News Czech pupils score worse in school leaving exams

15-05-2014 16:39 | Chris Johnstone

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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Social Democrats buy debt of lawyer they owe enormous sum

25-06-2016 19:17 | Ian Willoughby

The Social Democrats have bought a CZK 5 million debt of lawyer Zdeněk Altner, with whom they are locked in a legal dispute, and launched distraint proceedings against him. A spokesperson for the party said this would improve their position with regard to Mr. Altner, to whom they have been ordered to pay a huge sum. Mr. Altner’s legal representative said the move would not impact the case between his client and the Social Democrats, while the lawyer himself described the move as base. Earlier this year the Social Democrats were ordered to pay Mr. Altner CZK 377 million in connection with his representation in a case surrounding the party’s headquarters. 

Plíšková loses Czech-Slovak Eastbourne final to Cibulková

25-06-2016 16:48 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková was beaten in the final of the UK’s Eastbourne tournament on Saturday by Dominika Cibulková of Slovakia. The 5-7 3-6 defeat denied Plíšková her second WTA title of the season and despite reaching the final at Eastbourne she is set to remain at 17th in the world rankings. 

Sobotka: Europe may pay high price for Cameron’s Brexit vote pledge

25-06-2016 15:56 | Ian Willoughby

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says Europe may pay an excessively high price for his UK counterpart David Cameron’s pledge to hold an EU referendum in order to unify his Conservative Party prior to elections. Speaking a day after the UK’s vote to leave sent shockwaves around the bloc, Mr. Sobotka said that would had happened was not the end of European integration – just the end of the UK in the EU. The Czech leader said the main thing now was agreeing co-existence with Great Britain under conditions advantageous to the Czech Republic; the priority is ensuring the maintenance of smooth exports and good conditions for Czechs working in the UK, he said. 

Czech Republic in line to join European Space Agency programme

25-06-2016 15:45 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic is likely to join the prestigious Ariane and Vega space programme run by the European Space Agency at the start of July, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has pledged to provide financial backing, saying he wished to support the country’s orientation in the aviation and space industries. Czech firms and researchers are expected to take part in the development, testing and production of parts for the Ariane 6 launch vehicle, whose first test flight is scheduled for 2020. A spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Transport said the country would come on board once the move had been approved by existing ESA members. 

Passenger-less train crashes at Brno station

25-06-2016 09:31 | Ian Willoughby

An express train crashed into a shunting locomotive at Brno’s Main Train Station on Saturday morning. The train was not carrying passengers at the time. The train’s locomotive derailed after the driver went through a signal, crashing into the shunting locomotive and causing injuries to its driver. Czech Railways officials put the damage at around CZK 3 million. 

High temperatures due to end with storms on Saturday

25-06-2016 08:24 | Ian Willoughby

Forecasters have warned of major storms in the Czech Republic on Saturday. After record-breaking temperatures on Thursday and Friday, heavy downpours, hailstones and wind storms are expected to hit between 3 PM and 3 AM. Bohemia will be most affected with storms also likely in parts of Moravia and Silesia slightly later. Temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius should then fall to between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius, meteorologist Štefan Handžák told Czech Radio. 

Parts of Prague Castle closed off for Zeman advisor’s party

25-06-2016 08:12 | Ian Willoughby

Parts of Prague Castle were closed on Friday evening for the birthday party of Martin Nejedlý, chief advisor to President Miloš Zeman. The head of state was among the well-wishers at the event hosted by Mr. Nejedlý, who headed a Czech branch of Lukoil, at the Queen Anne’s Summer Palace and adjacent Royal Gardens. They had never previously been rented out for a private or commercial event, Novinky.cz reported. Also in attendance at the party were cabinet ministers, two former prime ministers and the Russian ambassador. 

Brexit dominates talks between Czech Prime Minister and Austrian Chancellor

24-06-2016 17:55 | Ruth Fraňková

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who is on a two-day working visit to Austria, met with the country’s Chancellor Christian Kern on Friday. Mr Kern said after the meeting that the talks were dominated by Britain’s decision to leave the EU. The Czech Prime Minister stressed that it was essential for the central European countries to strengthen good mutual relationships, especially in view of Brexit. The two politicians also discussed European issues, the migrant crisis, transport infrastructure and energy security. 

Police seized record amount of pervitin in 2015

24-06-2016 16:49 | Ruth Fraňková

Police seized over 107 kilogrammes of pervitin last year, the largest amount in the history of the anti-drug squad and twice the amount seized in the previous year, according to the annual report by the National anti-drug headquarters quoted by the Czech News Agency on Friday. The police also took hold of over 655 kilos of marihuana and over 120 kilos of cocaine. According to experts, the illegal drug business is fuelled by growing demand for pervitin in neighbouring countries. In recent years, the large-scale production of pervitin has been dominated mostly by Vietnamese gangs, which aim at exporting the drug abroad. 

Temperature records broken around Czech Republic

24-06-2016 15:52 | Ruth Fraňková

The tropical heatwave that arrived in the Czech Republic this week has been breaking temperature records around the country. More than 15 monitoring stations on Thursday recorded the highest ever measurements for the day. The highest temperature, 32.9 degrees Celsius, was recorded in Žatec. Meteorologists have warned that the heatwave will be followed by heavy storms, which are expected to arrive in the country on Saturday afternoon and could be accompanied by hail and torrential rain. 

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