A construction worker, who was working underground in Prague’s Blanka tunnel, was buried by sheathing on Tuesday afternoon. Paramedics resuscitated the 35-year-old man, who was seriously injured and is being treated at Prague’s military hospital. Police are investigating the causes of the accident and interviewing eye witnesses. In the past, sections of Blanka tunnel collapsed on three different occasions. Twice, the collapse created massive craters in the capital’s Stromovka park. In one previous incident, a worker was buried in the collapse and rescued only after several hours.
The Czech economy’s growth rate in the first quarter of 2012 ranks among the worst within the EU, according to fresh data from Eurostat. The Czech Republic came in second-to-last, with only Hungary having a worse rate of growth. In the first three months of 2012, the Czech economy shrank by one percent GDP. However, Eurostat’s new data did not include eight of the union’s 27 member states. Among those not included in the newest figures was debt-ridden Greece. Overall, the economy in the EU in the first quarter of 2012 grew by 0.1 percent year-on-year, while it stagnated in the Eurozone.
The trial of two men who are charged with brutally murdering a 77-year-old pensioner opened at a regional court in Ustí nad Labem on Tuesday. The two men, aged 21 and 59, are suspected of having beaten their victim to the point that he suffocated. The incident took place last May in a small village in the Polabí region. If found guilty, they could face prison sentences of up to 20 years.
A Czech citizen has been sentenced to five years in prison by a French court for driving under the influence of marijuana and causing a traffic accident last March in which three people were killed. The car crash happened near Paris, in the city Combs-la-Ville. The 43-year-old driver failed to notice a traffic jam and crashed into the car in front of him. Three people were killed; four injured, one of them seriously. The driver was speeding and police found high levels of marijuana in his system.
The Czech Republic beat Germany 8:1 at the Ice Hockey World Championship 2012 in Stockholm on Tuesday. A loss would have pitted the Czech Republic against group leader Russia in the quarterfinals. The victory places the Czech team third in their group. In Thursday’s quarterfinals, the Czech Republic will face Sweden, which ranks second in the group.
Opposition groups on Monday announced details of their protest against the government’s austerity measures planned for May 22. Members of trade unions and several dozen NGOs, associated in the Stop the Government group, will stage a march through the capital that will end in front of the government building. The activists are also planning several other events including the occupation of several ministerial buildings which should take place in May and June while Czech trade unions are considering a large-scale strike later this month.
In related news, some 74 percent of Czechs do not agree with the reforms carried out by the country’s centre-right government, according to a poll by the STEM agency released on Monday. However, approximately the same number of people recognizes the necessity to reform the social, health care and tax systems. 24 percent of respondents said they agreed with the cabinet’s reform efforts, which is two percent more than last year.
Billions of crowns were wasted during the construction of the Prague ring road, according to an audit by the Czech Supreme Audit Office released on Monday. The ring road was originally expected to be finished by 2008 at a cost of over 48 billion crowns; however, the total costs are now estimated at 106 billion due to changes to the plans, additional construction work, and the cost of land needed for the construction which could be finished by 2020. The office filed a criminal complaint in connection with the case.
The Czech Education Ministry on Monday revised the results of this year’s school-leaving exams in maths which were considered too difficult and students were given too little time to sit them. Under the revised results, some 2.8 percent of students failed the tests while originally more than 16 percent of them failed the math exam. Education Minister Petr Fiala had earlier apologized to students for the problems.
Czechs no longer pay the highest prices for mobile calls of all OECD countries, according to a study by the Telingen consultancy firm, quoted by the Czech Telecommunications Office on Monday. In February, the Czech Republic now ranked 25th in the list of 50 countries according to the costs of mobile calling while last year, it had the most expensive calls. The change took place after Czech mobile operators began offering cheaper tariffs.