The head of the Czech police’s anti-corruption force, Tomáš Martinec, has announced that he is to quit the post next month. He is stepping down in the wake of a public dispute with the high state attorney, Lenka Bradáčová, who has said that the anti-corruption force was preparing a fabricated case against her. Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Officer Martinec said his department was working well but that the recent media coverage had discredited that work. The police president, Martin Červíček, said he had behaved like a man by placing the interests of the police above his own personal interests.
Two rescue workers died in a mine in Karviná, Silesia on Sunday night. Investigators said the men, who were both aged 43, had probably been poisoned when collecting air samples in an underground space. The mine’s operator, OKD, said it did not want to speculate about the cause of death, but did rule out several other possibilities. The two deaths were the first fatalities recorded this year in Karviná, which last year registered five.
The director of the Czech Republic’s traffic police is proposing marked changes to the country’s penalty points system, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Monday. Tomáš Lerch told the newspaper that he wants to see motorists punished for offences on the spot, with police given the right to confiscate technical licenses. He said this would reduce the workload of officials and help prevent obstruction on the part of drivers. The police chief also proposes that some misdemeanours be punishable after a third offence, not a second offence as at present.
The police are treating the death of a new-born girl found in Perknov in the Vysočina region on April 12 as murder, a spokesperson said on Monday. A search is underway for the mother of the child, who a post-mortem showed had been born healthy. The police in Vysočina are working with forces in West Bohemia and Germany in an effort to locate the woman. The baby’s body was discovered by a passer-by in a plastic bag in a wooded area near Perknov.
The Prague authorities are suing the operators of eight food stands on the city’s Wenceslas Square which have not removed them despite their being forcibly shut down. The city abrogated its contracts with the stands’ operators at the end of last year. One of them continues to sell pizza on the thoroughfare despite the closure order and the imposition of fines. Eighteen of a total of 23 kiosks selling fast food, newspapers and flowers on Wenceslas Square should have disappeared by the beginning of January.
A bronze chain surrounding a statute of Saint Václav (Wenceslas) sitting on a horse at the top of Prague’s Wenceslas Square is to be returned to the structure. The original chain was removed for cleaning and weather-proofing in 2005 but is to be installed once again later this week, a curator from the City of Prague Gallery said on Monday. The statue was made a national cultural monument in 1995.
The Czech Republic have been knocked out in the semi-finals of tennis’s Fed Cup by Italy. The Czechs had lost the opening two rubbers only to recover and take the tie to 2:2 on a clay court in Palermo. However, in Monday’s fifth and final match Lucie Šafářová lost 3-6 6-7 3-6 to Roberta Vinci. Last year the Czechs won the competition, shortly before the Czech men took the Davis Cup; it was the first time the country had held both team titles simultaneously.
The Davis Cup trophy is to be displayed at Prague’s Obecní Dům (Municipal House) for seven days starting April 29 at an exhibition of posters by Alfons Mucha that is owned by former world number one Ivan Lendl, who was part of the Czechoslovak team which won the competition in 1980. Lendl is coming to Prague to inspect the exhibition, which comprises the world’s most complete collection of the poster work of the great Czech Art Nouveau painter, at the end of the month. Over 18,000 people have seen it since it opened to the public less than two weeks ago.
Over 2,000 fans welcomed Plzeň’s ice hockey team to the West Bohemian city in the early hours of Monday morning, hours after they had won the Extraliga for the first time ever. Plzeň took the title following a fairytale 4:3 victory over Zlín on Sunday in the last game of the best-of-seven playoff final. The highly dramatic match went to two overtime periods and was decided after a record 96 minutes 15 seconds.
Czech President Miloš Zeman told a German regional daily Passauer Neue Presse in an interview published on Saturday that he imagined the Czech Republic could adopt the European currency and join the euro zone within the next five years. The position is a departure from that of his predecessor Václav Klaus. In the interview, the president also said he was against Turkey’s joining the EU; by contrast, he suggested that Russia could join over the next 20 years. Discussing EU foreign policy priorities, Mr Zeman stressed the importance of combating terrorism (including Islamic terrorism), an area where he would like to see the Czech Republic play a greater part.