The police have uncovered the entire distribution network of
methanol-laced bootleg liquor, the head of Czech police, Martin
Červíček, told Czech TV on Sunday. The police chief said investigators
were now only following one version of what happened but shared no further
details as it might interfere with ongoing investigation, he said. The
police are planning to release more information at a new conference on
The methanol crisis has killed 24 people in the Czech Republic over the last several weeks. The police have charged 41 people in connection with methanol poisonings, 17 of whom remain in custody. A breakthrough in the investigation came on Thursday when detectives discovered some 6,000 litres of suspicious liquid in a warehouse in Opava.
Czech President Václav Klaus has warned of the destruction of democracy and the national state in Europe. In an interview for the UK paper the Daily Telegraph, Mr Klaus said that "two-faced" politicians had opened the door to an EU superstate by giving up on democracy. The Czech president, commenting on ways EU officials were considering to cope with the ongoing debt crisis, suggested that statehood and sovereignty needed to be restored which was impossible in a federation; the EU should therefore move in the opposite direction, Mr Klaus added.
Some 208,000 people attended the annual NATO Days air show in Ostrava over the weekend, organizers said on Sunday. The air forces of 19 countries took part in the show, including the US Air Force with two strategic bombers B-52, the British RAF with its Red Arrows acrobatic team as well as the Ramex Delta team of the French Air Force. Visitors could also see Czech army’s Gripen fighters demonstrating in-flight refueling..
Firefighters evacuated 16 people including two children from an apartment building in Svoboda nad Úpou, in eastern Bohemia, in the early hours of Saturday, after a fire broke out in one of the flats. A police spokeswoman said no one was hurt in the fire that caused damage of around 950,000 crowns. Causes of the incident are being investigated.
Prague’s Czernin Palace, the seat of the Czech Republic’s Foreign Ministry, opens to public on Sunday between 10 AM and 4 PM, offering an opportunity to visit the 18th century palace. People can see among other things the apartment of former Czechoslovak foreign minister Jan Masaryk who tragically died there in 1948, and can also stroll through the palace gardens. Viewings last for about an hour. The Open Door Day also featured photo exhibits in the palace and concluded with a concert by the Allstar Refjudží Band.
Jan Becher, the country’s third largest spirits maker, on Sunday began producing a “prohibition version” of its Lemond liqueur. The new variety contains 19 percent alcohol which means it is not be covered by the government’s ban on sales of spirits with 20 or more percent of alcohol. The company’s production manager said the citrus-flavoured beverage should be available in most supermarkets on Tuesday. The government-imposed ban on the sales of hard liquor is widely expected to be at least partially lifted next week.
The ongoing Czech methanol crisis has claimed its 24th victim when a 57-year-old woman died in the north-eastern town of Havířov on Friday night after two weeks in hospital. Doctors said the woman fell into a coma shortly after she was admitted to hospital on September 6. Another three patients with methanol intoxication remain in hospital in Havířov, one in critical condition.
Czech health workers have registered two new cases of methanol poisoning. An elderly woman was hospitalized in the early hours of Saturday with severe methanol intoxication in Kroměříž in east of the country; her condition is reported as stable. A man was also admitted to hospital in Čáslav, in central Bohemia but the levels of methanol in his blood were lower than toxic, Czech Radio reported. More than 30 people remain in hospitals in connection with the methanol crisis that has claimed 23 victims in the country so far.
The Czech and Swedish defence ministers have reached no deal on the
extension of the lease of Swedish Gripen fighters for the Czech Air Force.
After Friday’s talks with Swedish Minister of Defence, Karin Enström, in
Ostrava, her Czech counterpart, Alexandr Vondra told reporters should
Sweden not come up with a better offer, the Czech government would launch a
new tender to lease or buy jet fighters. The website novinky.cz reported
Sweden offered a 25 percent discount on the lease on condition it will be
signed for 10 years. However, Czech officials would only like to lease the
fighters for five years.
The Czech military leased 14 Gripen jets in 2004 for 20 billion crowns; the lease will expire in 2014. Mr Vondra said the negotiations with Sweden would continue until November.
Thousands of visitors came to see the annual NATO Days air show, which began in Ostrava on Saturday. The air forces of 19 countries are taking part in the show, including the US Air Force with two strategic bombers B-52, the British RAF with its Red Arrows acrobatic team as well as the Ramex Delta team of the French Air Force. Visitors will also see Czech Gripen fighters that will demonstrate in-flight refueling. The NATO Days continue in Ostrava until Sunday.