A frontrunner to become the next minister of education has emerged in the form of the current deputy minister for legislation and human rights, Kateřina Valachová, according to several sources close to prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka given as sources by the Czech News Agency. Sobotka is said to want to put a woman in the post. Hitherto, the favourite to replace outgoing minister Marcel Chládek appeared to be the vice-rector of Charles University, Stanislav Štech. The prime minister’s office says it will not comment until after a meeting between Sobotka and the head of state, Miloš Zeman, on Friday. At the moment there is only one woman in the Cabinet appointed by the Social Democrats.
Czechs 15-16 year olds lead the rest of Europe for the percentage having tried marihuana, according a report released Thursday by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Forty-two percent of Czechs in that age group said they had tried ‘pot,’ a figure giving them a three percentage point lead on their French peers in the same age category. Around a third of Spanish students admitted smoking pot, putting them in third place. Young Czechs were also among the top users of ecstasy with around three percent saying they had popped a pill in the last year, around twice the European average.
Czech Lucie Šafářová has won her way to the final of the French Open women’s singles final. She beat seventh seed Ana Ivanovic 7:5, 7:5. The Czech came back from 2:5 in the first set to win the next five games in a row and the set 7:5. In a tense second set, Šafářová failed to convert a first match point at 5:4 in the second set. She came back to break serve and converted her third match point to take the match. It is Šafářová’s first singles Grand Slam final.
A Czech journalist, Jakub Kalenský, has been selected to join the team being put together by the European foreign policy chief to counter Russian propaganda, the Czech News Agency reported citing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The new team is being put together at the European External Action Service, the department headed by European representative for foreign affairs ,Federica Mogherini. EU leaders decided in March to challenge what was described as Russia’s misinformation campaign. Kalenský has been working for the business daily Hospodářske Noviny.
Blanket vaccination of children in the Prague 6 district against hepatitis A has been recommended by health officials following a serious incident of water contamination. Children between 12 months old and 15 years will qualify for free vaccinations from Friday. Around 32,000 people, including around 4,000 children, are believed to be at risk after drinking contaminated tap water in the area at the end of May. The contamination occurred when sewage water is believed to have seeped into a pipe carrying water for public consumption. The Prague Waterworks Company is now facing thousands of demands for compensation.
The Czech Ministry of Transport has performed an about turn on its intention to cancel the rental contract for the Czech owned docks at Hamburg with local company Eko Logistics. The move to cancel the contract running until 2022 was announced in April but the company hit back saying that it would seek damages. A ministry spokesman told the Czech News Agency Thursday that the ministry and company are now seeking to work together to try and renew and rebuild the site, some of whose building have fallen into ruin.
One of the main Czech rock festivals of the year, Rock for People, starts its three-day run at Hradec Králové on Thursday. The bill is topped this year by the bands Faith No More, Bastille, and Limp Bizkit, and Three Days Grace. Last year, around 27,000 people visited the festival. Organisers are hoping this year’s high profile line-up will attract around 30,000.
The Belgian film ‘Birds of Passage’, ‘Cuban Behaviour’ and Afghanistan’s ‘Mina’ picked up the most awards at this year’s International Festival for Children and Youth in Zlín on Wednesday. The festival, which was held for the 55th time, attracted a record 120,000 visitors this year. It has screened more than 360 films from 50 countries.
Wednesday marked the first tropical day of this year, according to the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute. Temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius at 28 monitoring stations across the country. The highest temperature, over 32 degrees Celsius, was recorded in Brno. Meteorologists have also warned of a heightened risk of fires due to hot and dry weather. The first rainfall is expected to come at the end of the week.
A Czech finalist in the Women’s Doubles is a certainty with the pairing of Lucie Šafářová and US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands due to face Czechs Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká in the semi-finals. The Czech-US pair beat number one seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza 7:5, 6:2. Hradecká will also playing in the mixed finals where she and partner Marcin Matkowsi will face second seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Mike Bryan.