The deans of all ten of the country’s philosophical faculties have called on Prime Minister Petr Nečas to dismiss Education Minister Josef Dobeš. In an open letter to the prime minister, the deans criticize the education minister for his failure to prepare quality legislation that would overhaul the university system as well as his refusal to directly discuss such matters with university representatives. They added that the Education Ministry has demonstrated it is unable to provide financial stability to universities. Philosophical faculties especially should be committed to social responsibility, freedom of speech and a firm stance on citizens’ rights, the deans‘ association writes. In late February, thousands of students, professors and university administrators had taken to the streets for a weeklong protest against a proposed education reform.
Czech entrepreneur Tomáš Pitr, who has been in prison in Switzerland since 2010, has decided to return to the Czech Republic, the daily Mladá fronta dnes reported. The businessman, who has been charged with tax evasion, retracted his application for asylum in Switzerland on Friday and will return to his home country in the coming weeks. According to his lawyer, the decision is partially motivated by personal reasons but also the fact that Mr. Pitr has been reviewing Czech court proceedings in his case and concluded that he will most likely receive a fair trial. He was sentenced to five years in prison by a Prague city court in 2006.
A hacker who goes by the pseudonym of p1r@t3z'sec has managed to enter the website of Czech TV. On Saturday, instead of finding a video archive on the site, visitors instead saw a video declaration by hackers, drawing attention to poor online security. In the video, voice demands for information to be freely accessible and news coverage to be objective and truthful are voiced. Until that is the case, hackers will not step down and continue hacking relevant websites. Some say that the hacker’s attack may be connected to this week’s anti-government protests. Among the demands of demonstrators were far-reaching changes in the management of Czech TV.
Anti-government protests continued in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Friday evening. Roughly a thousand demonstrators gathered on the square to demand the resignation of the current government coalition and president Václav Klaus. Demonstrators signed a petition and listened to live renditions of covers of songs by Czech protest singer Karel Krýl. The protests, organized by a citizens' initiative, started on Thursday, when thousands of people gathered in Prague and other cities across the country.
According to a fresh survey by the Public Opinion Research Center, three-fifths of Czechs continue to place trust in NATO and believe the alliance is still necessary and important. Czech faith in NATO has remained relatively unchanged in recent years. The majority of respondents also said that they believe a state’s sovereignty needed to be defended and that in the case of an armed conflict, the Czech Republic would dependent on NATO protection. Only 26 percent of those polled believe that the Czech Republic‘s NATO membership is problematic.
A baby girl was found in the babybox at the hospital Karviná-Ráj on Friday evening. It was the first infant to be placed in the hospital’s babybox and the seventh in the Czech Republic to be given up by means of the babybox this year. The girl, who has been named Radka-Barborka by hospital staff, is in good health and, according to doctors, was born that day. Overall, nearly 70 infants have been left anonymously in babyboxes since the system was launched in 2005.
The Museum of Water Treatment in the Prague neighborhood of Podolí will be accessible to visitors the entire weekend. It is opening its gates on the occasion of the upcoming World Water Day, which is marked on March 22. The interesting exhibition portrays changes in water treatment and features the original water pump of the Klatovy waterworks from 1830 as well as other rare items. Visitors can see the exhibition Saturday or Sunday between 9:30 a.m. and 16:30 p.m.
Record high temperatures were registered at over 40 weather stations across the Czech Republic on Friday, with temperature hikes of six and seven degrees Celsius over the last 24 hours. The highest temperature of 20.4 degrees was recorded in Český Krumlov. The oldest record – 15.1 degrees Celsius from 1899 – was broken in the central Bohemian town of Příbram.
President Václav Klaus on Friday signed into law a bill confirming former president Václav Havel’s role in modern Czech history. The bill, which states that “Václav Havel served freedom and democracy”, was approved by both houses of the Czech Parliament where it received backing from all political parties with the exception of the communists. Two other Czech leaders were similarly honoured in the past: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in 1937 and Edvard Beneš in 2004. Former president, dissident and playwright Václav Havel died in December at the age of 75.
The Czech Republic’s telecoms regulator has launched proceedings against
the country’s three mobile phone operators to make them slash charges
handling calls by 50 percent in 2013, according to a report released by
Czech Telecommunications Office on Friday. Telefónica, T-Mobile and
Vodafone should gradually cut down their fees from the current 1.08 crowns
per minute to 0.55 crowns next year, the report said. The head of the
Telecommunications Office, Petr Dvořák, said it would by up to the
operators whether they will also accordingly adjust their prices for end
The Czech regulator recently came under criticism for failing to enforce cheaper mobile phone call prices. Critics say that prices in the Czech Republic are among the highest in all OECD countries.