News Education Ministry to ban unhealthy foods from schools
The Ministry of Education has announced plans to ban the sale of unhealthy foods at Czech schools. Minister Marcel Chládek said on Tuesday that the ban – which also concerns drinks – would come into effect either at the start of the next school year or in January 2015. Mr. Chládek said he had been disturbed by a recent survey that found that 86 percent of vending machines in schools offered chocolate bars and sweets, while over half contained sandwiches and 19 percent sold crisps. The ban is part of an Education Ministry strategy to foster healthy life styles among the young.
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Changes to the Czech civil service law are being prepared in an attempt to streamline recruitment and fill many gaps in ministries and other state bodies. The current procedures are regarded as overly complicated and time consuming. At the moment there are many vacancies in government departments. The Ministry of Justice is one of the worst cases with around 100 vacancies, comprising around 50 lawyers and a dozen IT specialists. Selection procedures often last up to three months or more. The civil service law was brought in after the Czech Republic dragged its heels for years in meeting EU demands that it put in place a professional civil service.
The Ministry of Interior is working on a new set of rules over unpaid police overtime, according to Czech Television. The rules are likely to continue the practice that police can be called on to work for free during exceptional or crisis situations. Police overtime has been a cause of friction in the past with the police winning a Supreme Administrative Court judgement over excessive and free overtime. Police say the situation has since improved generally but for some special units, such as that tasked with protecting state figures and embassies, there has not been much change.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said no Czechs are believed to be among the victims of a shooting spree at a shopping centre in Munich, Germany, on Friday evening. Nine people were killed and the gunman, believed to be a 19-year-old German-Iranian, then turned the gun on himself. Around 21 people were injured. Czech police stepped up police patrols in shopping centres and increased border security after the incident. The motive for the attack is not yet known. The increased Czech border checks were cancelled Saturday.
A ceremony and commemorative events marked the 150th anniversary on Saturday of the ceasefire between the Austrian Empire and Prussia at Mikulov castle in South Moravia. The ceasefire signed at the castle in the presence of the Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck brought to an end the short lived but bloody conflict between the two powers. The decisive battle was fought at Hradec Králové. An exhibition at the castle includes the table where the ceasefire was signed. The war established Prussia as the leading Germanic power in Europe.
Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec said on his Twitter account Saturday that there is no suggestion that a specific terrorist or other threat applies to the Czech Republic at the moment. He added that the latest information from Germany was awaited after the Munich shootings on Friday evening. A meeting of Czech interior ministry, police, and security service officials is scheduled on Saturday afternoon to evaluate the security situation. At the moment a level one security alert applies to the country. That has been in place since the Brussels attacks in March. A one to four, with four the highest, security evaluation is in place.
Minister of Transport Dan Tok has called for a ban on motor vessels at 16 locations on the Slapy and Orlík reservoirs. He also wants to recommended a 10 km/hour speed limit be put in place in adjoining areas. The move follows an incident at the start of the month where two craft collided with a young girl later dying from her injuries. Rules for craft on rivers and lakes were relaxed last year but this has resulted in criticism of reckless behaviour and the greater risk of accidents and deaths as a result.
The total Czech state debt has climbed by around 18 billion crowns in the first half of the year according to the Ministry of Finance. That means the total debt now stands at 1.691 trillion crowns or around 160,000 crowns for every single Czech citizen. The Ministry of Finance said the debt total had climbed as the result of more state bonds being issued because of the favourable financial situation.
The European Commission has warned the Czech Republic that it will take the country before the European Court of Justice over its alleged refusal to take back waste sent to Poland. The Commission made its announcement Friday, saying that the Czech Republic is obliged to take back dangerous waste. But the Czech Republic has and says it will continue to contend the description of the waste, arguing that it is a fuel mix and not dangerous. A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Environment said that Prague is fully prepared to defend itself in court. The Commission has been dealing with the case since November 2014.
Czech javelin thrower Jakub Vadlejch has won his first Diamond League event. He threw 85.72 metres at the event in London in his second series of throws, ending up more than two metres ahead of reigning Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott. Previously, a second place was Vadlejch’s best placing in the top athletic series of competitions.
Police say they have charged a 33-year-old woman in connection with the murder in a Prague shopping centre of another woman on Thursday. The woman was reportedly stabbed to death with a weapon found in the Tesco store in the Smichov district. Police said the murder suspect had been released earlier in the day from a Prague psychiatric hospital where she had been undergoing treatment. The Ministry of Health has demanded to be informed about the results of the investigation being carried out by the hospital. The woman is currently being held in police custody.