Environment Minister Tomáš Chalupa has proposed a moratorium on shale gas exploration in the Czech Republic until the end of June, 2014. Mr Chalupa told reporters on Monday the moratorium should give lawmakers enough time to pass new legislation introducing rules for the use of exploration technologies. The Environment Ministry is planning to complete an analysis of the impact of shale gas exploration by the end of 2014 before respective legislation is put to vote in Parliament. Mr Chalupa’s proposal will now be discussed by the government. No shale gas deposits have been discovered in the country so far but plans to launch exploration came under criticism from NGOs, local politicians and inhabitants of the areas that could be affected by these activities.
A court in Prague on Monday sentenced a 36-year-old former floorball coach to nine years in prison for sexually abusing teenagers. The court found the man guilty of rape, seven cases of attempted rape and sexual abuse of boys aged 14 to 17 years he committed between 2001 and 2010 as coach of a Prague floorball team. The man denied all charges; the verdict has not yet come into force.
Members of the Czech national football team met in Prague on Monday, ahead of their opening qualification game for the World Cup 2013. The nomination for Saturday’s game against Denmark includes Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech, midfielder Petr Jiráček of Hamburg in Germany’s top division, Sparta Prague’s forward Václav Kadlec, striker Matěj Vydra from the UK’s third division club Watford FC, among others. National team manager Michal Bílek will however have to do without injured players Tomáš Rosický, Václav Pilař, and Daniel Kolář.
Czech prime minister Petr Nečas is currently in Afghanistan visiting Czech troops serving in the ISAF mission. His schedule on Sunday was altered, however, due to security concerns, the Czech news agency reported. A day earlier, a suicide attack in Wardak province, in the form of a massive truck bomb near a Nato military base, claimed the lives of at least 12 people. No Nato personnel were killed, but two were injured. One Czech soldier was in the area at the time but was unhurt; some military equipment, including Czech-owned equipment, was damaged. The visit to Afghanistan by Petr Nečas is his first as prime minister; currently more than 500 Czech personnel are serving in the country.
A snake breeder, who was bitten by a poisonous cobra in the area of Bruntál, remains in serious condition in a hospital in Karviná. The patient, who remains in an induced coma, was bitten at around 11 am on Saturday while feeding the animal and transferred to hospital. He has since received four shots of antiserum and is responding as expected, a hospital spokeswoman said. The antiserum was delivered from Munich, Germany on Saturday evening, ČTK confirmed; the antiserum needed to be provided within 24 hours.
A pilot, a member of the Hoppers Flight Jet team, was killed in a crash at the Quad-City air show in Iowa on Saturday, operating a Czechoslovak-built L-39 training jet designed in the 1960s. The plane, which had been flying in formation shortly before the tragedy, crashed into a field near a busy interstate highway, said sources; there were no other deaths or injuries. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
Sunday is the last day for Czech citizens living abroad to register to vote in the upcoming Senate elections. Unlike elections to the Chamber of Deputies, voters casting their ballot for senators must do so on Czech soil. The first and second rounds will take place in October. Czech expats, unlike voters at home, can cast their ballot for whichever senator they prefer, from whichever region. An electronic system could replace the complicated method of expat voting within two years, per an Interior Ministry proposal.
Presidential hopeful Miloš Zeman, a former prime minister and former chairman of the Social Democratic Party, has heavily criticized the sacking of former police president Petr Lessy. Mr Lessy was fired on Wednesday after being charged with libel against a former colleague and abuse of public office. The move, unusually swift, preceded the naming of new police president Martin Červíček. According to Mr Zeman, the move to replace Lessy – who had been at odds with both the interior and finance ministers as well as Prime Minister Petr Nečas – would fuel speculation that investigations into serious corruption cases would be swept under the carpet. He called the move a “major political mistake”.
There were more than 825,000 diabetes patients in the Czech Republic last year; 2011 saw 19,000 new cases registered. The number of patients relying on proper diet alone dropped to 131,000, while the number requiring medication went up. In 2011, 23,290 people with diabetes died; in 2,378 cases, the disease was a factor behind cause of death. The chairman of the Czech Diabetes Association, Milan Kvapil, told the Czech news agency Type-2 diabetes sufferers - especially those ignoring the dangers of the illness - on average died ten years earlier than healthy individuals.
The Czech Rally Zlín, part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, was cancelled on Sunday after a spectator was killed and another injured after a crash on stage 13. Václav Kopáček and Tomáš Singer’s Subaru flew off the road and collided with the two viewers at the Halenkovice stage. Organisers said the two were in an off-limits zone. The deceased is a 54-year-old man; the other spectator, who survived with light injuries, is reoprtedly a Hungarian national. The incident is under investigation by the police.