On the occasion, both Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Education Minister Petra Buzkova paid surprise visits to several schools and encouraged the students to take their studies seriously. Mr Klaus stressed the importance of learning not one but two foreign languages, while Mrs Buzkova, in a traditional annual radio address, assured children that in a few years they would consider their school years as the best period in their lives. She also promised teachers that she would stand firm in parliament to support unpopular reform in the education sector.
In southern Moravia, some thirty teachers have filed a law suit against the Czech state at the Constitutional court in Brno. The teachers claim the government had failed to fulfil a promise in its policy programme to provide the education sector with more finances and increase teachers' salaries. The current situation, they say, threatens the level of education in the Czech Republic and therefore violates the citizens' right to a good education.
The Czech Police, together with customs officers, have broken up a five-member gang that had been smuggling Asians into the Czech Republic. Two of the men arrested were customs officials. The refugees were being brought into the country from Slovakia under inhumane conditions. Four members of the gang were detained on Monday after they smuggled 26 people in a specially modified cistern. A fifth member was arrested at a bank a day later, when he tried to make a large withdrawal. The police, who have been looking for the men for the past two years, believe they belong to a bigger international organised gang. They are suspected to have used the same method 22 times to successfully smuggle some 1,000 illegal immigrants.
The father of two boys who, along with four other minors, have admitted to killing an 81-year-old woman, has also been charged with the murder of the pensioner. On August 12, the six young boys - five of them under the age of 15 - planned to rob the pensioner at her home in East Bohemia. When she resisted, they stabbed her to death with scissors. The boys were driven to the scene by the 34-year-old Vladimir Gina, who faces a prison sentence of at least 10 years if found guilty.
A Czech businessman who caused the death of three police officers when his car crashed into their vehicle was sentenced to four years in prison on Wednesday. Zdenek Bulawa admitted drinking before the accident, which took place last October in Cesky Tesin on the Polish border. He also admitted speeding. He was originally sentenced to three years in prison by the Karvina district court in June but the regional appeals court in Ostrava raised the sentence by a year. The district court had accepted Bulawa's defence that the police car turned into a main road from a side road without giving way.
The Czech tennis player Tomas Zib was beaten by Juan Carlos Ferrero in the first round of the U.S. Open on Tuesday, though he gave the Spaniard a run for his money; the match went to five sets and lasted four and a half hours. Earlier Czech number one Jiri Novak had beaten compatriot Radek Stepanek 7:5 6:1 6:3. In women's tennis, Nicole Vaidisova, who is only 15, was beaten by top seed Justine Henin-Hardenne, though not before going 4-1 ahead in the second of two sets.
The Czech footballer Marek Jankulovski is staying at Udinese, after he refused to join CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, the last day of the "transfer window" during which transfers can take place. Remaining at Udinese will be a disappointment for the Ostrava-born player, who had been linked to glamour clubs Juventus and Inter Milan.
Thursday is expected to have clear skies with day-time temperatures reaching a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius.
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