Well-known lawyer Kolja Kubicek has been given a two-year sentence suspended for four years, after being found guilty of blackmail. The Prague 6 District Court heard that he had told a plaintiff that if he did not withdraw a charge against a client of Mr Kubicek's he would be involved in a car crash, or would be accused of drug dealing. The lawyer, who has defended contract killer Jiri Kajinek and former Communist politician Karel Hoffmann, immediately appealed the verdict.
All eight of the girls who were hospitalised on Saturday due to carbon monoxide poisoning sustained during an ice hockey tournament in Kladno, just outside of Prague, have been treated and released. Investigators said that a faulty valve on the motor of a Zamboni ice-cleaning machine was to blame for the incident.
The coach of the Czech national hockey team, Ivan Hlinka, has died in hospital from injuries sustained in a car accident on Monday morning. Mr Hlinka was returning to Prague from the spa town of Karlovy Vary when his car collided head on with a truck going the opposite direction. The truck driver is reportedly at fault, having poorly timed an attempt to overtake another car. Ivan Hlinka, aged 54, was best known for leading the Czech hockey team to victory in the 1998 Winter Olympics held in Nagano, Japan.
The company Royal Praha will close all three of the casinos it operates in the Czech Republic, including Casino Royal in downtown Prague, which was the scene of an Aug. 1 grenade attack. The incident left 18 people injured and is being treated as a failed attempt to kill its owner, Israeli national Assaf Abutboul. Since the attack, the government has pledged to tighten controls on casinos.
The authors of a petition calling for the removal of the newly appointed Government Office head, Pavel Pribyl, have organised a protest outside of the Cabinet headquarters for Tuesday morning. Mr Pribyl is alleged to have led a police anti-riot unit in 1989 that was sent to break-up anti-communist demonstrations. Prime Minister Stanislav Gross has rejected calls for Mr Pribyl's dismissal, saying he was merely "in training" for that position, adding that as he has passed an Interior Ministry screening process, Mr Pribyl was found not to have collaborated with the former regime in any "significant" way.
Czech shooter Karolina Kurkova has won a bronze medal in the women's 10 metre air rifle final at the Olympic Games in Athens. Kurkova, who has gold medals from both world and European championships, said she was delighted with the result. She is coached by her father, who was a professional shooter himself. Petr Kurka won medals at European and world championships and he even set a world record, but despite taking part in five Olympic games he never managed to add an Olympic medal to his collection. "Karolina has just fulfilled my dream for me," he told reporters. In her youth Kurkova wanted a career as a swimmer but health problems made her change her plans and she decided to follow in her father's footsteps. Her's is the first Czech medal won at the Olympic Games in Greece.
About 50 well known personalities have signed a petition demanding the resignation of Government Office head Pavel Pribyl. Pribyl took office last week and it has since emerged that in 1989 he headed a police unit that was sent to break up anti-communist protests in the streets of Prague. The organizers of the petition are planning to stage a protest outside the Czech government building on Tuesday morning, when the Cabinet is due to meet.
Two miners died on Thursday night, when ventilators in the Doubrava mine in the Karvina district of north Moravia stopped working due to a power cut. Police said, however, that a siren had alerted miners to the cut and the two men, aged 34 and 35, should not have entered the shaft. An investigation into the accident has been launched. Twelve miners have died in mines in Ostrava and Karvina so far this year, according to operators OKD.
Two Czech women were arrested by soldiers in Mexico City on Thursday in a raid on a laboratory producing illegal drugs. Local authorities said the drug gang were processing up to 50 kilogrammes of South American cocaine a day. A Czech consular official said a large amount of money had also been found during the raid.
Talks between the parties in the new government on a joint policy
programme will probably continue at the beginning of next week, Prime
Minister Stanislav Gross told reporters on Friday. Though a draft policy
agenda was revealed earlier this week, the Social Democrats, the Christian
Democrats and the Freedom Union have yet to reach a final coalition
Christian Democrat leader Miroslav Kalousek said the government had to be sure it had the money to meet all the priorities outlined in its policy programme, and said a break of a few days could help the parties reach agreement.
However, Social Democrat Labour Minister Zdenek Skromach said his party would not agree to any significant changes to the outline policy programme. Mr Skromach was speaking after talks with senior Social Democrat officials in Prague on Friday.