Prague zoo opened a new habitat for elephants and hippos on Saturday. The occasion was accompanied by a name-giving ceremony for a baby elephant which was born in January. The elephant girl was named Sita. The new habitat, which cost over 500 million crowns, will allow the zoo to extend its elephant breeding programme, zoo’s management said. Prague zoo has bred elephants since 1933; it now has seven female, one male and one baby elephant.
The Czech Republic switches to summer time, or daylight saving time, at 2 AM on Sunday, along with the rest of Europe. Summer time will end in October. The change will affect 15 express trains which will be delayed by an hour, Czech Railways said. In the Czech Republic, summer time was first introduced during WWI and then again during WWII. It was abolished in 1949 but brought back by the communist authorities in 1979.
Regular season winners Slavia Prague beat Plzeň 3:2 in the fourth game of the best-of-seven semifinal series of the Czech hockey league playoffs on Friday night, and tied the series 2:2. The fifth game is scheduled on Monday. In the other semifinal series which continues on Saturday, Zlín is tied 1:1 with Třinec.
All presidential candidates filed their campaign accounts to the Czech Senate on Friday afternoon as required by law, the news agency ČTK reported. President Miloš Zeman was the last to file his documents which show his campaign owes three million crowns. His spokeswoman said all debts would be settled next week with contributions from his sponsors. Around six million is reportedly owed by another candidate, Jan Fischer. The deadline for filing the accounts expires on Saturday. The Senate’s mandate and immunity committee will have the accounts audited by a private firm; the candidates are also obliged by law to release the documents to the public.
The Czech Helsinki Committee for Human Rights has criticized conditions for inmates in police custody. In a report released on Friday, the group says that inmates are forced to stay in small cells, do not have enough space for their daily open-air exercise, and cannot wash themselves frequently enough. The report notes the Czech prison system is underfinanced. In reaction, deputy justice minister Daniel Volák said the report was compiled before New Year’s presidential amnesty when prisons were overcrowded. Mr Volák said the situation has since improved.
Some 84 percent of Czech would like to decide on important local issues themselves rather than leave the decisions to elected politicians, according to a new poll by the CVVM agency released on Friday. Nearly 60 percent of people would also like to apply the same principle to issues of national importance. However, most of those polled said they would leave decisions concerning legislation and international treaties to politicians.
Czech spas will let go around 18 percent of their employees this year due to cuts to health care covering spa treatment, the Czech Association of Spa Resorts said on Friday. The Health Ministry believes the extent of insurance-covered spa treatment in the Czech Republic is excessive, and last year narrowed the number of diagnosis eligible for spa treatment, and also shortened the lengths of stays. This has lead to a 40- to 45-percent drop in the number of clients in the first two months of this year, the association said.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the case of a missing Czech businessman believed to have been abducted in southern France in March of this year. Interpol officers on the case say 72-year-old Tomas Vlach who travelled to France to close a real estate deal was most likely abducted by the Czech clients he was dealing with. One of the men arrested reportedly met Vlach at Nice Airport on March 7. His family last heard from him when he confirmed having arrived safely in France but he never made it to his hotel. Another missing Czech entrepreneur disappeared under similar circumstances in 2008 and there has been no trace of him since.
The police in Jihlava on Friday charged two men, aged 20, with the brutal murder of a 15-year-old schoolgirl. Another 18-year-old man has been charged with assisting the murderers and failing to report the crime. The police believe the girl came to apartment of one of the men willingly last Friday night; for reasons yet to be established. She was overpowered and thrown out of the window. The girl survived the fall so the men dragged her in again and strangled her. They later dumped the body at a waste disposal site outside the town where it was discovered earlier this week. The two 20-year-old men, who were placed in custody, face up to 20 years in jail while their 18-year-old accomplice could land a 4-year sentence.
A woman was admitted to a Prague hospital with methanol poisoning on Friday, a spokesman for the facility said, the second such case registered in the Czech Republic this week. Some 40 people have died in the country since the outbreak of the methanol crisis last September. The police have meanwhile charged another five people for selling bootleg liquor on the black market. The country’s chief hygiene officer has again warned against drinking alcohol from unknown sources.