The Christian Democratic party wants to see their chairman Pavel Bělobrádek become the deputy speaker of the lower house, if they were to enter into a coalition government with the Social Democrats and the ANO party. The deputy chairwoman of ANO, Věra Jourová, announced on Friday that her party expects to receive five or six cabinet posts in the possible new government, and are most interested in the ministries of interior, foreign affairs and finance. ANO also want to nominate one of their deputies for the post of speaker of the lower house. The Social Democrats, who received the most votes in the October general elections, are planning to begin discussions on the possible make-up of the future government on Saturday evening at the meeting of the party leadership.
Thirty-eight Romani university students have received a stipend worth 21,500 crowns (800 Euros) for the academic year from the Roma education fund. According to some estimates, there are a little over 100 Romanis studying in Czech universities. Most of them are focusing on the fields of education, humanities, as well as economics and medicine. In the nine years of existence, the Roma education fund has provided stipends to 205 Roma university students.
FBI agents have arrested a man suspected of robbery and torture in Prague. Hossein Nayeri and three others were charged with kidnapping for ransom, aggravated mayhem, torture and burglary after they allegedly drove the owner of a California medical marijuana dispensary to the dessert last October and brutally tortured him in order to get money from him. One of the suspects was arrested already last year, while two others were arrested on Friday in Fresno. Mr. Nayeri was allegedly transferring flights in Prague on Thursday on his way to see his family in Spain. He will face extradition proceedings in the Czech Republic.
Top Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková took second place in the 3000 meter race at the opening World Cup speed skating event of the season in Calgary, Canada. Sáblíková finished 35 seconds behind the German veteran skater Claudia Pechstein, and 29 seconds ahead the current world champion Ireen Wust of the Netherlands.
A nursing secondary school in Prague has forbidden two of its female Muslim students to wear the tradition hijab headdress to class, causing the students to leave the school. One of the students offered to wear the scarf in a way that would only cover her hair, but the school’s principal said that it was still unacceptable. The other student began attending classes without the hijab, but also left the school a few days later. The school said that wearing any headgear is against official policies and that the 23-year-old Somali and the 25-year-old Afghan students had other problems with school rules, which the young women deny. There are currently no laws in the Czech Republic, which concern religious dress in public.
Four in ten Czechs are proud of their citizenship, according to a recent survey by the Public Opinion Research Center (CVVM). The survey also revealed that 14 percent are ashamed of being Czech and 42 percent are ambivalent. National pride among Czechs has been steadily decreasing. In October 2011, 47 percent were proud of their Czech citizenship, while nine percent were ashamed of it. Around two-thirds of the respondents said if given a choice of any country of residence they would live in the Czech Republic. Two years ago, some 70 percent gave the same answer.
The Prague transit authority will on Saturday inaugurate metro carriages designated for singles, the company’s CEO Jaroslav Ďuriš told reporters. The middle carriage on each train running on the metro’s A line will offer single people a chance to chat and meet other singles on Saturdays between 10 AM and 10 PM, Mr Ďuriš said. The carriages will have no special signs; instead, passengers will be informed by boards placed in metro stations. The transit authority, which refers to the cars as “communication carriages”, has backed down on its original plan to designate the carriages strictly for people looking for new partners.
The ANO party, which came second in the Czech general elections last month, will demand the post of the lower house speaker, ANO deputy chair Věra Jourová told reporters on Friday. ANO leaders met with Christian Democrat representatives on Friday to discuss their cooperation in the Chamber of Deputies. Both parties agreed that the number of lower house committees, sub-committees and other bodies should be lowered. The parties also reiterated their positions on the possibility of forming a coalition with the Social Democrats; both parties are determined to either join a coalition government together, or back a Social Democrat minority cabinet.
The anti-corruption unit of the Czech police has charged two people in relation to the controversial project of electronic health records, a spokesman for Prague’s state attorney said. The two people face charges of manipulating public procurement for the project, having allegedly caused damages of 450 million crowns. The project, known as IZIP, was launched in 2008, with the aim of transferring patients’ records into an electronic database. The total costs have reached over two billion crowns but it has been put on hold after very few physicians subscribed to it.
Czech farmers this year harvested just over 637,000 tonnes of potatoes, the lowest yield since the 1920s, the Czech Association of Potato Growers said on Friday. In the 1990s, annual potato harvest exceeded two million tonnes. The historically lowest harvest is attributed to a long-term decrease in the cultivation area which diminished by nearly 11 percent between 2011 and 2012. Farmers now receive between six and seven crowns for one kilo of potatoes while their retail price is about double.
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
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