State school-leaving exams began for around 100,000 Czech secondary school students on Thursday, May2. The exams start with written tests in the Czech language and either math or English. Oral exams will take place in mid-May. Some 60 percent of students allegedly opted for English, the rest choosing math. The school-leaving exams this year only have one level of difficulty, a change from last year when students could choose between an easier and a more difficult version of the exam.
Czech war pilot Colonel Milan Malý, one of the last surviving Czechs who fought in the British Royal Air Force during World War Two, died at the age of 89 on Wednesday, the CTK news agency reports. After the war Colonel Malý served in the Czechoslovak military, but he was dismissed after the 1948 communist coup and was forced to seek manual jobs. He was rehabilitated after the fall of the communism in 1989. Colonel Malý was awarded three Czechoslovak and three British medals for bravery.
The cabinet has once again rejected a proposal to maintain the controversial S-Card system for social and welfare benefit payments which came into force in January. The scheme to streamline social and welfare benefit payments to newly-established bank accounts run by Česká Spořitelna has come under fire from all sides and Prime Minister Petr Nečas recently advised the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry to scrap the project. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Ludmilla Mullerová, who had repeatedly tried to win approval to keep the S-cards as a form of identification for welfare recipients, said she would comply with the cabinet’s decision.
A search is on for two men and a six-year-old girl who set sail down the Morava River in a rubber boat on Wednesday but never reached their destination. Dozens of officers and fire fighters are combing the banks of the river as its water level is gradually being reduced in view of searching the river-bed. An abandoned rubber boat was found early this morning but it is not clear if it belonged to the missing men. This particular stretch of the river is generally reported to be safe and there were no dangerous weirs on the way.
The Senate has approved a proposal to commemorate the legacy of Jan Palach and Jan Amos Comenius through significant days in the Czech calendar. Jan Palach will be remembered on January 16th, the day he set himself on fire in protest of the growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Jan Amos Comenius will be remembered on the day of his birth, March 28. There are presently 9 significant days in the Czech calendar and contrary to state holiday’s they are not days off. Their significance is merely symbolic.
Two Czech bus drivers from the Student Agency company have been arrested in Norway. According to the internet news site iDnes the drivers were arrested a week ago after customs officers found hard drugs on board the student agency bus bound back to Prague. The passengers were reportedly flown back and the bus remains in Norway. A spokesperson for Student Agency has confirmed the arrest of two of its drivers and said it has asked the Norwegian authorities to release the company bus.
The Social Democrats and the Communists held rallies on Wednesday to mark Labour Day, a public holiday in the Czech Republic. The Communist rally took place in Prague’s expo grounds where several hundred of their supporters gathered, including the last chairman of the totalitarian-era Communist party, Milouš Jakeš, and other former officials of the group. The Social Democrat event was held at the same site in the afternoon.
Forty people died on Czech roads in April, the lowest number since 1990. Two people, including a 16-year-old girl, died when a bus carrying French secondary-school students crashed in western Bohemia on April 8; two men were killed when their car got off the road near Karviná, in the north-east of the country three days later. The highest number of traffic-related deaths in the month of April was recorded in 1997 when 115 died.
Envoys of the Czech Catholic Church and of the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, handed a letter to Pope Francis in the Vatican on Wednesday, inviting him to July’s celebrations of the 1150th jubilee of Saints Cyril and Methodius. The main celebrations will be held at the pilgrimage site of Velehrad, in southern Moravia, marking the saints’ arrival in the Great Moravian Empire in 863. Pope Francis reportedly showed interest in the event although his office had earlier said the pontiff would this year only travel to Brazil.
Prague City Hall has failed to reach agreement on closing part of the Vltava embankment in the centre of the city to cars, postponing the plans for the summer. Earlier this month, City Council approved a plan to only allow pedestrians and cyclists on Smetanovo nábřeží, a section of the embankment between the National Theatre and Charles Bridge, a move welcomed by cycling advocacy groups. However, council members on Tuesday failed to agree on technical details. Deputy mayor Tomáš Hudeček however said the council would try to impose the ban on cars in the area in August or September.
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
The Czechoslovak occultist plot to kill Hitler by magic
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
Czech companies struggling with labour shortage