A number of MPs in the lower house of parliament want to overturn an ordinance issued earlier by the Education Ministry that limits eligibility for social benefits for students. According to the ordinance, only high school students are eligible for social benefits, which studying, for example, at a conservatory is no longer recognized. MPs led by the Social Democrat Vlasta Bohdalová, want to introduce an amendment that would reverse the ordinance, and return social benefits eligibility for students to a wider student population.
Rain has disrupted skiing in most centers in western and northern Bohemia on Saturday afternoon. Although most slopes still have around 50 centimeters of man-made snow, the wet conditions have made it impossible for skiers to continue skiing. Operators of ski centers are nevertheless expecting visitors to continue skiing during the Christmas holidays, as rain subsides.
The LIDEM party chairwoman Karolína Peake said that the offer of former education minister Josef Dobeš to support the coalition government in the government with eight other MPs is not a viable solution to the government crisis. After being sacked from her post as defence minister on Thursday, Ms Peake has asked her ministers to resign from the government by 10 January. Mr Dobeš has announced that he and another eight MPs are willing to support the coalition in the lower house until the general elections in 2014. Many of the MPs on Mr Dobeš’s list though have been involved in corruption and other scandals, so it is not clear if such a solution would be acceptable to the government.
A three-vehicle accident was reported on the R6 highway after a high-speed police chase on Saturday evening. A police car was following a vehicle that was suspected as being stolen. The suspect’s car pushed the police vehicle into the divider. The police and the suspect’s car were two of the vehicles involved in the accident; five people were injured. The police officers used firearms during the chase and requested backup from the German police.
A pavilion with a display of a burial site from the Stone Age has been completed in the Central Bohemian town of Nymburk. The burial site for a man was discovered in 1994. In the new pavilion, which will be opened to the public in the spring, vistiors will be able to view the burial site and a number of educational films. It cost the town 7.5 million crowns to build the pavilion.
Icy roads and continuing snow and sleet have been complication the situation on Czech roads since Saturday afternoon. On the pre-Christmas Sunday, otherwise known as the Golden Sunday, lorries and cars are standing in traffic on highways in Central and northern Bohemia and the Vysocina region. A number of cars have gone off the roads in a number of places. Authorities are warning drivers of more ice developing on the roads, and worsening visibility resulting from fog. In Brno, trains have been delayed because of snow clean-up on the tracks.
Former Education Minister Josef Dobeš said that he has the names of at least eight other MPs who would be willing to support the governing coalition in case it looses the support of the LIDEM party, daily Pravo reports. Many of the people Mr Dobeš mentioned would be somewhat controversial. Among them are Dobeš’s fellow former Public Affairs party members Kristýna Kočí, Jaroslav Škárka, Milan Šťovíček, and some MPs who have distanced themselves from the Civic Democrats because of various scandals. The former minister believes that the coalition should not fall, and in exchange for his support wants more support for sports and improvements in government administration.
The Czech Telecommunications Institute will take more steps to regulate the country’s mobile services market, the institute said in a press release on Friday. The regulator found little competition on the market and said the four existing operators acted co-ordinately to keep up relatively high prices for mobile calling and other services. The institute wants to facilitate the entry of so-called virtual operators on the market, and is planning to introduce stricter regulation of whole-sale prices. A spokesman for Telefónica O2, the largest mobile operator in the country, said the firm would respect any decision by the regulator but said its assumptions were ungrounded as prices for private end users had decreased by nearly 40 percent of the last five years.
In related news, chairwoman of the LIDEM group Karolína Peake told the news website lidovky.cz on Friday her party had no interest in remaining part of the coalition. Ms Peake said the prime minister should have thought about the government’s future earlier when there was still time for negotiations, adding no cooperation with the Civic Democrats was possible in the current format.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech biochemist involved in developing potential coronavirus treatment
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague