Teachers’ unions on Monday launched a new campaign entitled ‘Konec Levných Učitelů’ (No More Low-paid Teachers), following up an earlier call for a minimum 10 percent pay rise in 2017. The campaign will not include accompanying protest events for the moment, depending on how planned talks go. The Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has so far spoken only of a five percent increase.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has criticised a police officer who forbid boy scouts from singing the Czech national anthem following a mass at a church at the Prague Castle complex on Sunday; in a tweet in response, the minister wrote the police officer had lost all sense and promised a swift resolution. On Sunday, the scouts were asked to leave the outside vicinity of the Church of St. George without singing the anthem as they had done in previous years. The Scouts’ organization later expressed dissatisfaction over the incident. The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček later apologised, saying he would contact the Scouts to agree on steps in the future. Prague Castle, meanwhile, is not seeking disciplinary proceedings against the police officer in question.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is in Afghanistan where he met with Czech soldiers serving in Bagram and Kabul. The prime minister thanked the soldiers for their service and also met with Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani and other top representatives. Roughly 250 Czech soldiers serve in the country; it is expected that Parliament will extend their mission there. According to Mr Sobotka the Czech Republic is ready to help Afghanistan but the prime minister stressed that the country needed to make progress in internal reforms.
The police are searching for a suspect who damaged Chinese and Czech flags ahead of a recent visit by the Chinese president Xi Jinping. CCTV cameras captured images of a man throwing paint ‘bombs’ at the flags near Prague’s Dejvice metro station before walking away. Police spokesman Jan Daněk said damage had been estimated at more 50,000 crowns. If found and proven guilty of damaging private property the suspect could receive a sentence of up to one year behind bars. According to the Czech News Agency, hollowed out eggs – filled with blue or grey paint – had been thrown at Chinese flags at other locations.
A 50-year-old woman on Sunday died in hospital after suffering injuries in a boating accident on the Kamenice River – the first boating-related fatality this season in the region of Liberec. The accident took place on a section of river called Toboggan: the woman and four men were aboard a raft which flipped. The police are investigating the cause of the accident and an autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
The Ad Hoc Group, which controls New World Resources, is considering a declaration of insolvency of the hard coal mining company OKD as early as this Friday unless the government steps in to help. A meeting between both sides was scheduled this Monday. Ad Hoc Group took control of NWR in February but on Monday said it would not continue to waive a deadline for seeking debt repayments from the ailing mining firm. On Sunday, the Ad Hoc Group reportedly offered to sell OKD for less than 150 million euros, the equivalent of less than four billion crowns. Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek said the real value of the company was far less and he couldn’t imagine why the government would buy at such a price. OKD currently employs almost 10,000 people, and also provides additional jobs in the sector for suppliers and various other companies.
Almost two-thirds of citizens (63 percent) are not satisfied with the functioning of democracy in the Czech Republic, a new poll by the STEM agency suggests. The same number maintained that existing political parties were no guarantee of democratic politics. The numbers have improved slightly since last year, when the same was expressed by some 70 percent of respondents. Sixty-nine percent of those queried see the advancement of democracy as the primary role of professional politicians; half agreed the success of democracy depended on the activities of ordinary citizens.
The group Bloc Against Islam, led by Martin Konvička, has unexpectedly withdrawn from an agreement with the Dawn party to join forces in regional and Senate elections this autumn. Mr Konvička wrote online that the Dawn party had “acted unfairly, had not upheld its end of the bargain and had tried to use the Bloc for its own gain”. He added that the decision to sign the agreement had been a “political mistake”. The Dawn party was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the last national election, led by now former chairman Tomio Okamura. Bloc Against Islam has become increasingly vocal in recent years, pushing a largely anti-migrant platform.
The Florida Panthers lost 2:1 against the New York Islanders in their
second double overtime game in a row on Sunday. The Panthers led with less
than a minute remaining in the third period but conceded a goal which took
the game into OT. The loss means Florida, with Czech legend Jaromír Jágr,
are out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The NHL's website reported that
the 44-year-old showed no signs of wanting to retire but to return to the
game stronger than ever. In six post-season games, Jágr picked up two
assists but did not score.
In other playoff action, a third excellent performance from goalie Michal Neuwirth in a row was not enough to stave off elimination by the Washington Capitals, who beat Philadelphia by a single goal: the final score was 1:0.