Poachers stole over a thousand fish from two ponds that they drained overnight on Sunday. Residents near the town of Šumperk said they had never seen a similar case, with about 33 thousand crowns worth of trout stolen from very near the owners’ homes. The owners themselves say they had responded to their dogs’ barking but saw no one. Police looked for footprints at the site on the Morning, but found only that the culprits had used wood from the owners’ wood stacks to avoid stepping in the mud. If convicted they face up to five years in prison.
The state prosecutor is seeking sentences of up to 11 years imprisonment for repeat offenders charged with selling marijuana. Lawyers in the case gave their closing speeches in the District Court of Liberec on Monday, with the prosecution petitioning for the high sentence because the drug had been sold on a large scale, over a space of years, and had reached minors. Two of the men are moreover repeat offenders, convicted 14 and 8 times, respectively. A part of the group, aged 20 to 34, confessed to crime and was offered four years’ imprisonment.
The ex-wife of Martin Kocourek is seeking one half of the 16 million crowns that the former trade minister withheld from the couple’s divorce settlement. Mr Kocourek resigned two weeks ago after failing to provide a legitimate explanation to why the money had appeared on an account belonging to his mother. The trade minister’s defence was that the money was his and that he had “diverted” it to his mother in 2008 to protect it from his divorce settlement.
Czech economist Jan Švejnar has been appointed founding director of a new centre for global economic policy at Columbia University in New York. The new centre will associate significant international personalities to seek ways to solve problems in world economics and submitting proposals to governments and international organisations. Mr Švejnar, who is 59 and has duel Czech and U.S. citizenship, currently heads the Prague-based IDEA think tank for public policy. In 2008 he made an unsuccessful bid for the Czech presidency as a joint candidate for the Social Democrats and the Green Party. Some have speculated he may seek the post again when President Vaclav Klaus´ final term expires in early 2013.
Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has said he is going to run for the post of chairman of the Civic Democrat Prague branch, despite his earlier statements to the contrary. Speaking in a televised debate on Sunday, Mr Svoboda also said he did not rule out running for the post of vice-chairman of the party, but said he was not interested in presidential candidacy. A new Civic Democrat leadership will be elected in about a year’s time. A gynaecologist by profession, Mr Svoboda became Prague Mayor after the 2010 municipal elections. Last month a coalition of the Civic and Social Democrats at the Prague City Hall was terminated and replaced by a centre-right coalition of the Civic Democrats and the TOP 09 party. The chairman of the Civic Democrats’ Prague branch Boris Šťastný who unexpectedly ended the grand coalition, in a move that many have speculated was aimed at removing Bohuslav Svoboda, resigned from his post on Friday.
The Czech Republic’s GDP is expected to grow by 0.8 percent next year while inflation should reach 3 percent due to a higher VAT rate, a survey carried out by the Finance Ministry and based on predictions by domestic and foreign economic institutions suggests. The Czech economy should grow by 2.1 percent in 2013 and by 2.3 percent in 2014 while inflation in those years should hover around the 2-percent target set by the Czech National Bank, the ihned.cz news site reported.
Prices of food are expected to rise by around 10 percent next year, the novinky.cz news site reported on Sunday, citing Czech producers and traders. According to the president of the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism Zdeněk Juračka, the price increase will be caused by a weakening crown, a VAT hike, growing commodity prices on foreign markets and rising costs of transport and energy. A spokeswoman for the Czech Federation of the Food and Drink Industries said higher prices might affect local production as consumers might travel to countries with a lower VAT. Producers have warned pressure on lower prices might lead to a decline in quality. According to the Czech Statistical Office Czechs consumed less meat, milk products, fruit and vegetables as well as alcohol and cigarettes last year. Producers say they believe the trend has continued in 2011.
Five foreign nationals have been detained in connection with Saturday’s attack against a group of police officers in the North Bohemian town of Varnsdorf. A police spokeswoman said on Sunday charges were being prepared against the men. A group of foreign nationals allegedly attacked seven police officers off duty at 2:30 am on Saturday in one of the town’s bars. Personal revenge is believed to be behind the attack. According to TV Nova, one of the detained men is an Albanian national whose son was fined a year ago by one of the policemen. Police are still determining the precise number of the attackers.
Two people have been reported missing following a boat accident on the Lipno dam in South Bohemia. A police spokeswoman said on Sunday a boat carrying three German-speaking tourists had capsized on Saturday night. While one of them managed to swim to the shore, the two other men, aged 21, are still missing and police continue searching for them.
Five horses have died and three others have shown symptoms of poisoning since Friday at a farm in the district of Jihlava, probably after ingesting poisonous bait, the novinky.cz news site reports. Two animals are being treated at a veterinary clinic. Damage has been estimated at 500,000 crowns. According to the website, the owner of the horses has announced a reward for anyone who identifies the perpetrator. She has ruled the possibility of accident. Police have collected samples of feed and water at the farm and are awaiting results from the veterinary authority while investigating the case.