Kateřina Valachová was officially appointed minister of education by President Miloš Zeman in Wednesday during a ceremony at Prague Castle. Valachová takes over from Marcel Chládek who was dismissed on June 5 following fresh reports of bullying his staff. Valachová, who has been appointed by the Social Democrat party, was formerly a deputy minister responsible for human rights. She said she came to a broad agreement with the head of state about the ministry’s goals during a meeting last week to pave the way for her appointment. Valachová, who is being appointed as an independent, is the first ministerial switch made by the Social Democrats in the current government.
Leader of the Czech Christian Democrats and deputy prime minister Pavel Bělobrádek has taken a slightly more open stance on the question of accepting refugees in the Czech Republic than most other political leaders. In a statement, the party leader said the country should help those who were fleeing for their lives. How many refugees the country could accept depended on its capacity to deal with them, but Bělobrádek said he estimated that capacity to be around 1,000 a year. He added that it was necessary to distinguish between political refugees and immigrants seeking a better life in more developed countries.
The upper house of the Czech parliament, the Senate, has rejected a proposal for the speed limit on certain stretches of motorway to be raised from 130 kilometres an hour to 150 kilometres an hour. The increase was suggested by the lower house. It was opposed by both the Minister of Transport and head of state, president Miloš Zeman, who said that it would cause more deaths and injuries and that he would block it. A proposal that police powers to breathalise cyclists for alcohol be taken away expect when an accident occurred was rejected by the Senate.
The 25 year old Czech who was placed in isolation in a Prague hospital after returning from South Korea with a cold and fever and was suspected of having the MERS virus has been given all the all clear. The hospital said that tests had found no trace of the killer virus. Around 20 people have died in South Korea after one of the worst outbreaks of MERS so far outside of the Middle East where it was identified in 2012.
A controversial building project in the centre of Prague has been given planning approval. The so-called “Marshmallow” a six story apartment building in pastel shades of pink, grey, and white near the St Agnes 13th century convent in Prague’s Old Town has been approved by the local authority according to public broadcaster Czech Television. Construction work cannot, however, start before an appeals are heard. The striking building has been the subject of opposition and public demonstrations by a series of protest groups.
A Czech court has ordered the Pirate Party to apologise to the international plastic children’s brick producer Lego for using their figures in a political advert two years ago. The Pirate Party screened a spot for local elections where two Lego figures were feeding thousand crown notes to fish in a pond. The fish represented the conventional political parties with the Pirates’ message that corruption could be cleared up by pulling them out. The party argued in court that the figures were similar to other toys, not just Lego, and that no real damage was caused. Lego said that it did not want to give the impression that it supported any specific political party.
A pilot edition of a new series of animated ‘Little Mole’ films will be screened for Czech president Miloš Zeman and the Chinese deputy prime minister Liu Yandong at Prague Castle on Wednesday evening. The film has been made by for Chinese public television with 52 episodes eventually targeted telling the story of how the favourite Czech animated character met up with a panda bear and finally made it all the way to China. Liu Yandong is in the Czech Republic on an official visit.
Fugitive former MP Petr Wolf says he would not be able to defend himself effectively if he were in prison. In an interview for the TV station Prima given via table, Mr. Wolf – in large sunglasses and with a full beard – suggested that his conviction on grant fraud charges may have been politically motivated. In 2008 he quit the then governing Social Democrats and backed opponents the Civic Democrats in several votes. The former politician, who insists he is innocent, went on the run in 2013 after being handed a five-year prison term and a fine of CZK 1,000,000, which he has paid.
In football, Czech and Sparta Prague defender Pavel Kadeřábek is to transfer to German league club Hoffenheim. The 23 year old has agreed a four year contract. A replacement has been found in the form of the experienced German player Markus Steinhöfer who in the past has played for Salzburg, Kaiserslautern, Basle, and Betis Sevilla. Congolese attacker Franci Litsingi has also been signed from Teplíce. Hoffenheim were eighth in the top German league last season.
The UEFA European Under-21 Championship in football gets underway in the Czech Republic at 6 PM on Wednesday evening with a curtain raiser in Prague featuring the hosts and Denmark. The biggest event of its kind ever held in the country, it will feature eight teams, with the Czech Republic and England top seeded. Games will be played in the capital, Olomouc and Uherské Hradiště. Tournament Ambassador and former European player of the year Pavel Nedvěd said he was envious that the Czech juniors were getting to perform in such a tournament on home soil.
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