Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan has confirmed that the head of the traffic police in the town of Frydek-Mistek, Michael Cas, had been drinking before he caused a traffic accident in Ostrava on Saturday night. Mr Cas who failed a breathalyser test after the accident, says another person was driving the car, though he refuses to say who. The incident happened only three weeks after new traffic regulations came into effect. Mr Cas had previously praised the positive reaction of Czech drivers to the new traffic law and also wrote a university dissertation on ethical driving.
A young British chess player taking part in a chess tournament in the Czech Republic has died after a fall from her hotel room, the event's organisers said on Thursday. Jessie Gilbert, 19, fell from the eighth floor of her hotel in the town of Pardubice on Wednesday. A police spokeswoman said most likely nobody else was involved in the fall, but police are waiting for the results of the autopsy. Some 4,000 players of all categories from 50 countries are taking part in the Pardubice event, the biggest in the world, according to its organisers.
The state attorney's office has started seizing the property of the people charged with corruption in the case of Czech Consolidation Agency. The agency's executive board member Radka Kafkova was arrested on Tuesday night after she made a money exchange, Czech Television reported on Wednesday. She has been charged with large-scale corruption, along with a former employee of the agency, Josef Tykva and businessman Pavel Hrach. Police have been investigating the case, which involves tens of millions of crowns, for three years. One of the Consolidation Agency's main tasks is to bail state-owned companies out of problematic loans.
The Czech Statistical Office has announced that the number of the Czech Republic's citizens has grown for the fourth year in a row, but mainly due to immigration. In a report released on Thursday, the office says that while last year saw the highest number of births, the figure still remains lower than the country's mortality. Statisticians have warned the ageing of the Czech population will continue, as the Czech Republic has one of the lowest fertility rates in Europe.
The Czech footballer Pavel Nedved is staying at the Italian club Juventus, who were stripped of their last two Italian league titles and relegated to the second division after being caught match fixing. Several of the club's other stars have left, but Nedved's agent said on Wednesday that his client was not planning to join the exodus. The 33-year-old former Czech captain has not yet said whether he will continue to play for the national team.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament will make another attempt at electing its chairman of Friday. The two candidates for the post are Social Democrat MP Lubomir Zaoralek and Christian Democrat MP Jan Kasal who is running for the emerging centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats and the Green Party. However, neither candidate has sufficient support in the chamber after the June parliamentary election resulted in a perfect split between the leftist and the centre-right parties in the lower house.
Meanwhile, the centre-right coalition put forward its own candidate for the post of speaker of the lower house of Parliament on Wednesday. Christian Democrat Jan Kasal will face the Social Democrats' Lubomir Zaoralek in the election on Friday. The coalition says Mr Kasal will only pull out of the race if the Social Democrats agree to tolerate the coalition's proposed platform.
The Czech electricity grid, which suffered an overload on Tuesday, has called off a state of emergency. The network CEPS balances electricity generation with consumption in the Czech Republic and battled its biggest blackout in thirty years. All large companies are still advised to minimise their energy consumption.
The Czech Railway company is planning to buy more Pendolino trains to cover destinations to neighbouring Slovakia and Austria. There are already seven Pendolino trains travelling between Prague and Ostrava and on the Prague-Brno-Breclav line. Seven more are expected to cover the Prague-Bratislava and Prague-Vienna lines as of December. A trip on the Pendolino, known for speed and comfort, is expected to cut travelling time by up to thirty minutes.
Outgoing prime minister and Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek says the centre-right coalition has rejected a generous compromise solution that would have put an end to the political deadlock. The three-party coalition of the Civic Democrats, the Christian Democrats, and the Greens has been trying to form a government but is one vote short of a majority in the lower house of Parliament. On Wednesday, the Social Democrats proposed to name a candidate other than Lubomir Zaoralek for the post of lower house speaker and give up control of a parliamentary commission. The coalition has rejected the offer.
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