News Education minister says nothing wrong with wearing hijab in class
Education Minister Marcel Chládek has said he sees nothing wrong with Muslim girls wearing the hijab in class, although he would stop short of allowing a fully covered-face which might be seen as problematic for security reasons. He said the ministry was not going to issue any recommendation in the matter for the time being and it would be up to individual schools to decide what they would or would not allow. The comment comes in the midst of a heated public debate on whether students should be allowed to wear religious symbols in the classroom.
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In ice hockey, the Czech squad departed for the world championship in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Wednesday. The championships begin on Friday. Czech coach Vladimír Vůjtek admitted at Prague airport that the squad is different from what he might have hoped for because some players were unavailable but that the Czechs were still capable of challenging for medals. The Czech team lost 3:0 to Canada in the last warm up game before the championships on Tuesday night.
A large number of lower house members of parliament surprising backed a motion to debate a Czech referendum on leaving the European Union on Tuesday, the daily Mladá Fronta Dnes reported Wednesday. It said 96 out of 169 members backed putting the issue on the agenda for debate this session. The move was even backed by some lawmakers from the governing Social Democrat and ANO parties, it reported.
Trading in New World Resources, the company owning the mining company OKD, were suspended from trading on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday. The ČTK news agency reported that NWR is attempting to get trading suspended on the Prague and Warsaw exchanges as well. Shares in NWR lost around 20% of their value on the Prague exchange at opening on Wednesday where they were trading at 8 halers each.
The Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, leaders of the other two government coalition parties, Ministers for Industry and Trade, Labour and Social Affairs, and Justice met on Wednesday to discuss the situation surrounding the hard coal mining company OKD. The mining company, which employs around 12,000, on Tuesday filed for insolvency with debts of around 17 billion crowns. Sobotka said later the government wants to stabilize the situation around OKD and ensure operations can continue. One of the main issues now being focused on is who the court will name as insolvency manager. This could have a major influence on how the company is managed in the interim before its final fate is resolved. Minister of Justice Robert Pelikán told Czech Television on Tuesday that the government wanted some say in the naming of the insolvency manager.
Organisers say 10,000 people have already registered to take part in this year’s To Work By Bike drive, for which the closing date for registration is May 8. Last year nearly 7,000 people took part in the nationwide event, which is organised by the Auto*Mat civic group. Among those participating in the sixth edition has been the minister of transport, Dan Ťok, who on Tuesday cycled to work for the first time.
Among the winners of the Czech Journalism Prize for 2015 were Hospodářské noviny columnist Petr Honzejk, Martin Veselovský of online debate show DVTV and Magdalena Sodomková from Lidové noviny. Thirteen journalists received awards at Tuesday evening’s presentation ceremony in Prague. The Journalism Prize is bestowed by the Open Society Fund Prague. Jury members said a high number of the 360 pieces of journalism they had considered concerned the migrant crisis.
The European Union can only offer Turkey visa liberalisation if it fulfils a number of conditions, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday. The BBC reported that the European Commission was planning to offer visa-free travel for Turkish citizens inside the Schengen zone in exchange for Turkey taking back migrants who crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece. In a tweet Mr. Sobotka also said the Czech Republic opposed quotas and sanctions for failing to fulfil them. The Financial Times said on Tuesday that EU members would have to pay a EUR 250,000 charge for every asylum seeker that they rejected. The Czech foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek earlier said that he had told Johannes Hahn, the European commissioner for European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations, that Prague was concerned about the Commission’s plans for a new relocation mechanism for the distribution of migrants.
Only 26 percent of Czechs believe that the decisions of the European Union are in their country’s interests, suggests an opinion poll conducted by the CVVM agency. The same survey last year indicated that almost a third of Czechs shared that view. CVVM said the change was due to critical perceptions of the EU’s handling of the migrant crisis. Some 60 percent of respondents in the latest poll agreed that the EU defends democratic values and that EU integration is beneficial to the defence of the state and the environment.
The mining company OKD has filed for bankruptcy, a spokesperson announced after a board meeting on Tuesday. The Czech government had rejected appeals from the firm – which employs around 10,000 people – for financial support to help it close lossmaking mines and restructure its business. OKD’s mines in North Moravia are set to keep running. CEO Dale Ekmark said the company lacked the funds to carry on and blamed the situation on historically low coal prices.
The traditional pub Baráčnická rychta in Prague’s Malá Strana district is set for closure at the end of June, E15 reported. The old society of baráčníks (cottage owners) to which the pub belongs failed to reach agreement on extending the contract of the current operator and instead made a deal to lease it to an upmarket Italian-owned hotel located next door, the newspaper said. A hall joined to the pub is a well-known venue for social events and concerts.