The Euro commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová and Vladimír Špidla, former prime minister and aide to current Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, have stressed the need for the Czech Republic to aim for integration within the core of the European Union. Both were scheduled on Friday to speak at a conference at Prague’s Charles University. Mr Špidla, who was prime minister in 2004 when the Czech Republic joined, said that without integration the EU would not be able to survive as an entity capable of influencing globalization. Mrs Jourová expressed the view that the Czech Republic would most benefit if it were a part of the ‘faster-speed Europe’ when it came to economic and security issues.
Students fared better this year with regards to mathematics in their high school leaving exams, the Education Ministry and exam organizer Cermat confirmed. According to the ministry, the number of those who succeeded in the math section rose by 1.5 percent compared to last year. Overall, 21.5 percent of students failed the section while 8.4 percent failed in the Czech language. The high school leaving exams, known as ‘maturita’ were attended by 62,000 students this year. Students prepare for weeks and months for the final exams.
An earlier report in the Czech media that a US congressman from the state of Iowa, Steve King, a staunch conservative, was being tipped to become the next US ambassador to Prague, has been denied; Sahil Kapur, a journalist for Bloomberg, wrote that he had spoken with the congressman personally and learned that he had not been in touch with the US State Department for the post. By appearances, earlier reports may have mistaken the congressman with another Steve King - a Republican businessman from the state of Wisconsin who - according to one US source – was a contributor to the Trump campaign.
The spokesman to President Zeman, Jiří Ovčáček, has written on Facebook that the Czech head of state has no issue with naming ANO MP Ivan Pilný as the country’s new finance minister over the course of next week. First, the head of state will meet the prime minister’s request for the current finance minister, Andrej Babiš, to be recalled from his post. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka sought Mr Babiš’ removal after he failed to explain questionable financial dealings.
A 27-year-old soldier who seriously injured a fellow serviceman last year will serve one year in prison. A court in Výškov found the soldier guilty of grievous bodily harm and endangering the public under the influence of alcohol, having shot the fellow soldier in a bar. The man will also have to pay the Military Insurance Fund (Vojenská zdravotní pojišťovna) 140,000 crowns in damages. The accused faced up to four years behind bars; the verdict can still be appealed.
A new tender will be held to find a suitable candidate to head the Czech Centre in Paris, the organisation’s spokeswoman Petra Jungwirthová confirmed; additional tenders have also been announced for the heads of the centres in Sofia, Stockholm, Warsaw and Tel Aviv. A new CEO in charge of all the centres is also being sought, after the previous head was recalled from his post by Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek for refusing to name Jean-Gaspard Páleníček head of the centre in Paris. Czech centres in Vienna and Brussels will be headed by Mojmír Jeřábek and Jitka Pánek Jurková, respectively.
Timely information - as opposed to cement barriers - is the main weapon in the fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said during a debate in the lower house of Parliament on Friday, a meeting of lawmakers to discuss an intelligence report revelation that funds had been sent from someone in the Czech Republic to the terror organisation ISIS last year. The prime minister said that the country’s counter-intelligence service, BIS, had a clear role in monitoring activities and gauging potential threats. The government is trying to boost the intelligence services in reaction to the security situation globally.
The Czech Republic will take up the chairmanship of the ministerial committee of the Council of Europe on May 19. The Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organisation with 47 member states. The Czechs have said that they will put the emphasis during the six month chairmanship on the protection of vulnerable groups, promotion of civil society and support for democracy. Many pointers suggest human and democratic rights are under increased pressure across the continent.
In ice hockey, the Czechs lost their quarter final world championships duel with Russia 0:3. Czech hopes of further progress in the tournament were dented in the first period when Russia took a two gaol lead. In spite of pressure during the second half of the first period and all of the second, the Czechs were unable to find the net. In the third period, Russia extended the lead in the 54th minute with Panarin slotting in from close range past Francouz. The loss means that the Czechs leave the championships for the fifth time in a row without a medal.
Karel Gott to get funeral with state honours as singer’s death is mourned at home and abroad
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Karel Gott’s Mona Lisa to be put up for auction
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott