A flu epidemic which reached its peak roughly a fortnight ago has continued to recede, with the number of those ill falling by 12 percent to 1,638 cases per 100,000 people. At the same time, all regions of the country are still affected, the Nation Reference Laboratory revealed on Monday. In some regions the numbers have dropped by a third. Spring break at the country’s schools, which rotate based on area, are seen as having curbed the further spread of the flu, but experts warn cases may again rise after children return to the classroom.
A new poll released by the CVVM agency suggests that 50 percent of Czechs think that ties between the Czech Republic and Russia have worsened. The number grew from 41 percent in January. According to pollsters, Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, including the annexation of Crimea, contributed to the results. The current numbers are similar to those recorded in 2008, during the conflict between Russia and Georgia. Then, ties were also influenced by US plans for a missile defence shield in Europe proposed by the Bush administration, which counted on interceptor rockets in Poland and a radar detection system in Brdy in the Czech Republic.
The founder of Prague’s prestigious PORG secondary school, Ondřej Šteffl, is planning to open an unconventional elementary school in the city at the start of the next academic year, iDnes.cz reported. The new school will not teach children and will not award grades, with teachers serving as “guides” to mixed-age groups of around 16 the news site said. Mr. Šteffl denies that the school will be experimental, saying the method has been tested in other countries. Václav Klaus Jr., a former PORG principal and proponent of traditional education, says the opening of the school is a marketing manoeuvre.
The average Czech man gets married for the first time at the age of 32, eight years later than at the time of the Velvet Revolution, Novinky.cz reported, quoting a study from the Czech Statistics Office. For women the average age of first marriage is 30, seven years later than in 1989, the news site said. The study suggests that if present trends continue only around half of Czech men will get hitched before they reach 50. While two-thirds of Czechs were married at 25 at the start of the 1990s, today most are unwed when they reach a quarter century.
Václav Kadlec scored twice on his return to Sparta Prague, helping the defending Czech soccer league champions come from behind to beat Příbram 4:1 in the capital on Monday evening. Kadlec, who is 22, was recently loaned to Sparta by Eintracht Frankfurt after failing to make a lasting impact at the Bundesliga side despite a promising start. The striker found the net after coming on as a substitute near the hour mark.
The populist Dawn grouping has decided at a “national” conference to create a new party. Speaking after a two-hour meeting on Tuesday, leader Tomio Okamura described the move as a putsch. The Dawn MPs who voted for the change called on Mr. Okamura to step down. MPs close to deputies group leader Marek Černoch recently said the new party would “defend national interests” and work with France’s far-right National Front. Dawn describes itself as a “movement” and has very few actual members.
MPs do not want to lift the parliamentary immunity of former Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda over charges of breach of trust due to negligence. The police want to investigate Mr. Svoboda over a contract he signed with a lawyer for an analysis of suspicious contracts at Prague’s transport authority without consulting other councillors. However, on Tuesday the lower house’s Mandate and Immunity Committee said it would recommend that deputies reject their request. MPs have already lifted Mr. Svoboda’s immunity in connection with an investigation into the Opencard, an electronic card system for transport and other services.
President Miloš Zeman will appoint Robert Pelikán as minister of justice in the second week of next month, the latter said after a meeting with the head of state at Prague Castle on Tuesday. The ANO candidate, who has up to now been first deputy minister of justice will replace Helena Valková, who presented her resignation letter to Mr. Zeman on Tuesday. Mr. Pelikán, who is in his mid 30s, is the son of a European Union Court of Justice judge and a law professor.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says he that like most Czech citizens he has been shocked by the tragic shooting incident on Tuesday. Mr. Sobotka said he offered his deepest condolences to the families of victims. He also called on the minister of justice, Milan Chovanec, to personally oversee the police investigation into the event. For his part Mr. Chovanec said the shooting had not been an act of terrorism but the act of one deranged individual. President Miloš Zeman also expressed his condolences.
Eight people were killed in a shooting incident at a pub in the town of Uherský brod in Eastern Moravia on Tuesday afternoon, Czech Television reported, quoting information from the minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec. Seven of the victims were men, the other a woman. The shooter, who is reported to have fired off around two dozen rounds, is also dead, reportedly after turning his weapon on himself. The mayor of Uherský brod, Patrik Kunčar, told Czech Television that the killer, who may have been carrying two weapons, was a local man aged 62 with apparent mental problems. Prima TV said a man had contacted its crime reporters shortly before the incident telling them to send a team to Uherský brod and claiming that many people had bullied him and he had received no help from the local authorities; a Prime reporter passed the information on to the police. A man who was in the toilets in the Družba pub when the shooting took place at around lunchtime said around 20 people had been on the premises. One woman has been taken to hospital with shooting injuries.
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