Daily news summary
Senate rejects one of three of president’s candidates for top court
The Senate has rejected one of President Miloš Zeman’s candidates for the post of Constitutional Court judge, Jiří Nykodým. While serving previously as a Constitutional Court judge, the lawyer played a role in the rejection of a complaint taken against a controversial church restitution bill last year. The president will now have to find a new candidate. Two others were made Constitutional Court judge in a secret vote at the Senate on Thursday: Vojtěch Šimíček and Tomáš Lichovník.
Study: Roma represent 28 percent of pupils at schools for children with learning difficulties
Children from the Roma minority represent 28 percent of the pupils at schools for those with learning difficulties, according to a survey carried out for the national school inspectors’ body. Deputy Education Minister Jindřich Fryč presented the results of the study at an international conference about Romany education in Prague on Thursday. Responding to the figures, the minister for human rights, Jiří Dienstbier, told the Czech News Agency that the Czech Republic was failing when it came to inclusive education.
Former Charles University president Hampl to run for Senate
A former president of Charles University, Václav Hampl, has announced plans to stand for a Senate seat later this year. Mr. Hampl will run as an independent backed by the Christian Democrats and the Greens. The physiologist said he would draw on his eight years of experience at the helm of Charles University. He was involved in some political disputes in that period, protesting against education reforms proposed by then minister Josef Dobeš and clashing with President Miloš Zeman over the naming of a professor. A third of the Senate’s 81 seats will be contested in the latter half of 2014.
Dawn would not return to Parliament but Greens would reach threshold, poll suggests
The populist Dawn party would not make it back into Parliament if elections were held now, suggests an opinion poll carried out by the ppm factum agency. By contrast, the Green Party, who failed to make the five percent threshold in October’s elections, would win seats in the lower house, the poll indicates. ANO, who came second, would now finish first with 22.5 percent of the vote, ahead of October’s winners the Social Democrats, who would now receive 19.4 percent.
Some rivers still swelling but flood warnings scaled back
Persistent rain in the Czech Republic is continuing to cause some rivers to swell. Among them is the Berounka, which flows into the Vltava. Fears that the latter will also rise have led to quays in Prague being closed as a preventative measure. People in the Plzeň region, around Mladá Bolesav and in Jeseník have seen some water damage but latest reports say the situation in those areas is becoming calmer. Forecasters have scaled back flood warnings, with the lowest level of flood alert now in place in only four regions.
Study warns of long term drought threat
Although floods are in the news, preparations are being made at the Ministry of Environment to cushion the effects of a disastrous drought caused by climate change. A large swathe of the Czech Republic including some of the most fertile agricultural land across the centre of the country could be threatened according to a report which will go to the government, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Thursday. It pointed out that the costs of a drought in Western Europe last year was almost as high as the bill for floods in Central Europe in 2002. Proposals for dealing with a Czech drought include a tenfold increase in water charges for those who exceed consumption limits.
Around fifth of Czechs have cigarette habit, says representative of group helping smokers quit
More than two million people smoke cigarettes in the Czech Republic, according to Jarmila Greplová, a representative of Život bez cigaret, a group that helps smokers quit. The country’s population is 10.5 million. Speaking to the Czech News Agency ahead of Saturday’s World No Tobacco Day, Ms. Greplová said one in eight Czech smokers was under 18. An estimated 18,000 people die of smoking related illnesses in the Czech Republic every year.
Treasures from National Theatre’s music archive to go on display
The National Theatre in Prague is preparing to exhibit valuable items from its musical archive as part of the ongoing Year of Czech Music. The handwritten manuscripts of two operas by Bohuslav Martinů, and the original scores of works by Antonín Dvořák and Leoš Janáček that received their world premieres at the theatre are among the treasures that will be on display on the balcony on the first floor of the historic building from Monday until September, a representative told journalists on Thursday.
More foals of rare Przewalski breed born at Prague zoo
Two foals of the rare Przewalski breed have been born at Prague zoo in the last week, a spokesperson said on Thursday. A colt was born on Saturday and a filly on Wednesday. The births bring to over 220 the number of Przewalski foals born in Prague. In the last three years a dozen of the horses have been introduced to the wild in their country of origin, Mongolia. Another transport of Przewalski horses from Prague is planned for this year.