A court has handed down a life sentence to a woman who murdered her four children in an East Bohemian village last year. The 37-year-old has testified that she remembers only fragments of her life, but not her children or her attack on them. Experts told the court that she did not suffer from any mental illness and was only feigning a loss of memory. The ruling is only the third life sentence imposed on a woman since the fall of communism in 1989.
A new study suggests that air pollution in the Czech Republic is harming couples’ chances of conception. Experts from the Institute of Experimental Medicine studied the reproductive cells of police officers who spend most of their days on city streets and found that their fertility was considerably worsened in the winter months due to heating pollutants. The long-term study on reproductive health also found that the air quality in the badly polluted north of Bohemia has improved over the last 156 years, while other areas formerly considered clean have been badly damaged by people having switched to solid fuels due to rising energy prices.
A new governmental regulation from the Environment Ministry will allow communities introducing low-emission zones to ban high-emission vehicles. Such bans would require vehicles to have special certification, which would rule out most cars registered before 1997. According to the daily Mladá fronta Dnes, the spa town of Klimkovice has shown interest in enforcing a low-emission zone, while Prague has made a special workgroup to consider the idea.
The Czech Army will be making larger withdrawals from Afghanistan in the coming years. The number of Czech soldiers in the troubled Central Asian state will drop from 539 next year to at most 340 in 2014. The army’s current mandate allows for 640 soldiers on the mission. The decrease in troops on the ground is in line with NATO’s overall strategy, which involves handling the country’s security back to the government. The government is set to discuss a plan for the continuation of the Czech Army mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
An adolescent boy who was brutally beaten by three men, allegedly Roma, in Břeclav in April was selling marijuana, which might be the reason for the attack, according to the news website iDnes.cz. The site says that the boy has changed his testimony in this respect, originally saying that the three men had asked him for a cigarette. As he did not have any, they beat him up so brutally that he lost his kidney. Citing a source informed about the investigation, iDnes writes that boy was selling marijuana and his customers were not satisfied with the product and attacked him. Anti-Romany rallies, organised in part by the ultra-right extremist Workers' Party of Social Justice, have been held in the town because of the crime.
The government gives citizens poor and insufficient information about its reforms, according to a poll conducted by the STEM agency. On a scale from one to five, where one is the best, three out of five respondents assessed the government's information campaign with a four or five for open communication about the impact of reforms, the comprehensibility of the information and the interlinking of the planned steps. The poll says that ministers´ justifications for the necessity of reforms received a slightly better assessment, with 53% giving a rating of four or five. The average rating given to the government for its justification of the reforms was 3.64.
Police in Prague are searching for a driver who threatened other vehicles in the traffic tunnel at Těšnov on Friday afternoon. According to the police, the man was driving a grey Nissan very aggressively and then fired shots in the air from a handgun. No one was injured in the incident. In a separate incident Friday morning the police arrested a 256-year-old driver who had tried to ram their car off the road.
A number of Czech cities purposely misuse residential subsidies, according to an analysis of last year’s austerity packages on ghetto areas. The report, which was compiled for the Ministry of Labour, states that some municipal authorities give the donations to families in need to pay the communities own, high-rent accommodation. It also says that some government cuts and reforms have evidently greatly contributed to a slump for entire groups of residents, while others have not affected ghetto inhabitants at all. The analysis was made over the course of last year and observed the effects of cuts and changed made at the beginning of 2011.
Energy company ČEZ paid the highest amount of corporate income tax to the state last year, according to a chart annually compiled by the Finance Ministry. The second highest payers were bank Česká spořitelna and car maker Škoda Auto. Škoda moved to the second place last year from the eighth place in 2010. Česká spořitelna also placed second in 2010. Telecommunications company Telefonica Czech Republic came fourth and rival T-Mobile came fifth. T-Mobile slid to the fifth place in 2011 from the third place in the previous year. The chart is compiled by the Finance Ministry every year as a form of appreciation of companies that contribute the highest amounts of money to public budgets. Last year, the tax administration collected more than 109 billion in corporate income tax, of which around 82 billion went to the state budget.
Veteran Czech hockey player Petr Nedved helped the national squad overcome Latvia in their group stage match at the Ice Hockey World Championship on Thursday, scoring a crucial go-ahead goal in the third period to solidify Czech chances of securing a quarterfinal berth. The Czech Republic beat Latvia 3:1 in what proved to be a tough match in which both sides were long even. With the win, the Czech Republic moved to third spot in their group with 8 points, just behind Sweden and Russia who have 12 apiece.