Around 200 students protested outside the Ministry of Education in Prague on Saturday against a decision by the university Accreditation Committee. The committee has demanded the closure of the advanced pedagogical studies offered by the Jan Amos Komenský University. Many of the students are teachers who have only eight months to complete the obligatory course. The ministry is seeking to place them with other education facilities after finding failings with the course offered. Minister of Education Kateřina Valachová said there was no way to go back on the committee decision.
Police and firemen were called to a fire at a flat in Prague’s Dejvice district on Saturday morning which was apparently started deliberately. According to the Novinky.cz news server, the flat is occupied by Sparta Prague’s Congo-born striker Francis Litsingi. Police were unwilling to comment on the possible racist motivation of the attack. Sparta Prague are due to play city rivals Slavia Prague on Sunday.
Attacks targeted against Moslems in the Czech Republic have increased to 23 this year compared to 10 in 2014, the legal organisation In Iustitia has reported. Most of the recent attacks have taken place since the start of the immigrant crisis in June. Many of the attacks have been verbal or physical attacks on women wearing shawls over their heads. The organisation said there were three anti-Semitic attacks so far this year, the same as throughout the whole of 2014.
In tennis, women’s world number three Maria Sharapova has confirmed that she will play in the Fed Cup final in Prague for Russia against the Czech Republic. Her participation means that Russia will field its strongest team. Sharapova was absent due to injury for April’s semi-final against Germany. The final takes places on November 14 and 15. Russia will be seeking revenge for the defeat in the Moscow final against the Czech Republic in 2011.
Czech senator and head of the Synot betting company, Ivo Valenta, has signalled that he is launching an arbitration procedure against the Czech state, the server Lidovky.cz reports. Valenta, through his Cyprus, based companies which own Synot, is seeking damages of at least a billion crowns for the Ministry of Finance and local council moves to cancel permits for video lottery terminals. The damages sought could run into several billion crowns, the server says. Notice of the proceedings have been lodged with the government offices.
Škoda Auto has a new chairman of the board in the form of former head of the Porsche brand and marketing, Bernhard Maier. Maier replaces Winfried Vahland, who has been send to head Volkswagen’s operations in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, from November 1. Vahland said he was leaving Škoda Auto in good shape with a range of SUV vehicles in the pipeline. The changes are part of the domino effect at Volkswagen following the scandal over fraudulent emission readings on diesel cars.
Prague mayor Adriana Krnáčová says she want to replace the head of the Prague transport company, responsible for the city’s tram, bus, and metro network. The mayor said she was unhappy with general manager Jaroslav Ďuriš’ performance and would seek his replacement as well as that of other members of the management board. Krnáčová in particular highlighted the fact that the company is seeking an extra 2 billion crowns for its budget next year. She said no plans for savings or a long-term perspective of how the budget would evolve had been made. Ďuriš’ said the complaints were unfair and unfounded. He said the extra funds are needed to meet the costs of increased operations and the fact that ticket charges have been cut this year and next.
The Czech Republic will send some 20 military personnel, transport and other equipment, and a field kitchen to Hungary in mid-October, the head of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, General Josef Bečvář, has confirmed. Czech soldiers should operate there for some two months, helping Hungary with the migration crisis. Exact details are to be finalized on October 1, the general made clear.
According to a new poll by the CVVM agency, 55 percent of Czechs have expressed trust in the current head-of-state – a rise of one percent from June. Local mayor and municipal leaders, the poll suggested, enjoy the highest level of trust at 64. By contrast, trust is lowest in the lower house of Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, which enjoys just 35 percent, a slight one percent rise since the previous survey. Those who expressed trust in the president most often included seniors or pensioners as well as voters on the left of the political spectrum, the polling agency said.
President Miloš Zeman has said that in the event that his chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, fails to get top–level security clearance, there will always be a “respectable place” for him at Prague Castle. The Czech media reported this week the chief-of-staff had allegedly not been cleared and the chancellor himself confirmed on Friday that was the case. In the past the president said the aid, who applied for clearance in December 2013, could not remain in the post if he failed to receive it. But the president made clear on Thursday that he fully expected Mr Mynář to appeal the decision if it was in the negative.
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