Ten people had to be evacuated from their homes on Prague’s Národní Street on Wednesday morning after a fire broke out on the roof of their building, the historic Topičův Dum (Topič House). One person had to be treated in hospital for smoke inhalation. The fire began at around 4:30 in the morning and was put out by 7 am. Topičův Dum, located across from the National Theatre, has a rich history and is regarded as an important example of Art Nouveau architecture.
The Chamber of Deputies has passed an amendment paving the way for the introduction of the electronic registration of firearms in the Czech Republic, to replace an outdated hardcopy registration system. The new system, which will now have to receive majority backing in the Senate, will also introduce other changes, extending, for example, the period of validity of firearm permits. The amendment is also meant to increase safety and security in the transport of firearms, to be overseen by the police. If passed into law, the legislation will come into effect in the middle of next year.
Tomáš Berdych has advanced to the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters in Florida. The Czech men’s tennis number one easily overcame Sam Querrey of the United States 6-1 6-1 in just 51 minutes, a contrast with his previous outing when it took him two and a half hours to overcome Colombia’s Alejandro Falla. Berdych will now face Richard Gasquet of France for a place in the semi-finals.
Police have sifted through some 300 tonnes of garbage at a waste site in the area of Jihlava since Tuesday evening, idnes and Tn.cz report, speculating that officials may have found the body of a 15-year-old girl missing in the area since mid-March. According to sources, she was last seen leaving a local discotheque with another individual. Both idnes and Tn.cz report that police had uncovered key evidence in the case and were holding a suspect who has allegedly already confessed to the girl’s murder.
Construction work at the AZ Tower in Brno – at 111 metres the tallest building in the Czech Republic – is complete; officials said that workers were now only finishing up the interiors. The AZ Tower, designed by architects Gustav Křivinka and Aleš Burian, edges the City Tower at Prague’s Pankrác by two metres. The building is slated to house offices, apartments, restaurants and shops and other services, including an auto salon and fitness club. The new building was designed to make use of Green technology in order to leave a smaller ecological footprint.
The Czech Republic's Constitutional Court on Wednesday threw out treason charges filed by a group of senators against former president Václav Klaus. Parliament's upper house, dominated by the leftwing Social Democrats, voted on March 4 to file the charges against the then outgoing president on the claim he had on several occasions acted outside the boundaries of the country’s constitution. Central to the treason charge was a controversial amnesty Mr Klaus declared on January 1. Had Mr Klaus - who stepped down on March 7 - been convicted as charged, the worst punishment he could have received was the loss of office and a ban from running for president again.
Prague’s transit authority has announced that part of a tram route on Prague’s busy Milada Horáková Street in Prague 6 will be halted for a period of three months, due to renovation and construction work on both the route and the city’s Blanka Tunnel. Trams will be rerouted along several stops across from Prague Castle, beginning on March 31. The rerouting is relatively minor in comparison to a major section of the same road being closed off for several months in Prague 7 last year, which led to marked traffic delays on Letná plain.
Smaller towns and villages are beginning to suffer a lack of medical and dental services, the Union of Towns and Associations has confirmed. The union is to begin talks with regional authorities as well as insurance companies to try and improve the situation. Representatives of villages and small towns in the region of Karlovy Vary, meeting on Wednesday, confirmed that action needed to be taken, for example offering health care workers already well-equipped facilities as an incentive. The number of GPs and dentists has dropped in part due to retirement age as well as a lower number of graduates entering the field.
President Miloš Zeman will reportedly veto legislation on waste disposal that includes a loophole benefit for solar energy operators, the president’s spokeswoman Hana Burianová has revealed. If the president takes the step, the veto will be his first since taking office. The mistake in the law, allows solar energy plants an additional six months to sign contracts on financing for the removal of solar panel waste. The chairwoman of the lower house, Miroslava Němcová, said the chamber had not passed the bill in its current wording but that the mistake had taken place in the Senate.
Česká mincovna, a partner of the Czech national bank, has begun manufacturing a one kilogram gold medal featuring 19th century writer Božena Němcová, news website idnes reports. According to idnes, the medal will sell for almost 1.5 million crowns. The author of the design featuring Božena Němcová is the late Oldřich Kulhánek. Mr Kulhánek was best-known for designing the Czech Republic’s banknotes, still in use. The commercial mint is calling the release a tribute to the artist who died unexpectedly in January at the age of 72.
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