The lower house of Parliament has decided to postpone the introduction of
a state school-leaving exam. Under current law, each secondary school
writes its own school-leaving test, known in the Czech Republic as the
"maturita". This has come under much criticism as some tests are
harder than others and some universities consider the test results as part
of their entrance exams.
A new unified state exam was to be introduced in the 2007/2008 school year but deputies agreed to postpone this date as preparations have been slow. If the deputies' decision is approved by the Senate and signed by the President, the state "maturita" will not be introduced for another two years.
The lower house of Parliament has approved an amendment to the road communication law reducing selected penalties for motorists. Under the amendment, among other things, motorists and cyclists who are injured in an accident caused by themselves would no longer be faced with a fine. The amendment has yet to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President.
Agriculture minister Petr Gandalovic has prepared a special bill that ascertains whether former members of farmers' cooperatives have actually got their former property back under the de-nationalisation process which followed the fall of communism. Hospodarske Noviny reports that the private companies from which the cooperatives were formed would be held responsible for any failed returns. Mr Gandalovic tells the paper that tens of thousands of people who had rights to property in the privatisation process have issued complaints. The property in question is worth billions of crowns, he adds. The agriculture minister plans to put his bill forward at a government session in the near future.
A new opinion poll suggests that the ruling coalition, which is currently
struggling with a weak 100 of the 200 seats in the lower house of
Parliament, would gain four more seats if elections were held tomorrow. In
the poll, conducted by the STEM agency this month, the Civic Democrats
would win 74 seats, the Greens 21 seats, and the Christian Democrats nine
The opposition Social Democrats would be allocated 67 seats and the Communists 29. The poll indicates that the Civic Democrats' popularity is on a slight rise, while that of the opposition Social Democrats is on a slight decline - widening the popularity gap between the two largest parties from one to two percent.
The CSOB bank has filed a complaint against the Czech Republic at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris. The bank is suing the Czech state for 1.7 billion crowns (close to 80 million USD), the paper Mlada fronta Dnes writes. According to CSOB, the state owes it that much in transactions that were made in connection with the bank's takeover of another bank - IPB - seven years ago. Neither CSOB nor the Finance Ministry have made further comments to the lawsuit.
A total of 346 homosexual couples, 126 in Prague, have entered into
registered partnerships since a Czech law made them legal last year. The
youngest registered couple is 18 years old; the oldest over the age of 80.
In the one year that the law on same-sex registered partnerships has been
in effect, three couples have already annulled their "marriage"
and three more are waiting for their "divorce" to come through.
The law on registered partnerships allows gays and lesbians to enquire about their partner's state of health, inherit their partner's property, and refuse to testify against their partner in a court of law. They are allowed to raise children but not adopt them.
Deputies, on Tuesday, rejected a Senate proposal that significantly limits the parliamentary immunity of legislators. Under the proposal, deputies and senators would only enjoy parliamentary immunity when they make speeches and vote in parliament. The lower house returned the proposal in its first reading, saying it is too radical and needs to be reappraised.
A Brno police investigator who last week was charged with distributing child pornography has now been charged with the production and possession of drugs. Home-made opium was found during a search of the 41-year-old officer's home, said a spokesperson for the Brno police. A waitress at an internet café alerted the police after the investigator left a USB stick containing pornographic images of children in one of its computers. The Interior Ministry is now investigating the officer, who was on the force for ten years.
A Prague court on Monday sentenced an Israeli citizen to five years in prison for a grenade attack in the centre of the city three years ago. Yakov Moshajlov is expected to be transferred to a prison in Israel; that was a condition of his extradition to the Czech Republic. Moshajlov, who was born in Russia, threw a grenade under the jeep of the owner of a casino on Na Prikope Street in the middle of the day. Seventeen people sustained minor injuries in the attack, most of them foreign tourists.