Outgoing Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok has strongly criticized the Czech scientific community for not producing enough practical and profit-making results, in an interview for the Hospodařské noviny daily published on Wednesday. The premier was responding to criticism that his government’s budget for 2014 cut the amount allotted to science and research by 1.3 billion, compared to the budget proposed by the previous cabinet. Mr. Rusnok said that there are currently enough funds allocated to science, but that it is not being used effectively. In his opinion, the situation could be improved if the Education Ministry were divided into two institutions – one in charge of research and universities, the other taking care of primary and secondary schools as well as sports.
In a written testimony, Ratmír Rath, the father of the former Central Bohemian governor David Rath who is on trial for corruption, has claimed that the almost nine million crowns in cash that the police found last year in his son’s home in Hostivice belong to him. The defendant’s father was unable to attended the hearing on Wednesday for health reasons, but the testimony read out to the court stated that the money were his and his late wife’s savings, most of which Mr. Ratmír Rath earned when he worked as a doctor in Qatar in the 1990’s. The police confiscated the money during the raid last August, on suspicion that it was a bribe. David Rath and ten other defendants are on trial for bribe-taking and the manipulation of tenders in the construction and health care sectors in the Central Bohemia Region.
Mock elections are being held at nearly 400 secondary schools around the Czech Republic on Wednesday and Thursday, just over three weeks ahead of elections to the Chamber of Deputies. The project is organized by the NGO People in Need and is aimed at encouraging young people to take an interest in politics. Those aged 15 and over can take part. It is the fourth time Czech students are being asked to participate in mock elections.
The police organized crime unit inspected the Real Estate Division of the Prague 11 town hall. Although the police spokesperson confirmed that they have secured a number of documents, he was unable to give more details about the purpose of the inspection or the nature of the documents. The town hall also gave no further details, and even the opposition council members have told the press that they do not know what the police may be investigating. The opposition has criticized the town hall administration a number of times in the past for financial mismanagement.
A Czech Airlines plane flying from Budapest to Prague returned to Ferenc Liszt Airport shortly after takeoff on Wednesday morning. The pilot decided to turn the ATR-72 aircraft around after smoke was noticed onboard. The Hungarian media reported that a long smoke trail was seen behind the airplane as well. According to a Czech Airlines spokesman, one of the plane’s engines had caught fire. All 33 passengers and four crew members disembarked from the plane safely and without any injuries.
Respected pop music songwriter Zdeněk Rytíř died on Tuesday night after a long illness at the age of 69. Since the late 1960’s he wrote songs for some of the most famous pop singers of the time, including Marta Kubišová, Helena Vondráčková, Václav Neckář and Karel Gott. He also composed a number of Czech texts for covers of famous Western songs like Hey Jude or Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin'.
The National Theater in Prague has announced that it will present a special international project called 1914 on 30 April of next year to mark 100 years since the beginning of World War One. The play will be directed by the American director Robert Wilson and the script was inspired above all by Jaroslav Hašek’s novel The Good Soldier Švejk and the satirical play The Last Days of Mankind by the Bohemian born writer Karl Kraus. The creative team of the project also includes theater professionals from Slovakia and Hungary. The first round of rehearsals, which began in mid-September, will conclude this week, while the second round will take place next spring.
Temperatures went below freezing in almost half of the meteorological stations in the country on Tuesday night. The coldest measurement of -10.5 degrees Celsius was recorder in Rokytská slať in southern Bohemia. In 10 locations, record low temperatures were recorded. According to meteorologists, freezing temperatures usually begin appearing in the lowlands until the second half of October.
Viktoria Plzeň are preparing to face CSKA Moscow in a Champions League group game on Wednesday evening. The group also features Manchester City and title holders Bayern Munich, and Plzeň coach Pavel Vrba admits that his team are essentially competing against CSKA for third spot, which would give them a place in the Europa League in the New Year. The game is being held in Saint Petersburg due to problems with CSKA’s pitch.