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Local council denies honorary citizenship to František Kriegel

Prague 2 district council on Monday rejected the proposal to make 1968 invasion hero František Kriegel an honorary citizen. Kriegel was the only member of a government delegation in 1968 who refused to sign a declaration approving the Warsaw Pact invasion of former Czechoslovakia. The controversial proposal from independent councillor Michal Uhl has divided the council. Centre-right members of the Civic Democrats and TOP 09 have argued that Kriegel’s active involvement in the Communist coup brought the party to power in February 1948. Kriegel, who also participated in the Spanish civil war, died in Prague in 1979.

Right-wing opposition agrees with civil service law draft

The right-wing opposition parties TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats are ready to support the draft of a new civil service law, TOP 09 deputy Martin Plíšek told the CTK news agency on Monday. The new proposal reflects a compromise agreement reached with the coalition. It doesn’t include the establishment of a public service directorate and an independent public service top official who would govern public administration and be immune from political interference. Under the new proposal, the civil service would fall under the interior ministry, and be overseen by a deputy minister in charge of public administration. The coalition and opposition parties will meet on Wednesday for further discussion of the draft law.

Amnesty authorship dispute ends with court settlement

A court dispute over the authorship of ex-president Václav Klaus’ controversial 2013 amnesty has ended with a settlement. Lawyer Pavel Hasenkopf, who filed a law suit against the Office of the President for claiming that he was one of the authors of the amnesty, on Monday agreed to a formal apology. He also withdrew his demand for financial compensation. Prague’s Municipal Court ruled that the text denying Mr Hasenkopf’s authorship has to be published on the website of the Office of the President as well as by the CTK news agency. The amnesty which Václav Klaus declared at the end of his second term in office saw the release of over 111,000 prisoners and halted the prosecution of a number of high-profile cases of large-scale corruption and financial fraud.

Office of Education Ombudsman to open in September

The Czech Ministry of Education will set up an office of Education Ombudsman, the news site Deník reports. The new post is to be filled by former education minister Eduard Zeman in mid-September. The Education Ombudsman’s role will be to help parents, students and teachers with problems they encounter in schools and to serve as a mediator between the ministry and schools. The Ministry of Education set up the office in response to an increasing number of complaints.

Government to offer troops for Afghan and Mali missions

The Czech government is ready to offer its forces for NATO missions in Mali and Afghanistan in the next two years, prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said at the start of a five-day meeting with Czech ambassadors, adding that Czech aircraft will also be offered to protect NATO airspace. According to the prime minister the government will present a final proposal on the country’s foreign missions to Parliament by the end of this year. Minister of Foreign Affairs Lubomír Zaorálek said that Czech participation in foreign missions needs to have a clear political goal. There are currently 300 Czechs serving in Afghanistan, 38 in Mali and 14 are taking part in the international observer mission in the Sinai.

Police investigate deaths in Rumburk hospital

Police are looking into the deaths of several patients at a hospital in Rumburk, North Bohemia, after a former nurse was charged with murder on suspicion of euthanasia, the ctk news agency reports. The nurse allegedly gave a 70-year-old cancer patient higher amounts of drugs in order to speed up her demise. Police suspect she may have previously overdosed other patients who were in her care.

Olomouc to have new centre for human movement research

Palacký University in Olomouc on Monday launched the construction of a new centre for kinanthropology research, which focuses on the research of human movement. The construction of BALUO, which stands for ‘Bases of Application Life Utilities Olomouc’, will cost some 285 million crowns, most of which will be covered from EU funds. Apart from research, the new campus should help in developing new sports and rehabilitation equipment. The BALUO centre is to be finished by 2016 and will be open to commercial research as well.

Woman sustains serious head injuries after fall from Ferris wheel

A 35-year-old woman sustained serious head injuries after falling from a Ferris wheel at a funfair in the town of Heřmanův Městec in East Bohemia on Sunday. She was taken by helicopter to a hospital in Hradec Králové. A nine-year-old girl was also injured in the incident, though police said it was not clear how and appealed for witnesses. Novinky.cz reported that the woman and a friend had caused their car to swing at a height of around 10 metres, leading to the woman to falling out while her daughter was left hanging from a railing until she was helped down.

Champions Sparta lose second league game in row for first time in two years

Czech title-holders Sparta Prague lost for the second time in a row in the league on Sunday night, going down 1:0 away to city rivals Dukla Prague. The only goal of the game was scored by Tomáš Berger, son of the Sparta legend Jan Berger. Despite their first successive league defeats for two years Sparta remain just three points behind leaders Slavia in fourth place.

Sunday night coldest this summer

Sunday night has been the coldest this summer so far, with temperatures dropping below zero in many parts of the country. The lowest temperature, -4.2 degrees Celsius, was recorded in Horská Kvilda in the Šumava Mountains. Records were broken in more the 40 meteorological stations around the Czech Republic. According to the weather forecast, temperatures should stay above zero for the rest of the week.