News Funerals of two soldiers to take place in East Bohemia
The funerals of two of the Czech soldiers were due to take place on Friday. Full military honours were given for 39-year-old corporal Jan Šenkýř at Hradec Králové in the morning. He was promoted in memorium to rank warrant officer. Around 1,000 people attended the ceremony. The funeral of 19 year old corporal Libor Ligač was due to be held not far away at Týniště nad Orlicí on Friday afternoon. Funerals of the remaining two soldiers still have to take place.
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Some unqualified teachers will be allowed to remain in the Czech school system after the Senate on Wednesday approved an amendment making an exception for experienced teachers, specialists who have worked in a particular field and native speakers. Other teachers lacking the requisite certificate will be allowed to work at schools unable to find qualified staff. The legislation now requires the signature of the president. Education Minister Marcel Chládek said around 18,000 teachers had not fulfilled a requirement to acquire a qualification in a 10-year grace period and that without the amendment there would be a shortage of teachers.
The Chamber of Deputies has returned a government civil service bill to a second reading after the coalition agreed to adopt changes demanded by the opposition; this includes dropping a proposal for a chief civil servant whose office would control the entire system. The legislation is aimed at depoliticising the civil service and enabling the increased usage of available European Union funds. MPs are expected to debate the bill again on September 10. The prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said even if President Miloš Zeman vetoes the bill it should come into force from the start of next year.
The manager of Sparta Prague, Vítězslav Lavička, could lose his job if the Czech football league champions fail to reach the Europa League group stage, the Czech News Agency reported. Sparta drew 1:1 with Zwolle in the first leg of a playoff tie last week and will welcome the Dutch side at their Letná stadium on Thursday for the second. Sparta have been performing poorly since being knocked out in qualification for the more prestigious Champions League and have lost their last two matches in the domestic league.
A short-list of three nominees for the 2014 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize has been revealed in Prague. The award will go to either the B'Tselem Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in Israel, the Jesuit Refugee Service in Malta or Anar Mammadli, a human rights activist from Azerbaijan whose work focuses on election monitoring. The winner of the second edition of the award will be revealed on September 29. It is presented by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Charter 77 Foundation and the Václav Havel Library.
Police have revealed information about a man they suspect of carrying out an acid attack on a woman in Prague on Tuesday. A search has been launched for Milan Balamuta who is suspected of pouring acid from a plastic bottle on the woman, who is 50 and his former girlfriend, in the lobby of her apartment building in the city’s Michle district before making off with her bag and mobile phone. Police said the suspect also went by different names and had a history of burglary.
The Czech Foreign Ministry is planning to improve visa services through outsourcing in over a dozen states where the process is hampered by limited consulate staff. The ministry is now selecting local firms who would pre-process applications and increase the number of visa-application points. The new service should see the opening of 25 visa centres in countries such as China, India, Turkey and South Africa.
The European Commission has adopted a partnership agreement for European structural and investment funds submitted by the Czech government. The document, which took three years to negotiate, determines the country’ s investment strategy for the next six year period. It paves the way for the drawing of over 22 billion euros which are to be used to create new jobs, boost competitiveness, fight social exclusion and support environmental protection projects.
President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday received Czech ambassadors from around the world at Prague Castle. The president highlighted the growing significance of economic diplomacy, particularly in view of the Ukrainian crisis, and said he considered it a success that Czech representatives in Brussels had helped moderate the scope of the EU’s anti-Russian sanctions in favour of Czech exporters. The president also stressed the need to diversify the country’s export strategy and seek new markets further afield. In connection with developments in Iraq, the Czech head of state said international terrorism must be fought on all fronts.
The Czech Health Ministry has requested a complete list of Czech nationals working in countries with Ebola outbreaks as well as Czech students studying in high-risk areas in order to take effective measures against the possible spread of the disease in the Czech Republic. Prague’s Bulovka hospital has the facilities to treat highly infectious diseases and its staff is on standby for a possible emergency, but the Health Ministry says the Czech Republic would not have the facilities required to transfer Ebola patients home from African states should that prove necessary.
Czechs are buying an increasing amount of Fairtrade products, Fairtrade Czech Republic director Hana Chorvátová said at a press conference in Prague on Tuesday. While in 2005 Czechs only bought 3 million crowns worth of fairtrade goods, last year the amount rose to 174 million crowns. By far the most popular fairtrade commodity on the market is coffee.