According to Supreme Audit Office of the Czech Republic, the Environment Ministry erred in the purchase of information technology. The ministry allegedly broke a number of laws in the process. Mistakes in public tenders worth almost one billion crowns are the most serious. Criminal charges are expected.
Czech hockey star Jaromír Jágr got off to a dream start with his
new NHL club the Dallas Stars. On Saturday the forward, who recently
in the Czech league during the NHL lockout, was involved in all four goals
by his club, scoring two and earning two assists against the Phoenix
Coyotes. The Stars edged the Coyotes 4:3.
In other NHL action, goalie Tomáš Vokoun got off to a good start with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team’s No. 2 goalie stopped 31 of 34 shots by the New York Rangers after a 10-month layoff due to a groin injury and the NHL lockout. The Penguins won the game 6:3.
Unsuccessful presidential candidate Jan Fischer, who finished third in the first round of the country’s direct presidential elections, has indirectly expressed support for Miloš Zeman in the second round. Mr Fischer, a former prime minister, said he could not support the other candidate, Karel Schwarzenberg. In a statement for the Czech news agency, Mr Fischer accused Schwarzenberg of having hurt the interests of the country, referring to a statement during a debate in which Mr Schwarzenberg discussed the historic expulsion of 2.5 million Germans from Czechoslovakia after World War II. The candidate expressed the opinion that from today’s perspective the expulsion would be regarded as a violation of human rights. Jan Fischer maintained that by comparison Miloš Zeman’s views were consistent and well-known. The unsuccessful candidate has said he himself will go to the polls but suggested he will not endorse either of the candidates beforehand, to allow those who initially supported him to come to their own decision.
The anti-corruption police on Monday conducted a search of the offices of the state-owned forestry enterprise Lesy ČR in Hradec Králové. The move, sources reported, is related to an investigation of a number of non-transparent tenders involving the purchase of IT technology. News site E15 reported earlier that the investigation was related to the fate of 340 million crowns said to have ended up in the hands of non-transparent firms with accounts in Switzerland. According to E15, there is reason to believe that IT contracts worth a total of 1.136 billion crowns had been purposely overvalued. The spokesman for the anti-corruption police, Jaroslav Ibehej, revealed on Monday there had been no arrests; the interim head and economic director of the firm, Michal Gaube, meanwhile, said the forestry enterprise was cooperating fully.
A five-year-old boy was seriously injured at a ski hill in the Jeseníky Mountains on Sunday when he was accidently struck by an adult skier. He suffered a broken upper arm and collarbone in the collision. The 23-year-old who crashed into the boy could be charged with negligence leading to bodily harm; if found guilty, he could face up to a year in prison. The Jeseníky Mountains saw more than 25 incidents in which rescuers were called at the weekend; areas were busier than usual, with skiers out in force to enjoy ideal snow conditions.
Two old age pensioners, both women, died in a fire at a nursing home in Příbor in the area of Nový Jičín; four others were taken to hospital for treatment. Overall, 20 people had to be evacuated from the building. Police are investigating possible casues, focussing on the apartment where the fire broke out.
A 17-year-old girl is fighting for her life in a hospital in the region of Ústí after suffering methanol poisoning. She was transferred to hospital on Sunday. The cause of the poisoning has not yet been determined; the police are interviewing witnesses while a toxicology report on Tuesday is expected to reveal more. Forty people in the Czech Republic died of methanol poisoning following an outbreak last September after the chemical was used in illegal alcohol production by bootleggers.
The Czech Republic was able to attract 48 companies to the country in 2012, which is the highest number since the financial crisis began in 2008, the financial daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Monday. Hospodářské noviny reported that the increase in the number and size of the investments is most likely due to the improvements in the tax code that came into effect mid-year, which allows for more tax benefits for companies.
Tennis player Tomáš Berdych has advanced into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Sunday, beating the South African Kevin Anderson. Berdych, who has not lost a single set in the first Grand Slam of the year, dominated over Anderson with the final score 6:3, 6:2, 7:6. The sixth seeded Czech will most likely face the world number one Novak Djoković on Tuesday. The two faced each other 12 times, and Bedych beat the Serb won only one match at the 2010 Wimbledon.
Concerts will take place in more than 60 locations across the Czech Republic on Sunday night in support of one of the presidential candidates, Karel Schwarzenberg. Famous Czech acts like Tata Bojs, Čechomor and others will appear in support of the second-place winner of the first round of the presidential elections. A number of artists including Jiřina Bohdalová and Lucie Bílá have in the past weeks come out in support of the other presidential candidate Miloš Zeman.
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A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Czechs resort to making DIY facemasks in face of their shortage
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