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PRAGUE: Rector defends rights of anarchist student

The Rector of the Charles University, Professor Tomáš Zima, has stepped into a row over the threatened expulsion of a Russian anarchist student, whose student visa has been revoked by the Czech authorities. In an open letter to Interior the Czech Minister Milan Chovanc (ČSSD), the Rector argues that the move against the student, Igor Ševcov, was “totally disproportionate”. Ševcov was originally indicted for throwing ‘fire bottles’ at the House of the Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický (ANO), though in the end he was charged only with keeping look-out for his colleagues who were spraying slogans. He was banned from public demonstrations for three years. According to supportive news sources, his visa was revoked due to an administrative error related to the earlier charges. The Rector is now appealing to return his visa, for fear that his life would be threatened in Russia. Professor Zima argues that Ševcov has already been politically persecuted in Russia, and would face further persecution for his political views, and lose his chance to finish his studies at the Faculty of Philosophy, where he is seen as a diligent student. In his recent annual University address, Professor Zima promised to defend truth, democracy and freedom.


OXFORD: Survey shows internet ‘taking over lives’ 

The number of Brits using the internet has reached 78% of those aged 14 years or more, compared with 59% in 2003 – yet more than half do it without enthusiasm, and nearly one in six (14%) feel the internet is ‘taking over their lives and invading their privacy’. These results, from a recent survey conducted by the University’s Oxford Internet Institute, a partner in Europaeum activities, also showed an additional one-third (37%) had ‘no strong feelings either for or against’. The report is based on face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 2,000 UK internet users. One noteworthy trend is a levelling off in the popularity of social networking sites with two-thirds (61%) of internet users, using them, after explosive growth until 2011. Most users of social network sites are under 35, but with a substantial rise in users aged 45-54 years – from 10% in 2007, to 51% in 2013. The digital divide in Britain continues to narrow, suggests the report, with those never going online falling from 23% in 2011 to 18% in 2013. Yet while everyone owns a tv, one-quarter (24%) do not have a computer. Lead researchers Professor William Dutton and Dr Grant Blank said although the internet – developed after the discovery of the world wide web 25 years ago – is an integral part of most people’s lives in Britain today, half of Brits appear to use it without enthusiasm. “These are people who use the internet because they have to, not because they want to. They don’t go online to enjoy themselves and they don’t feel more productive online. They also perceive problems, particularly with regard to privacy, frustration and wasted time.”