The academic senate of the Plzeň law faculty elected former justice
minister Jiří Pospíšil as the new dean of the troubled faculty on
Monday evening. The move helps stave off the threat of emergency management
and closure. Mr. Pospíšil won 11 votes from the 18-strong senate, one
more than needed to be elected.
The Plzeň law faculty is currently the focus of a highly-publicised scandal involving plagiarism, fast-track diplomas, and suspected corruption. A former student at the faculty, Mr. Pospíšil was brought in five weeks ago to try and sort out the shambles. The academic senate faced a choice between Mr. Pospíšil and Prague lawyer Karol Hrádela. Mr. Hrádela argued that an outsider with no connections to the faculty should get the job. Former Jaroslav Zachariáš stepped down during the scandal. Many of those receiving fast-track diplomat have been Czech politicians with prominent Civic Democrat Marek Benda the latest to come to the attention of local media.
October was the worst month for fatal road accidents so far this year, according to preliminary police figures. Ninety-seven people died in road accidents but police warn that the figure could be higher. A year ago the October death toll was 77 but in 2007 it was 96. Up till now, July had the record as the worst month with 81 deaths. So far this year, around 700 people have died on Czech roads but monthly figures have mostly showed a decline compared with a year earlier.
The Czech government backed changes to the current 12-year-old law on charities and foundations on Monday. The changes tabled by Minister for Human Rights and Minorities, Michael Kocáb, allow the non-profit organisations to expand the scope of their activities so that they better cope with the ongoing economic crisis. It also gives them better access to funding which should flow from the beginning of the financial year. The amendment also allows them to wind up their activities with fewer complications. Charities and foundations mushroomed after the collapse of Communism but many disappeared when stricter rules were brought in demanding they had a minimum half million crowns to start up.
The biggest grouping of Czech trades unions has warned that it could lodge its own complaint at the Czech Constitutional Court against the Czech exemption from the Lisbon treaty’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Czech and Moravian Confederation of Trades Unions says the exemption affects a whole raft of labour and social rights and leaves Czechs second class citizens in Europe. Confederation chairman Milan Štěch told Czech Radio on Monday that it is mulling lodging its own complaint at the court.
Deputy prime minister and Minister of Defence Martin Barták has discounted reports from Saturday that former politician Vladimír Dlouhý is being considered as a candidate for the post of Czech EU commissioner. Mr Barták called the report, which featured in Lidové noviny, “speculation” and said Mr Dlouhý’s name had not been discussed. The caretaker government, led by Prime Minister Jan Fischer, wants the political parties to agree on a joint-candidate, something that the two largest parties the Civic and Social Democrats have not been able to do. Mr Barták warned on Sunday that if a consensus was not reached, the government would have to take the matter into its own hands. The prime minister himself warned earlier that the government could opt for a “wild card” nominee.
London football club Chelsea declassed opponents Bolton by a score of 4:0 on Saturday, taking the top spot in the English Premiership standings - two points ahead of Manchester. The game was goalkeeper Petr Čech’s third clean-sheet in as many matches. Earlier in the week Chelsea downed the Bolton Wanderers by the same score in the FA Cup.
The wife of Social Democratic Party leader Jiří Paroubek, Petra Paroubková, gave birth on Sunday to the couple’s first child – a girl. A representative of Prague’s Motol Hospital confirmed that both the mother and child were healthy. He added that the couple will allow a short photo opportunity for journalists when the couple take their baby home in a few days. The baby, named Margarita, is Mr Paroubek’s second child - he also has an adult son from his first marriage.
In an appearance on Czech TV on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Barták made clear the government will soon take a greater and more active role in choosing a firm to complete the country’s south Bohemian nuclear power plant Temelin, with the option of building an additional unit in Dukovany in Moravia. Three firms have officially expressed an interest but Mr Barták said ten bids had been put forward. Bid assessment will last until January 1. The Czech energy giant ČEZ has been reluctant to make public the names of the bidders, saying such a move would jeopardise the process. The three to officially confirm participation are Russia’s Atomstroyeksport - in a consortium with Czech company Škoda JS and Russia’s Gidropress. The other two are Areva of France, and the US firm Westinghouse.
Filmmaker Jan Gogola has won the prize for the best Czech documentary at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. He won for his film “I like a Boring Life”, examining the story of two overlapping personal diaries. The filmmaker teaches at Prague’s film academy, FAMU, and has been active on the Czech film scene for roughly ten years.
An additional patient is in intensive care at the regional hospital in Karlovy Vary, with first tests showing evidence of swine flu. The patient, also suffering from pneumonia, is being aided by an artificial respirator and is reportedly in stable condition. Further tests are expected to confirm the presence of H1N1. The condition of a second patient, a 30-year-old with swine flu who entered hospital care last week, meanwhile, has not shown signs of improvement, the hospital said.
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