News Staggering number of underqualified teachers
An audit into the education system has revealed that 17,000 teachers at primary and secondary schools are underqualified. Education Minister Marcel Chládek said he was shocked by the statistics and was taking measures to correct the situation. Approximately 7,000 underqualified teachers will have to leave their posts, 6,000 are already working on upgrading their qualification and another 4,000 have promised to do so without delay. Exceptions have been made for teachers over 60 who have taught for at least 15 years.
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TOP 09's Karel Schwarzenberg, due to step down as party leader, has said that in the migrant crisis the Czech Republic, the EU and even his party faced the challenge of a generation, the same way predecessors had to deal with the realities of Nazism or communist rule. At his speech at his party's congress in Prague on Saturday, the former foreign minister, who has long championed human rights, said it was important to be open and friendly to refugees, suggesting anyone could become a refugee under certain circumstances. He added that the 25 year period following the Velvet Revolution had been golden but that it had ended. After his speech, he told journalists that he was disgusted by President Miloš Zeman's position on migrants; Mr Schwarzenberg went head-to-head against the current head of state in the presidential election in 2013.
The leader of TOP 09 Karel Schwarzenberg, 77, is to step down as chairman and pass the baton to deputy chairman Miroslav Kalousek at the party's congress launched in Prague on Saturday. The former foreign minister and presidential candidate is stepping down after successfully leading TOP 09 to third place in elections in 2010, not long after the party was formed. TOP 09, now in the opposition, was in the former government of Petr Nečas with the Civic Democrats and Public Affairs. Giving up the post, Mr Schwarzenberg will be named honorary chairman. The new party leader, Miroslav Kalousek, 54, is a seasoned politician who twice served as finance minister.
Air quality in smog-hit Moravia and Silesia improved on Saturday although all 14 measuring sites still measured levels of particulate matter higher than existing limits. Prior, levels had progressed to twice the legal amount, the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute said. The region of Moravia-Silesia regularly suffers from poor air quality related to heavy industry and other factors.
Police have shelved charges filed by the the Minister for Regional Development earlier this year over the alleged past manipulation of public tenders at the state agency for tourism, CzechTourism. Minister Karla Šlechtová filed charges against unknown perpetrators in March. The police, however, did not find evidence that any crime had been committed. CzechTourism is tasked with promoting travel in the Czech Republic, both at home and abroad.
Members of the government are to take part in a special meeting to discuss security in the Czech Republic as well as the European Union ahead of a Council of Europe meeting on Sunday. The prime minister is to push for stronger controls of the EU's Schengen borders. Other aspects of the continuing migrant crisis are also to be discussed. Security is at the forefront following the recent attacks in Paris which saw 129 people die at the hands of extremists. Saturday's meeting is to be attended by the head of the police as well as intelligence officials.
The Boston Bruins' David Krejčí found the back of the net with just
a minute remaining in the Bruins' match against the New York Rangers
on Friday to seal a 4:3 result. The Bruins are on a five-game winning
streak and are currently third in the Atlantic division, behind Ottawa and
In other hockey action on Friday, Philadelphia Flyers' goalie Michal Neuwirth turned away 33 shots in his team's 3:2 overtime win against Nashville. Neuwirth was named the game's second star.
Opposition lawmakers in the lower house of Parliament on Friday successfully obstructed a planned vote on a new bill on electronic cash registers, sought by the Finance Ministry to curb the grey economy and clamp down on tax evasion. The system is also to bring in an extra two billion crowns. The sum of two billion is accounted for in the draft state budget for 2016. If the bill on electronic cash registers is not passed in time, Finance Minister Andrej Babǐs said the shortfall would not be a major problem to cover from other sources. A final reading on next year's state budget is scheduled for December 9. The centre-right opposition opposes the electronic cash register system on the grounds it will add extra work and expenditures for business owners and end up hurting small businesses.
The Czech Republic should consider following Slovakia in filing a lawsuit against the European Union over compulsory refugee quotas, the country’s minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, said on Friday. The ANO chief described the quota system as nonsensical and unworkable and said he would discuss the matter with cabinet colleagues. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who opposed the quotas but accepted an EU vote on the matter, said he could not understand Mr. Babiš’s change of view on the subject.
The number of reported crimes in the Czech Republic involving the theft of metals decreased by over half between March and November compared to the same period last year. Police recorded just over 8,000 such crimes in those months in 2014; this year the figure was slightly more than 3,400, according to the Ministry for the Environment. Officials said the fall was connected to an edict issued on March 1 barring the payment of cash for metals.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, has met his Chinese counterpart, Li Cheng, at the close of a week-long official visit to the world’s most populous state. Twelve memoranda and contracts on cooperation in healthcare, sport and other areas were signed in the presence of the two men at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. Mr. Sobotka told reporters that cooperation between the two states was constantly evolving, particularly in the healthcare field.