Daily news summary


Education minister plans to prolong compulsory education to ten years

Czech Education Minister Kateřina Valachová wants to prolong compulosry education in the Czech Republic from nine to ten years by making the final year of preschool compulsory. The proposal is part of an amendment to the School Act, which will be submitted to the government in mid-September. According to the draft legislation, all children at the age of four should be entitled to a place in nursery school by 2017 and by 2018, preschools should be available to all three-year-olds. Under the proposal, children in the final year of preschool should be entitled to free lunches.

Some 200 people demonstrated against police repression of far-left groups on Friday

Around two hundred people attended a protest march in the centre of Prague on Friday evening against alleged police repression of the Czech far-left scene. The participants went from Jungmann square to Bartolomějská street, which was notorius as the base of the Communist secret police, and ended on Wenceslas square. The organizers were questioning the police raid on the Cibulka squat in Prague in May this year, as well as the operation Fenix in April, which resulted in the arrest of over thirty people. Several of them were later charged with allegedly taking part in the preparation of a terrorist attack on a train.

Prague plans to introduce SMS mass notification system

The city of Prague plans to introduce a mass notification system via text messages, which could be used in case of emergencies or accidents to inform inhabitants of the affected districts. Mayor of Prague, Adriana Krnáčová, made the announcemnt on Saturday at a meeting with journalists on the occasion of the Rescue Services Day. At present, the SMS system is limited only to those who have subscribed to it, which is not very effective. For instance in the case of water contamination in Prague's Dejvice district, which happened in May this year, only several dozen people received an SMS with an early warning.

More than 80 castles open their door to public on Saturday night

More than 80 castles and chateaus across the Czech Republic join the annual Night of Castles on Saturday, opening their door to visitors with special programmes, including evening tours, concerts, theatre performances and more. The main programme of the festival's sixth edition will take place at the Kratochvíle state chateau in South Bohemia. In Prague, people will have a chance to visit the Senate's Wallenstein palace at Malá Strana and the gardens at Prague Castle. Four famous villas in Brno, including the Tugenhadt villa, will be also open on Saturday night.

Giant puppets in Pilsen attracted thousands of people

Thousands of people gathered in the streets of Pilsen on Friday night to watch a procession of giant puppets of the Spanish theatre company Carros de Foc, which marked the opening of the Skupa's Pilsen Festival organised as part of the European Capital of Culture 2015. The huge marionettes, including a 20-metre-long dragon and a huge flying bird, are part of a site-specific show La Niña transforming the historical centre of Pilsen into a theatre stage, along with dozens of acrobats, dancers and musicians. The event will be repeated on Saturday and Sunday night. The Skupa Pilsen festival of puppetry and alternative theatre was established in 1967 and takes place every two years.

Dutch parachutist dies at Klatovy airport

A Dutch parachutist, aged 49, died at an airfield near Klatovy in West Bohemia on Friday evening, after his parachute failed to open during a jump from the altitutde of 500 metres. The case is being investigated by the police and the Air Accidents Investigation Institute. The airport in Klatovy, which is mainly popular due to an extreme discipline called swooping, based on a high-speed landing with a parachute, has seen a number of fatal accidents in the past few years. The most recent one involved a world-famous Danish skydiver Mads Jensen, who died at the airport during a training jump in May this year.

Kvitová and Šafářová to meet in all Czech final at Connecticut Open

Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová will face each other in an all-Czech final at the Connecticut Open, after winning their semi-final matches of the WTA tournament in New Haven in straight sets. Petra Kvitová secured a 7-5, 6-1 win over Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki, while the fourth seeded Šafářová beat Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-2, 7-6. Czech number one Petra Kvitová has a 6-0 career record against her compatriot Lucie Šafářová.