News Poll finds parents less than satisfied with quality of foreign language teaching at schools

11-06-2014 16:22 | Jan Velinger

More than three-quarters of Czech parents share the opinion that their children do not get enough hours learning foreign languages both at the primary and secondary school levels, according to a new poll conducted by Data Collect. Two-thirds of those questioned also said the quality of teaching languages was erratic, varying from teacher to teacher and upon methods used. Many consequently sign their children up for afterschool lessons or find other means of bolstering learning. Of those who took part in the survey, a full 80 percent said they preferred when teachers of English used only English in the classroom. Ninety-seven percent said they wanted their children to learn English first as a second language, followed by German, Russian, French and Spanish. Two percent of parents said learning Chinese was important.

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Survey: Czech Republic has most young cannabis users in Europe

31-05-2016 12:46 | Ian Willoughby

The Czech Republic has the highest percentage of young cannabis users in Europe, according to the latest annual report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Dependency. Its survey found that over a fifth of Czechs aged 15 to 34 had used marijuana or hashish at least once in the previous year. Forty-two percent of Czechs aged 15 and 16 had some experience of those drugs, the survey found. 

Paul Simon to perform in Prague in November

31-05-2016 12:35 | Ian Willoughby

US singer-songwriter Paul Simon is set to perform at Prague’s O2 Arena on November 17, the concert’s organisers announced on Tuesday. The 1960s star will present his new LP Stranger to Stranger at the show, which will open a European tour and will be represent his first appearance in the Czech capital since 1991. 

Final film by Jan Němec among two Czech contenders for top prizes at Karlovy Vary

31-05-2016 11:09 | Ian Willoughby

The final film by director Jan Němec, who died in March at the age of 79, is to take part in the main competition at the 51st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, organisers announced on Tuesday. Němec, who first made his name as part of the Czech New Wave, partly shot The Wolf from Royal Vineyard Street (Vlk z Královských Vinohrad) at last year’s festival. There will be two locally-directed contenders for the top prize at Karlovy Vary this year, with Jan Hřebejk’s The Teacher also in the running. 

Councillors agree to ban Segways from central Prague

31-05-2016 11:08 | Ian Willoughby

Prague councillors have unanimously agreed to ban Segways from the historic centre of the city. Once a final vote has been taken on the matter the two-wheeled electric vehicles should disappear from the area’s pavements, cycle paths and pedestrian zones, where they have become a common sight in recent years. Councillors on Tuesday did not set a date for when the Segway ban will come into effect. 

Trial of US national, charged with quadruple murder, begins

31-05-2016 09:28 | Jan Velinger

The trial of US national Kevin Dahlgren, suspected of murdering relatives, a family of four in Brno-Ivanovice, almost three years ago to the day. The US citizen fled the Czech Republic to neighbouring Austria and was arrested immediately upon landing in the United States. He was later extradited to the Czech Republic; if found guilty, Mr Dahlgren faces a potential life sentence. 

Stanley Cup final: Hertl scores in opening game but Sharks lose to Penguins

31-05-2016 09:11 | Jan Velinger

Czech forward Tomáš Hertl scored one of two San Jose Shark goals on Monday in the opening game of the Stanley Cup final but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Pens outshot the Sharks 41:26 and got the game-winning goal from Nick Bonino late in the third period. The goal came with 2:33 remaining. The final score was 3:2. 

Gripens scrambled to identify aircraft

30-05-2016 17:45 | Jan Velinger

Two Jas-39 Gripen fighter jets were scrambled last Friday to identify an aircraft, the Defence Ministry revealed. The move was taken after a Spanish civilian airbus failed to reply to ground control even over the emergency frequency. The Gripen fighter jet pilots made visual contact with the pilots of the passenger jet and escorted the aircraft up to the German border. The spokesman for the Defence Ministry called similar incidents, where the pilots failed to communicate, rare. 

iDnes: Brigadier general killed in fighting near Mosul studied in Olomouc during Saddam years

30-05-2016 17:43 | Jan Velinger

A Kurdish brigadier general who fled persecution under the regime of late dictator Saddam Hussein, who held a Czech passport and had studied in Olomouc, was killed on Sunday in Iraq, the news website iDnes reports. The general, who was not named, was killed near Mosul where forces have launched an offensive to push out fighters for Daesh. According to the report, the general was shot by a terrorist fighter who had remained behind, who then detonated an explosive device, killing himself. iDnes cited details from a Kurdish news report. 

The Hockey News lists Czechs last in World Cup of Hockey power rankings

30-05-2016 15:43 | Jan Velinger

Canadian writer Ken Campbell of The Hockey News has ranked the Czech Republic’s national hockey team eighth out of eight squads to compete in the prestigious World Cup of Hockey this September. The power rankings were released after the rosters for the competition were finalised; a disclaimer in the article reminds readers not to take the rankings as predictions; rather they can be interpreted as a summary of teams’ overall strengths and weaknesses. Campbell expressed the opinion that Czechs were weakest when it came to defense but had several “serviceable” NHL forwards. He praised as “good” the goalies Michal Neuwirth and Petr Mrázek. On the list, the Czech squad boasts the second-fewest Stanley Cup rings (although a San Jose Sharks win this year would add two). Czech coach Josef Jandač, meanwhile, told idnes.cz that the team saw the situation neither bleakly nor with rose-coloured glasses, saying they knew they could only surprise. 

Two drown, third person still missing, in rafting accident on Swiss river

30-05-2016 15:05 | Jan Velinger

Two Czechs drowned and a third person is still missing following a rafting accident on Friday on the Swiss river Landquart near Küblis, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports. The three were part of a group of 10 Czech tourists on two rafts; when one overturned, two people were able to save themselves but two others were later found drowned. The fate of a 66-year-old man remains unknown but officials are not hopeful. The search has since been called off until further notice. 

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