The Mountain Rescue Service in the Beskydy Mountains has issued a statement warning hikers or ski alpinists to stay off the upper ridges of the peaks in the area due to the danger of avalanches. The Beskdy Mountains saw an additional 15 centimetres of snow overnight, with the total amount at the top of the mountains ranging between 100 – 120 centimetres. The Beskydy’s Lysá hora has the most: 150 centimetres.
Star forward Jaromír Jágr has joined the Boston Bruins from the Dallas Stars. Jágr, who is 41, is the 10th leading goal scorer in the history of the NHL and is perhaps the greatest Czech hockey player of all time. He is regarded as having a genuine chance of winning the Stanley Cup with Boston, which is also home to Czech centre David Krejčí. The Bruins are Jágr’s sixth NHL club.
The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, is due to arrive in Prague on Tuesday evening for a short visit. Mr. Barroso will be welcomed by the Czech president, Miloš Zeman. On Wednesday morning the two officials will raise the flag of the European Union above Prague Castle; the move will signal a marked change from the era of the previous Czech president, Václav Klaus, who refused to fly the EU flag. President Zeman will also sign an addendum to the bloc’s Lisbon Treaty enabling the creation of a rescue fund, which is also something that his eurosceptic predecessor refused to do.
A former senator for the Civic Democrats must begin serving a prison term, a court in the north Bohemian town of Chomutov ruled on Tuesday. Alexandr Novák, who is also a former mayor of Chomutov, had been avoiding going to jail on health grounds. However, the court found that he was not too ill to serve a four-year term for corruption. Police arrested Mr. Novák at his office shortly after the court’s verdict was announced on Tuesday and brought him to Pankrác prison in Prague.
The Central Bohemian Regional Court in Prague has refused to allow MP David Rath, who has been in custody for the best part of a year, out on bail. Last month, relatives of Mr. Rath’s posted bail of CZK 2 million set by a lower court; however, the state attorney filed a challenge against the procedure and it was evidently upheld by Tuesday’s decision. The former Social Democrat governor of Central Bohemia and a one-time health minister, Mr. Rath was arrested in May 2012 on corruption charges.
The police have recommended that a charge of attempted murder be filed against influential Prague businessman Roman Janoušek. Mr. Janoušek was arrested last year after, in a state of apparent inebriation, knocking down another driver and speeding away. He currently faces charges of intentional grievous bodily harm. The businessman, who is believed to have been close to former mayor Pavel Bém and other politicians, could face up to 18 years in jail if found guilty of attempted murder. The state attorney is due to decide on how to proceed in the case by the middle of next month.
The Czech Republic and other European states share a view of the conflict between Palestine and Israel, but they cannot reach agreement on how to achieve peace in the Middle East, the Czech minister of foreign affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg, said after a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Maliki, in Prague on Tuesday. Mr. Schwarzenberg said he agreed with his visitor that Palestine should become a real state, but said the two differed on tactics. The Czech Republic is commonly considered an ally of Israel and in December was the only EU member to vote at the UN against granting observer status to the Palestinians.
The number of native speakers teaching English or other languages in Czech schools has fallen dramatically since the 1990s, iDnes.cz reported on Tuesday. The news website said that young foreigners are less interested in spending time in the Czech Republic, while schools cannot afford them and are also more selective when it comes to hiring. An annual report from the national schools inspection agency says the share of native speakers in schools today is “almost imperceptible” compared to the 1990s. However, some 3 percent of English teachers are native speakers, as are 5.5 percent of German teachers.
The percentage of senior citizens in Czech society is on the rise. However, it is still below the EU average. That is according to a Eurostat study quoted by the Czech News Agency. The survey, carried out between 1992 and 2012, found that the portion of over 65s in the Czech Republic grew from 19.1 percent to 23.4 percent over the decade in question. However, the EU average climbed to 26.8 percent in the same period.