The opera ensemble of Prague’s National Theatre is preparing for the highlight of the season –the premiere of Leoš Janáček’s Kata Kabanová directed by the avant-garde American stage director Robert Wilson. The management of the national theatre said it was impressed with Wilson’s work with colour and light and hoped that his contribution would bring a new dimension to this Czech classic.
A nationwide search is on for a 12-year-old boy form the town of Olomouc who has gone missing for over 24 hours. The boy is reported to have gone out to ride his bike and has not been seen since. The news has raised public concern especially in connection with an earlier case this week in which an 11-year-old girl was kidnapped and taken to a forest where she was tied and strapped to a tree. The girl managed to free herself and was found wondering in the woods by soldiers who were taking part in a training exercise. Police are still searching for the culprit.
The emerging coalition’s plan to increase salaries for new teachers in order to get more young people to take up the profession has not been well received in schools. Headmasters point out that all teachers are severely underpaid and giving new teachers a higher starting salary than that paid to people with 18 or more years of experience will create bad blood. A teacher’s starting salary is now approximately 13,000 crowns a month, that of a teacher with 30 years’ experience is approximately 23,000.
A man driving a stolen car was chased by police from Prague’s Letná Plain to Holešovice district at midday Friday, putting drivers and pedestrians at risk and smashing three cars before he was apprehended. The police eventually forced him into a blind alley and ended the wild chase. The man and a fellow passenger are now being questioned by police. Luckily no one was hurt in the incident.
Saxony traffic police were out in force in the border areas with Poland and the Czech Republic on Friday, conducting road checks in connection with organized car theft. Local authorities say that car theft has increased since the opening of borders and some politicians are calling for the re-introduction of border checkpoints. Czech politicians have criticized the policy of targeting Czech drivers as harassment but Saxony Interior Minister Markus Ulbig says that 180 suspect cases since the beginning of the year speak for themselves. Car theft in Saxony is reported to have increased by 32 percent in the course of last year.
The three parties negotiating a coalition government on Friday reached agreement on a number of anti-corruption measures. Among them are giving incentives to informers, establishing a system under which lobbying would be more transparent and making decisions about tenders public, whereby individual board or cabinet members would be bound by law to reveal who they voted for. The talks on a common anti-corruption policy will continue on Monday. The three parties have already agreed on direct presidential elections and restricting the immunity of deputies and senators. On Friday they also agreed on the prerequisite for holding a local referendum: a petition signed by 250,000 people.
A thirty-three-year old man from west Bohemia has been sentenced to seven and a half years in jail for molesting and sexually abusing three schoolgirls between the age of 11 and 13. One of the girls was raped, the other two were sexually abused. The man knew all the girls well having intentionally approached and made friends with their parents. When he left the courthouse the man was wearing a mask for fear that the girls relatives would want to take their revenge.
The head of the Social Democrats PR department Petr Dimun has resigned, following criticism of his work in the wake of the party’s election debacle. Mr. Dimun’s resignation follows that of Jaroslav Tvrdý, the party’s election manager. Although the party won the highest number of votes in May’s general elections it did not do as well as it had hoped and was sidelined from the post-election negotiations by the lack of a potential coalition partner.
The Health Ministry has produced an action plan to fight poor nutrition in hospitals and old age homes. Medical surveys indicate that this is a serious problem in the Czech Republic – 40 percent of hospital patients were found to be underfed and 60 percent of people in old age homes were severely undernourished, some on the brink of starvation. The main reason is neglect from staff who serve up food and ignore the fact that an elderly patient is unable to feed themselves. The plan envisages diet nurses who would monitor patients nutrition and make sure they are adequately fed. The problem is also related to the quality of food in Czech hospitals which is frequently not up to standard.
President Václav Klaus on Friday accepted the formal resignation of Prime Minister Jan Fischer’s caretaker government and asked the cabinet to remain in office until a new administration is in place. Three parties – the Civic Democrats, TOP09 and Public Affairs – are in talks to form a centre-right coalition and are expected to wrap up negotiations in mid-July. Prime Minister Fischer’s caretaker government has been in office since May 2009 after a previous right-of-centre government was toppled in a no-confidence vote.
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