New Education Minister Petr Fiala will be appointed to his post by President Václav Klaus on Wednesday, a spokesman for the president said. PM Nečas nominated Petr Fiala, a former rector of Brno’s Masaryk University, a month after his predecessor stepped down over problems with securing EU funds. Mr Fiala, who is also an advisor to the prime minister, said he could not promise miracle but would try to stabilize the education sector. The opposition has welcomed Mr Fiala’s nomination but said the new minister will have to tackle severe problems facing the education system.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, has promised his party will “not miss any opportunity” to instigate early general elections. Speaking at a May 1 rally in Vyškov, southern Moravia, Mr Sobotka said the government survived its latest crisis against the wishes of most Czechs, and suggested the regional and Senate elections in the autumn will be a “referendum” on the centre-right government.
The National Museum has decided not to explore the contents of two wooden chests, donated to the museum over a hundred years ago by Czech scientist Bohuslav Jiruš who died in 1901, the museum said on its website on Tuesday.. In his testament, the botanist and pharmacologist said the chests should be opened 200 years after his death. The museum held an online poll to decide whether or not to open the chests; more than 3,000 people took part, 53 percent of which voted against the opening of the boxes.
Some 2,000 people on Tuesday came to a rally organized by the Communist party at Prague’s exhibition grounds marking the International Workers’ Day. Communist leaders addressed the crowd, calling for an end of the government’s reforms; the rally was also attended by one of the party’s pre-1990 leaders, former general secretary, Milouš Jakeš.
Monday’s “Burning of the Witches”, or Walpurgis Night festivals caused 178 fires across the country, a spokeswoman for the Czech fire brigades said. The fires caused damages worth around 6.2 million crowns. A homeless man died in Mělník, in northern Bohemia, on Monday after his shack caught fire but the accident was not linked to the festivities.
Five people including three police officers were injured in clashes between far-right and far-left extremists in Prague on Tuesday. One man was arrested after attacking the police, a spokesman for the force said. The conflict occurred when marches staged by both groups to commemorate the International Workers’ Day passed each other under heavy police supervision; however, the activists threw bottles, stones and other objects at each other. One of the injured officers was taken hospital; the other people only suffered light injuries.
Several temperature records for May 1 were broken across the Czech Republic on Tuesday. A weather station in Tábor, southern Bohemia, registered a temperature of 28.4 degrees Celsius, the highest in 66 years while in the east Bohemia city of Hradec Králové, meteorologists registered 30..6 degrees Celius, the highest temperature since 30.5 degrees Celsius, the highest since 1934.
There is no future in the idea of a unified Europe say most Czechs, according to a poll conducted in April by the CVVM agency. That position was held by 52% of respondents, while only a third said the opposite. Many were also opposed to the idea of strengthening the integration of European states, with 40% saying they would keep it at its current level and 23% saying they would like less integration. Confidence in the European Union and its institutions was suggested to be at 40%, the lowest point since 2003.
New legislation will allow more people to receive compensation for property lost in Carpathian Ruthenia after WWII. The law will take effect on May 1 and allows the descendants of Czech citizens to file requests until the end of 2013. The previous legislation eliminated between 200 and 600 applicants who were forced off their land between November 5, 1938, and March 18, 1939. Legitimate applicants will be due ten times the value of the property assessed in the late 1940s and 50s, up to two million crowns. Once the easternmost tip of Czechoslovakia and today part of Ukraine, Carpathian Ruthenia was occupied by Hungary in 1938 and annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of WWII.
Three new bells atop St Vitus Cathedral in Prague Castle will be consecrated on Monday. The bells, bearing the names Jesus, Virgin Mary and St Dominic, will be blessed by Cardinal Dominik Duka before being hoisted to the tower later this week. Of the original set of seven bells, three were removed and melted down during the First and Second World Wars. The entire set will be rung for the first time on May 12. St Vitus Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Prague and the resting place of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors.
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