The Supreme Court has upheld a 16-year-prison sentence for an American citizen who was found guilty of murdering a man on a night tram in Prague last February. The two men reportedly had an argument in a bar after which the victim departed. The American followed him onto a Prague tram shooting him in cold blood after it had emptied out. The 43-year-old man was later found dead by the tram driver.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a two-year suspended sentence and a seven year ban on driving for the notorious road pirate Ales Trpišovský. Trpišovský was accused of presenting a threat to public safety by his reckless and aggressive driving on the country’s D1 highway. According to eyewitnesses he repeatedly hit the brakes in front of slower vehicles as punishment for slowing him down. In one case the car behind him crashed as a result. Trpišovský’s case has become notorious in the Czech Republic, where aggressive driving is a serious problem.
A Christmas outdoor ice-skating rink opened on Prague’s Ovocný trh, in the city centre on Wednesday. The rink is open from 10 am till 10 pm daily for free and people can rent skates on the spot. The ice-rink has an eleven-year-tradition and is used by around 20,000 people every Christmas. It will remain open until January 6th.
The Czech Republic were beaten 5:4 by Latvia in their final group game at the World Floorball Championship in Switzerland on Tuesday night. At one stage the Czechs were leading 4:2, but their opponents made a spirited comeback to win the game and top their group. That result is potentially damaging to the Czech Republic’s chances of progress, as it means they will face current champions Finland in the quarterfinals.
Speaking in Brussels, the Czech minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, said on Tuesday that the Czech Republic would only agree to the creation of a European Union banking supervisory body if the bloc granted extra powers to national regulators. Mr. Kalousek said Prague wanted a commitment that the Czech National Bank would have the final authority in the case that a daughter company of an international bank was transformed into a branch, as branches do not come under national regulators. He pointed out that over 90 of the Czech banking sector was owned by the daughter companies of banks based in the eurozone.
According to official figures released on Tuesday, the average salary in the Czech Republic rose to CZK 24,514 in the third quarter of this year, representing an increase of 1.4 percent year-on-year. However, given that consumer prices grew by 3.3 percent in the third quarter, wage-earners were worse off than in the same period in 2011. Analysts said they had not expected such a marked fall in real incomes.
The Chamber of Deputies voted on Tuesday to lift the parliamentary immunity of the Civic Democrats’ Roman Pekárek. Mr. Pekárek had been in the process of appealing a six-year jail term for corruption when he gained a seat in the Chamber of Deputies due to the resignation of a party colleague. Some 158 of 161 deputies present in the lower house voted to strip him of his immunity, meaning that his appeal proceeding can now go ahead. Mr. Pekárek says he is innocent and has rejected calls for him to quit the lower house.
The consumption of marijuana among young Czechs fell last year, according to a new report by the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. Some 16.1 percent of those in the 16 to 34 age category told researchers they had consumed the country’s most commonly used illicit drug in 2011, down from 20 percent the year before. At the same time, the number of what are referred to as problem drug users grew slightly, the report found.
The Czech president Václav Klaus and his Hungarian counterpart János Áder said after a meeting in Budapest on Tuesday that their countries had a shared interest in expanding their nuclear power plants. Mr. Klaus said the two states would defend their nuclear policies in a Europe that was behaving irrationally. Austria has criticised both the Czech Republic and Hungary’s use of nuclear energy, and the Czech president said he was disquieted by any Austrian protests against plans to expand the Temelín plant in south Bohemia. He was in Hungary on the first day of a two-day state visit.
The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, will on Wednesday present the cabinet with information on which international airlines have expressed interest in taking over Czech Airlines, or ČSA. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday that the information would only concern possible interest in taking part in the privatisation of the Czech national carrier; price and other aspects would be addressed in a future phase of the process. A previous attempt to sell off ČSA in 2009 was not successful.