News

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Number of 'gymnasiums' could double under new plan

The number of 'gymnasiums' - secondary schools which prepare students for university - could double under a new plan by the Czech Ministry of Education. The proposal comes in response to increasing numbers of applications in recent years.

Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Jiri Havel said the number of Czechs taking university degrees would increase from the present 50 percent to 80 percent in the future. Mr Havel and Education Minister Petra Buzkova are to put the new plan to the leadership of their party the Social Democrats next week.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek says one or two international universities should be created in the Czech Republic in the years ahead. He said on Friday that existing Czech universities - which already operate at international standards - could be upgraded.

Cuba to explain detention of former Miss Czech Republic, psychologist

Cuba's embassy in Prague is next week to explain to the Czech Foreign Ministry why two Czech women were detained on the island. Former Miss Czech Republic Helena Houdova and psychologist Mariana Kroftova were held for 11 hours earlier this week after taking photographs in a poor part of Havana.

They were released after signing a statement promising not to engage in counter-revolutionary activities. Ms Houdova, who runs a foundation for disadvantaged children in New York, said she had been looking for ways to help children in Cuba.

Hruda: Holland's LG Philips should return incentives if it leaves Czech Republic

If the Dutch company LG Philips Displays pulls out of the Czech Republic it should return investment incentives it received from the Czech state, says the head of CzechInvest, Tomas Hruda. The company's factory in south Moravia shut down on Friday as it filed for bankruptcy protection. It employs 1,300 people.

European Commission should look into state supported free internet, says office

The anti-monopoly office says the European Commission should investigate whether free internet paid for out of public coffers is legal. The office said this could constitute unauthorised support to the detriment of commercial operators. The district of Prague 5 has introduced free wifi internet for all residents, a move which has been criticised by existing suppliers.

Terezin drawings go on show at UN in New York

Drawings by children interned at Terezin ghetto in Bohemia during World War II have gone on show at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day. The pictures are normally housed in Prague's Jewish Museum.

Slovakia among countries Czechs must play to reach football's Euro 2008

The Czech Republic will play Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Wales, Cyprus and San Marino in qualifications for the 2008 European football championships. The top two teams from the group will qualify for the championships, which are being jointly hosted by Austria and Switzerland. The Czechs are currently focusing on the World Cup, which begins in Germany in June.

Weather

It should remain mostly clear and very cold in the Czech Republic, with temperatures down to between -14 and -4 on Sunday.