News Head of Grant Agency resigns citing lobbyist pressure
The head of the Czech Grant Agency Petr Matějů has resigned from office. Mr. Matějů, who has held the post for six years, said he was resigning due to growing lobbyist pressure from various interest groups who were striving to gain control the agency. He accused these lobbyists of being behind orchestrated smear campaigns which cast doubts on the transparency of the agency’s policy of allocating grants for science and research projects.
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The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, is to present George Brady with the Karel Kramář Memorial Medal. In a statement, the PM said that the mayor of Mr. Brady’s hometown of Nové Město na Moravě had requested that he honour the 88-year-old in that way. The news follows a backlash after reports that the president’s office had struck Mr. Brady off a list of people to get high state honours later this week. Mr. Sobotka said the Canadian citizen deserved the medal for the courage he had shown during the Holocaust and his educational activities.
It should be cloudy with some fair spells on Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 11 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs should remain roughly the same for the rest of the week, though rain is also due.
The Chamber of Deputies will honour George Brady at a ceremonial gathering on Thursday morning. Mr. Brady is to receive a commemorative medal and a commemorative certificate, the speaker of the lower house, Jan Hamáček, told the Czech News Agency. The president’s office is accused of removing Mr. Brady from a list of recipients of state honours on October 28 after his nephew, arts minister Daniel Herman, received the Dalai Lama. The idea of honouring the 88-year-old Holocaust survivor was put forward at the weekend by Civic Democrat MP Miroslava Němcová after the scandal broke. The president’s office denies any wrongdoing.
Christian Democrat deputies and senators are to stay away from a state honours ceremony at Prague Castle on October 28. Party leader Pavel Bělobrádek said the event had degenerated into undignified politicking and the settling of personal scores. The announcement follows a scandal linked to the alleged removal of George Brady from a list of recipients of honours after his nephew, Christian Democrat arts minister Daniel Herman, received the Dalai Lama. However, Mr. Bělobrádek welcomed a suggestion that the president’s office could present Mr. Brady with an award on a different occasion. Many legislators from other parties will also boycott Friday’s ceremony.
Police have proposed that a man accused of throwing an egg at President Miloš Zeman face charges. The man faces up to two years in prison for disorderly conduct over the incident, which took place on the November 17 state holiday last year. A number of missiles were thrown at a stage at Prague’s Albertov, where Mr. Zeman appeared at an event alongside the leader of an anti-Muslim group. A state attorney will now consider whether to file charges against the man, who was not arrested on the spot.
President Miloš Zeman says he is considering presenting an award to George Brady at an appropriate occasion. Speaking via his spokesman, Mr. Zeman said this would be a “gesture of good will”. The president’s office is accused of removing Mr. Brady – a Czech-born Holocaust survivor – from a list of recipients of state honours on October 28 after his nephew, arts minister Daniel Herman, received the Dalai Lama. Mr. Herman says the president made the honour conditional on the meeting with the Tibetan not going ahead. Mr. Zeman’s office denies this. Mr. Brady, who is 88, says he is not interested in receiving an honour from the president.
The 20th edition of the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival has got underway in the Vysočina town. Among the guests this year at the country’s most important documentary event will be US experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison and Mike Bonanno of activist duo the Yes Men. American psychologist Philip Zimbardo, well-known for a 1970s “prison experiment”, will appear at Jihlava’s Inspiration Forum. The festival runs until Monday.
The state budget will end in surplus this year, the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, said on Tuesday. Mr. Babiš said that would be the best budget result since the Czech Republic was founded in 1993. In addition, state debt has fallen for the first time since 2011. The minister chiefly attributed the positive figures to more effective tax collection.
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková got off to a winning start at her debut at the WTA Finals in Singapore, defeating Spanish-Venezuelan opponent Garbine Muguruza. The match was a dramatic one: Plíšková, ranked fifth in the the world, came back from 4-0 in the third set and saved a match point. The final score was 6-2, 6-7,7-5.
The government has approved a bill which will allow ‘second-parent adoption’ in the Czech Republic, granting the non-biological partner in registered same-sex partnerships the same legal rights to the child. The issue has been discussed for several years and earlier proposals were tabled in the past. A recent poll by the CVVM agency suggested that more than three-fifths of Czechs were in favour.