A fresh poll suggests that former prime minister Jan Fischer would win the presidential elections if they were held today. In this most recent survey, former prime minister Miloš Zeman for the first time saw a better polling result than economist Jan Švejnar, who in previous surveys had come in second. Some 36 percent of respondents would cast their ballot in favor of Mr Fischer, while some 12.5 percent would vote for Mr Zeman. Some 11 percent of men and women polled believe that Mr Švejnar should become the country’s next president. Next year, Czech voters will be able to elect their president directly for the very first time.
Education Minister Petr Fiala has decided to freeze a planned controversial reform of the country’s university system. Instead of a new law, changes will be made via an amendment to the existing legislation. Mr Fiala also said on Thursday that he is planning to rework a much-debated legal change on university finances to where the introduction of tuition fees would no longer be mandatory. He is planning to discuss legislative changes with university representatives in weeks to come.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvítová beat Kazakh qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6 6-2 6-4 and reached the semi-finals of the French Open for the first time on Wednesday. Although Shvedova led Kvítová 4-2 in the final set, the Czech fourth seed kept her focus through driving rain to complete victory after her 142nd-ranked opponent drilled a backhand wide on matchpoint. Kvítová will now take on title favorite Maria Sharapova for a place in Saturday's final.
Over 10,000 people have visited a concentration camp exhibition at Prague’s Karlovo náměstí. The exhibit was installed at the square on occasion of the 70-year-anniversary of the Heydrich assassination. The organizers, the civic initiative Post Bellum, say that every day, visitors are standing in line to see the provocative display. It maps the life stories of some 70 people who fought in the resistance and against the Nazi regime during World War II.
The ruling parties on Wednesday blocked an opposition proposal for the
lower house to discuss the setting up of a special parliamentary commission
which would investigate who is responsible for a bungled electronic health
records project (IZIP) that cost taxpayers two billion crowns. The project,
launched ten years ago was frequently criticized for lack of transparency
and failed to motivate doctors to use it. The government recently voted to
scrap it and cut its losses saying that nothing can be salvaged from it.
The ruling parties are in favour of a standard investigation by the police.
The health minister is now outlining conditions for a tender on a new electronic health records project that would link up a complex system of already existing data bases run by hospitals, GPs and specialists.
Ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský has warned against continuing discrimination of Roma children in the Czech education system. The Ombudsman said that according to the results of a recent study 32 to 35 percent of Romany children were studying at schools for children with learning, physical or mental disabilities and that most of them were placed there undeservedly in order to spare regular schools the effort of helping them integrate. The Czech Republic has received similar criticism from the European Commission and the European Court of Human Rights.
The non-profit humanitarian organization People in Need is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It was established in 1992 by a group of war reporters and foreign correspondents who were no longer satisfied with reporting on conflicts and natural disasters and began sending out aid instead. The organization, now one of the biggest of its kind in central Europe, focused on providing aid to crisis areas and supporting adherence to human rights around the world. Czech public television is devoting a special day of programming to People in Need showing photos and videos from the organisation´s projects, missions and fundraising campaigns supported by tens of thousands of people.
Some thirty people gathered outside the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in Prague on Wednesday to protest against the reform of the welfare system and the fact that no tender was held for a new computerized system of welfare payments. The rally, is part of a series of anti-government protests which were originally planned as “human blockades” of several ministries implementing a broad range of government austerity measures but all have been marked by a low turnout.
The Czech government is planning an overhaul of the public sector which would save state coffers up to 12 billion crowns in 2014 and close to 25 billion the year after. Individual ministries have until mid-July to revise their expenses and say where money could be saved. A merging of ministerial agendas is not being ruled out. Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has been commissioned with drafting a proposal for the respective changes by the autumn.
The Czech football association has denied the winners of the second division, FK Ústí nad Labem, a license to play in the top division. The association said that the club had failed to reconstruct its stadium which did not meet the requirements for the Gambrinus Liga. Ústí will therefore remain in the second division in the next season. Second division runners-up Jihlava will be promoted along with Zbrojovka Brno which finished fourth as FK Baník Sokolov, which came in third, did not have the funding to play in the top division.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Economist Tomáš Sedláček: A positive look at the coronavirus crisis
Government to extend restrictions on movement until April 1st