Monday, May 6th sees the beginning of a week-long campaign for road safety in the Czech Republic, this year focussing on pedestrians. On Monday, representatives of BESIP’s Road Safety Department (which falls under the Transport Ministry) launched a new ad featuring the country’s president, Miloš Zeman. In the video, Mr Zeman voiced support for the week-long campaign but also expressed opposition to what he termed “dangerous sports”, which he said directly or indirectly threatened young lives. He pointed specifically to rally car racing in the Czech Republic, a sport that has seen a number of fatalities in recent years, both of drivers and onlookers. The president voiced the opinion that such sports should be banned. The campaign wraps up on May 12.
Singer Marta Kubišová will not have to pay Agentura MM Praha 1.38 million crowns over a “cancelled” Golden Kids tour, the Supreme Court has confirmed. The court rejected an appeal by the agency and upheld a decision by the Prague Municipal Court in 2010 that there was never a written or verbal contract over which Ms. Kubišová could be sued. Agentura MM Praha, representing singer Helena Vondráčková, claims that Marta Kubišová backed out of tour plans already agreed, thus causing damages. The firm’s representative Martin Michal (who is Mrs Vondráčková’s husband) said the agency will petition the Constitutional Court.
In a statement released on Monday, President Miloš Zeman charged that
Pavel Hasenkopf – a former legal aide at Prague Castle – was a
co-author of the highly controversial article 2 in this year’s
presidential amnesty. The article halted legal proceedings, including
cases of economic crime and corruption, lasting eight years or longer. Mr
Zeman released the statement after studying material at the weekend
provided by Mr Hasenkopf, who has himself strongly denied involvement.
The news website idnes suggests the president based his conclusion primarily on an email between Hasenkopf and former presidential aide Ladislav Jakl dated October 22 of last year, in which the lawyer suggested that cases that had been tied-up in the courts for years could be halted. Hasenkopf told news website idnes that while he prepared key steps to that aim, they were limited only to certain kinds of cases and had been radically altered in the final amnesty declared by the president. For his part, former president Václav Klaus told Právo at the weekend that he and he alone was the author of the amnesty declared on January 1.
The Czech Republic’s national hockey team faces the Swiss at the Ice Hockey World Championship on Monday afternoon. The Swiss so far have been the surprise of the tournament, upending first hosts Sweden and then Canada. The Czechs have won one and lost one so far. They beat Belarus but were defeated by Sweden 2:1 despite an outstanding performance by goalie Salák, who will be in net again against the Swiss team.
MP Jiří Šlégr has admitted he may give up his seat in the Chamber of Deputies to return to the sport of hockey, Czech daily Lidové noviny writes. Šlégr, one of the faces of the LEV 21 party, founded by former Social Democrat leader and former prime minister Jiří Paroubek, told the daily he was considering the idea of playing for Litvínov and said the posts clearly were not compatible. Šlégr is a former defenceman and both a Stanley Cup champion and Olympic gold medal winner. If he steps down, he will be replaced by Petr Benda, party leader Jiří Paroubek confirmed.
Classes at FAMU film school and the Social Sciences Faculty of Charles University resumed on Monday a week after a massive explosion rocked an adjacent building in Prague’s Divadlení Street. A suspected gas explosion saw one floor collapse at the site, and glass and debris thrown into the street. Windows in all of the surrounding buildings were also shattered by the shockwave that left more than 40 people injured – one of them seriously. Police, fire fighters and rescue workers had to block off the area as a result and the building had to be reinforced by a construction and engineering crew to prevent it from collapse.
The Prague State Attorney’s Office has filed charges against lobbyist Roman Janoušek for his role in a hit-and-run last year in the Czech capital. In the incident, the suspect is alleged to have struck a fellow driver who had gotten out of her vehicle after he hit her car from behind. Under the influence of alcohol (later shown in a breathalyser test) he then sped from the scene. Mr Janoušek has been charged with attempted murder and endangering the public due to intoxication; if found guilty in the case Mr Janoušek could face up to 18 years in jail.
Police are searching for a suspect who piled rocks in several areas along a train route in the area of Šumperk. In at least one case, the train driver noticed in time was able to stop and remove the 65 stones over a three metre distance; in others the trains passed through without incident. The suspect is wanted for endangering the public the police have asked the public for help.
Police have charged Slávek Popelka, the head of a citizen’s initiative Holešovská výzva (Holešovská appeal) with violence against an official, the spokesman for Prague’s municipal police, Tomáš Hulan, has said. During a demonstration in April the 57-year-old Popelka – who was blocking traffic in front of the office of the government – allegedly drove his vehicle into a police officer – a charge that carries a sentence of up to four years in prison.
Israeli President Shimon Peres confirmed in talks on Monday with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, that the Czech head-of-state, Miloš Zeman, will visit the country in October. The last time Mr Zeman visited Israel was as Czech prime minister in 2002, when he raised controversy by comparing then Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Adolf Hitler. His statements, made in an interview for the Ha'aretz newspaper, drew condemnation both from the Arab world and Brussels. Mr Schwarzenberg is in Jerusalem to discuss the next Czech-Israeli inter-governmental meeting to take place in July, when Prime Minister Petr Nečas and his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as some cabinet ministers, will attend.
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