News Staggering number of underqualified teachers

28-02-2014 13:59 | Daniela Lazarová

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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Health insurers launch major cancer screening campaign

19-04-2014 12:32 | Jan Richter

The Czech Republic’s largest health insurance firm, VZP, has invited some 408,000 of its clients for cancer screening, a spokesman for the company said. The insurer is planning to reach all of its 1.2 million clients who should regularly be screened for the disease but fail to turn up. These include women aged between 25 and 70 to be screened for breast and cervical cancer; both men and women aged between 50 and 70 should be tested for colorectal and anal cancer. Other Czech health insurance companies are also taking part in the campaign, in total, they want to send out 1.85 invites by the end of the year; those who choose to ignore the invitation will be approached again next year. 

Hockey: Zlín in 2:0 lead over Brno in league playoffs’ finals

19-04-2014 08:45 | Jan Richter

PSG Zlín defeated Kometa Brno 3-0 at home on Friday, taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven playoffs’ final series. Zlín goals came in the 16th, 40th and 55th minutes; Kometa have so far scored no goals in the final series. The series now moves to Brno where the third game is scheduled for Monday. 

Prague’s metro A line out of operation over Easter

19-04-2014 08:38 | Jan Richter

The A line of Prague metro has been closed for maintenance work for the duration of the Easter holidays. The entire line closed on Friday afternoon, and is set to reopen on Tuesday, April 22nd. Prague’s transport authority has instead provided the XA bus line which runs on the surface along the metro line’s route. English-speaking staffers at metro stations are providing information about alternative routes, a spokesman for the transport firm said. 

Arbitration court orders completion of Prague’s Blanka tunnel complex

19-04-2014 08:29 | Jan Richter

A court of arbitration, part of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, has ordered the building firm Metrostav to complete Prague’s Blanka tunnel complex within five months. The court also said the city of Prague had to pay 4.04 billion crowns to the firm. The decision came months after work on the controversial tunnel was halted last December over disputes between the company and Prague City Hall. A Metrostav spokesman said the firm would resume work as soon as it received the payment while Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček said the city would pay the required sum. However, the construction company has in the meantime demanded the city pay another billion crowns; the court of arbitration will deal with the latest petition in June. The Blanka tunnel, designed to channel traffic from the city centre, has been criticized as an overpriced and non-transparent project. Its total costs are expected to reach some 36 billion crowns. 

Ballet dancer wins Czech Mr Gay pageant

19-04-2014 08:19 | Jan Richter

Michal Klepetek, a ballet dancer of the Moravian Theatre in Olomouc, has won the Czech Mr Gay pagent. The 28-year-old dancer defeated another six finalists in the competition’s final held in a Prague theatre on Friday night. The contestants competed in several rounds including a swimsuit catwalk, question responses, and a free discipline. The organizers raised 35,000 crowns that was donated to a cancer-research endowment fund. 

Police chief suspected of drink-driving

18-04-2014 17:06 | Daniela Lazarová

The police chief of Uherské Hradiště, Bronislav Šabršula, is being investigated on suspicion of drink-driving, Czech Television reported on Friday. The police was alerted to the incident by another driver who reported that a vehicle ahead of him was manoeuvring dangerously on the road and its driver could be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police found the respective vehicle parked on the roadside with the police chief fast asleep behind the steering wheel. He refused a Breathalyzer and blood test and insisted that he had not driven the car but had merely moved to the driver’s seat after having had a row with the driver who had left him in the lurch. The car’s side mirror had been smashed. 

Former Prison Service head files complaint against his dismissal

18-04-2014 16:52 | Daniela Lazarová

The former head of the Czech Prison Service Petr Dohnal who was dismissed for incompetence by Justice Minister Helena Válková last week has filed a complaint against the decision which he says was unsubstantiated and illegal. Dohnal said Válková had blamed him for mistakes made by the previous management. The minister countered that Mr. Dohnal had made no attempt to correct the mistakes after taking office and she did not believe him capable of undertaking a reform of the prison service. The complaint will be dealt with by an expert commission. 

Labour Ministry wants to reintroduce maternity grant for second baby

18-04-2014 16:38 | Daniela Lazarová

The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry is proposing the return of a maternity grant for the birth of a second child to the tune of 10,000 crowns. Within its austerity programme the former centre-right government of Petr Nečas scrapped the state contribution for the birth of a second child, meaning that parents now only get one-off state support for the birth of their first child to the tune of 13,000 crowns. This sum is paid out to parents whose joint income does not exceed 2.4 times the minimum income. The proposal still needs to win approval in government and Parliament. 

Traffic police out in force for long Easter weekend

18-04-2014 14:19 | Daniela Lazarová

Traffic police are expected to be out in force for the Easter weekend when thousands of people leave the big cities for the long Easter break. According to a spokesman for the traffic police officers plan to focus particularly on speeding, drink-driving and soft drugs. Drivers should expect heavy traffic especially on the D1 highway from Prague to Brno which is undergoing reconstruction with traffic along certain stretches restricted to one lane. 

Police investigating serial murders looking for witnesses

18-04-2014 14:16 | Daniela Lazarová

Police investigating the murder of three taxi drivers have asked potential witnesses to step forward. The murders all happened on the same day of the week and according to unconfirmed sources all three drivers were shot in the back of the head with the same weapon. In each case the killer is believed to have taken a taxi from the centre of Prague to the outskirts where he committed the murders. The case has spread fear among Prague taxi drivers some of whom are now armed. Others refuse to take passengers off the street only responding to calls from an operator. 

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