News Czech pupils score worse in school leaving exams
Czech school leavers performed worse in their written tests this year than last, according to results announced by the education ministry. Around 24 percent of the around 87,500 pupils taking the end of high school exams in maths failed. Failure rates for other subjects were much lower with foreign languages at 3.6 percent and Czech language at 2.7 percent with the overall failure rate at 11 percent. Last year the failure rate for maths was just over 20 percent with lower figures also for foreign languages and Czech as well. Minister of Education Marcel Chládek has pledged to improve the teaching of maths in schools and the training of maths teachers. He also wants to find some way of making maths compulsory as ever greater number of pupils are giving priority to other subjects at its expense.
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Members of the controversial Bloc Against Islam, dissolved the movement on Saturday at their national congress in the Czech capital. Instead, they formed a new grouping carrying the name of its leader: Iniciativa Martina Konvičky (Martin Konvička Initiative). Not all members were in favor; one group of delegates left the proceedings in protest. The now defunct Bloc Against Islam originally signed an agreement to cooperate with the upstart Dawn Party in upcoming elections but withdrew from the contract in April. The Dawn Party is seeking financial compensation for alleged damages suffered.
Lebanese national Faouz Jaber was secretly extradited to the US to the Czech Republic weeks ago in connection with suspected terrorism charges, the weekly Právo reports. The move, confirmed by the police, was reportedly kept quiet for security reasons. Faouz Jaber was one of three people wanted by the United States, but earlier two other Lebanese citizens were allowed to return to their homeland in exchange for five Czechs held for more than half a year in that country. That move sparked sharp criticism of the Czech action from US authorities. They wanted to question the trio in connected with a suspected drugs for arms involving the FARC guerrilla movement in Colombia.
Repairs on railway track damaged in Prague after a passenger train derailed on Friday between the Vršovice and main train stations are underway and expected to continue over the weekend. The derailment of the train, not carrying passenger at the time, caused damage estimated at around 880,000 crowns. The accident blocked the use of two of four tracks, affecting connections throughout the day.
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecká, 21, was declared the overall winner of this year's King of the Snow Trail (Král bíle stopy) competition on Friday evening. Winners are chosen by experts, trainers, and sport journalists. Ledecká had a dream season in 2015-16: she was the overall winner on the World Cup circuit in parallel slalom snowbaording and is the first Czech to also win the parallel giant slalom at the FIS Snowboard World Cup.
Construction workers will begin renovation on a nine kilometre stretch of the country's D1 highway connecting Prague and Brno. Repairs on the stretch of road are to last until August 21, and traffic is to be limited to three lanes - two of them one way, the other in the opposite direction. Workers will be removing and replacing a 30 centimetre high concrete layer. Renovation of what in total has been a roughly 30 kilometre stretch on the D1 between Výškov and Brno began in 2012; other repairs are taking place elsewhere on the D1, for example outside of Prague. A combination of the repairs and traffic accidents in the summer contributes at times to traffic jams and prolonged delays on the country's main throughway.
Members of a US military convoy, greeted by Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces Josef Bečvář and the US ambassador to Prague Andrew Shapiro on Friday, continued on their journey on Saturday morning to Výškov and Přáslavice. The convoy is on its way to exercises in the Baltic states. Czech army vehicles are due to join the convoy on Saturday, when Czech and US soldiers will get a chance to familiarize themselves with the different equipment being used. The US convoy is expected to quit Czech territory on Monday morning.
The Czech national football team defeated Malta easily by a score of 6:0 in their friendly on Friday afternoon. The goals, three in each half, were scored by Plašil, Škoda, Hubník, Lafata, Necid, and 20-year-old Patrik Schick, making his national team debut. The match also saw the long-awaited return of team captain Tomáš Rosický. Goalkeeper Petr Čech earned his 119th start - a national team record, one better than retired player Karel Poborský. The squad will face a considerably tougher opponent, Russia, in another pre-Euro 2016 friendly next week.
Czech top woman singles player Petra Kvitová has been eliminated from the
French Open in the third round. Kvitová lost 0:6, 7:6, 0:6 to US player
Shelby Rogers, Rogers already knocked out Czech Karolína Plíšková in
the first round. Kvitová’s form has been indifferent since the start of
the year with the player only recently recruiting a new trainer.
Last year’s Czech finalist Lucie Šafářová also lost to Australian Samantha Stosur 3:6, 7:6, 5:7 and Barbora Strycová lost on Friday at the French Open despite taking the first set against the second-seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The match included an exciting exchange between the opponents which saw both slip to the ground before Strycová won the point. The final score was 6-2, 6-7 (6), 6-2.
The Prague Bar Association and state prosecutors have said they are looking into controversial comments by lawyer Klára Samková. Samková compared Islam during a seminar in the lower house of parliament on May 18 to Nazism and Communism. The comments prompted a walk out by the Turkish ambassador and representatives of other Islamic countries attending. The bar council says it is examining whether the comments were in conflict with its ethical code and the prosecutor for Prague 1 into whether they represented a criminal offense. Samková later suggested the Turkish ambassador should be expelled from the Czech Republic.
Train chaos has been caused after part of an empty passenger train derailed between Prague’s main train station and the suburb of Vršovice. Many local and long distance train services out of the capital have now been switched to other stations because of the closure of the key lines. Delays are expected to continue throughout the day before the problem can be dealt with.