosphere in their stadiums. I am looking forward to Ibrox [the Rangers stadium], it’s another magical place of European football.” The second leg of the fixture will be played next week.

WEATHER: Extreme winds to hit the Czech Republic this week

From Thursday to the end of the week, meteorologists expect mostly cloudy to overcast weather, as well as possible rain showers and extremely strong winds. By the end of the week, meteorologists expect a southwest wind with gusts of up to 70 kilometers per hour. On Friday, some locations could see over 900 meters of snow. They expect the lowest night temperatures to fall to one degree Celsius, while the highest daytime temperatures are expected to reach 10 degrees Celsius while possibly climbing to 12 degrees Celsius by Saturday. Sunday will see falling temps and snowfall once again in the lowlands of the Czech Republic. A strong wind warning will remain in effect.

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