Adriana Krnáčová is to remain mayor of Prague after receiving support from her party ANO. Last week ANO’s councilors and Prague branch passed a vote of no confidence against her. However, after a meeting late on Tuesday night they said they had reproached Ms. Krnáčová for poor communication but continued to back her as mayor. Party chief Andrej Babiš said the main problem on Prague’s council was the presence of the Green Party’s Matěj Stropnický; the latter has been in conflict recently with Ms. Krnáčová after she overrode his preparations for new building regulations for the capital.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is set to visit the Czech Republic in September. The government approved his visit on Thursday. Mr Stoltenberg, who has been invited by PM Bohuslav Sobotka, is set to come to Prague for a two-day visit on September 9. Among the main topics on his agenda will be the adaptation of NATO on the changing safety conditions, as well as NATO’s Readiness Action Plan approved at a summit in Wales last year, the government informed on its website.
Former South African president Frederik de Klerk, co-founder of Doctors without Borders Bernard Kouchner, philosopher Roger Scruton and women’s rights activist Manal al-Sharif are due to attend this year’s Forum 2000 conference in Prague next month, organisers of the annual event announced on Wednesday. The theme of this year’s conference, the 19th, will be Democracy and Education. Forum 2000 was co-founded by the late president Václav Havel as a platform for debate on issues facing the world.
The government has approved the framework for the selection procedure for the next operator of the Czech motorway tolls system. It has also prolonged the current 10-year contract with Austrian operator Kapsch until the end of 2019, the spokesman for the Transport Ministry, Tomáš Neřold, told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. The contract was originally supposed to end in 2016, but the Social and Christian Democrats have pushed through a new three-year provisional period. The Transport Ministry headed by the ANO Party was calling for a five-year period, arguing that a shorter period favours the current operator Kapsch. The toll has been collected in the Czech Republic since 2007 on more than 1400 kilometres of motorways and expressways.
A court has cleared the former head of office of ex-prime minister Petr Nečas of abusing her public position by ordering the army’s intelligence service to spy and keep track of Radka Nečasová, the prime minister’s then wife, on the basis of Mr Nečas’s testimony, the daily Právo reported on Thursday. The verdict was issued at the end of May but the judge refused then to explain the basis for her decision. According to Právo, the judge believed the ex-prime minister’s assertion that the intelligence services protected his wife from being followed. Jana Nečasová, formerly Nagyová, was romantically linked to the prime minister and later became his wife. The case exploded in June 2013, bringing down the centre-right government of Petr Nečas.
President Miloš Zeman appointed Ivana Janů the new head of the Office for Personal Data Protection. Mrs Janů, a former judge of the Constitutional Court and Christian Democratic deputy, was chosen by the Senate in June. She will replace Igor Němec, who has completed his two terms in the office. The Office for Personal Data Protection was established in the year 2000 with the aim to supervise the processing of personal data and deal with people's complaints regarding infringements on their right to privacy.
Around 3,500 academics have gathered in Prague for a conference of the European Sociological Association. Due to run until Friday, it is the biggest such conference ever held in Europe. The eminent Polish-born sociologist Zygmunt Bauman gave the opening address on Tuesday evening, while other speakers will include Christopher T. Whelan and Arlie R. Hochschild. The theme of the 12th ESA conference is Differences, Inequalities and Sociological Imagination.
Inclusion of children with mental and learning disabilities and children from poor social backgrounds in regular schools is still a problem in the Czech Republic, a survey carried out by the non-profit organisation People in Need and Palacký University in Olomouc has pointed out. Most of the 1,200 head teachers who took part in the survey said they supported inclusion of children with disabilities. However, they said they needed more funds for paying special teachers, psychologists and teacher’s assistants. Teachers also complained about not having sufficient guidance on how to deal with children with special needs. Most disabled children in the Czech Republic are still being relegated to special schools.
Tap water in the towns of Nový Bor and Okrouhlá in the north of the country contaminated by coliform bacteria is drinkable again, hygiene officers said on Thursday. For safety reasons, they recommended people to boil the tap water in the course of the next 24 hours. Over a hundred people were treated for stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea during the weekend after drinking the water. The town’s mayor has ordered the local library and kindergartens to be closed until further notice. The problem was probably caused by wastewater seeping into the pipes carrying water for household consumption. A similar incident happened in Prague’s district of Dejvice in May when around 500 people fell ill after drinking contaminated tap water.
Czech athlete Zuzana Hejnová won the women’s 400 metres hurdles title at the World Championships in Beijing on Wednesday, defending the title she won in Moscow two years ago. Hejnová finished ahead of Shamier Little and Cassandra Tate, both of the US, in 53.50 seconds, which is the fastest time in the world this year.
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