Daily news summary


Czech foreign minister attends meeting of V4, Eastern Partnership counties

Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček is in Bratislava for an informal meeting on Monday between representatives of the Visegrad Group and Eastern Partnership countries.

The Eastern Partnership was launched in Prague in 2009 during the Czech Presidency of the European Union.

The aim was to boost cooperation between the EU and the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.

The tenth anniversary of the Eastern Partnership will be celebrated in Brussels from 13-14 May.

Ministry: Salaries of Czech hospital doctors, nurses reach EU average

The salaries of doctors and nurses in Czech hospitals are now equal to the European Union average, the Ministry of Health said a press conference on Monday.

Over the past five years, doctors’ salaries rose by 32 percent on average while nurses’ salaries rose by 41 percent.

In 2018, doctors in hospitals earned the equivalent of 243 percent of the average Czech salary and nurses 121 percent.

According to the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, this year their average salaries will reach 84,000 crowns and 43,000 crowns, respectively.

Czech Cardinal filing appeal over showing of Frljić play depicting Jesus as a rapist

Cardinal Dominik Duka reportedly plans to appeal a Brno city court’s rejection of his criminal complaint against local theatre groups over the staging of a play by Croatian director Oliver Frljić.

At one point in the Frljić play in question, called “Our Violence, Your Violence”, an actor depicting Jesus rapes a Muslim woman. In another scene, a naked Muslim woman slowly pulls a bloody Czech national flag out of her vagina.

Cardinal Duka says the play, performed last year, amounted to an attack on his rights to freedom of religion, dignity and honour as guaranteed under the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The Brno city court ruled that the scenes were allegorical and could not be seen as violating anyone’s individual rights. Czech Television reports Cardinal Duka plans to file an appeal with the Brno district court.

Czech universities cracking down on plagiarism after high-profile scandals

Several top Czech universities have introduced new electronic tools such as Turnitin to detect plagiarism following high-profile scandals, the daily Právo reports.

Over the past three years, Charles University has rejected the academic theses of nearly 50 students after software flagged their work for plagiarism, triggering a review.

Palacky University in Olomouc and Masaryk University in Brno are among the institutions of higher learning now reviewing past theses submitted over the past decade or so.

Over the past year, two government ministers were pushed to resign over allegations of plagiarism, as was the head of the Institute of World History at Charles University.

Czech PM rejects bank tax, proposes dividends go into development fund

Shares of Czech banks were down on Monday a day after Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) unveiled a plan to ask banks to pay 10 to 20 percent of their dividends into a new state development fund.

Mr Babiš said in a televised interview on Sunday that his centre-right government is seeking new revenue streams against a backdrop of slowing economic growth. He would not say whether the payments should be voluntary or mandatory.

He rejected the idea of a new bank tax proposed by his junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, after having earlier said it was an option. The Social Democrats would see the tax progress from 0.05 percent to 0.3 percent, raising some 14 billion crowns.

Czechs honour RAF airman among first military victims of Communist regime

A memorial plaque to a Czech member of the British Royal Air Force who took his own life after being expelled from the Czechoslovak Army by the Communists was installed on Sunday near České Budějovice.

Lieutenant Colonel Václav Martínek began serving in a Czechoslovak unit under RAF command in 1942. He shot himself after being expelled from the Czechoslovak Army after the Communists seized power in the so-called Victorious February coup in 1948.

A member of the Society for Military History said that Martínek could be considered as among the first military victims of the regime, which imprisoned scores of former RAF pilots and other servicemen who fought with Western allies.

Bisnode: volume of foreign capital in Czech companies at 8-year low

The volume of foreign capital in Czech companies is at its lowest level since 2011, according to a study of corporate structures published on Monday.

The consultancy Bisnode say the volume of foreign capital stood at 895 billion crowns in April, down 15 percent in annual terms.

Foreign entities currently hold almost 36 percent of the total share capital of Czech companies, Bisnode says.

Czech striker Milan Gulaš named Player of the Year

HC Škoda Plzeň striker Milan Gulaš has been named Czech hockey Player of the Year.

The 33-year-old striker was the best scorer in the Czech Extraliga regular season, with 30 goals and 32 assists.

In the playoffs, he scored six goals and had eight assists. HC Škoda Plzeň took home the bronze.

Weather outlook

Tuesday should be relatively cold and cloudy throughout the Czech Republic, with daytime highs of between 10 to 13 degrees Celsius. Rain is expected in the Ústí, Liberec and Moravia-Silesia regions.