A court in Prague on Wednesday sentenced high-profile physician Jaroslav Barták to 14 years in prison for sexually abusing his assistants. Mr Barták was convicted of assaulting 10 women between 2006 and 2010 who worked as his assistants; the court found the 54-year-old man guilty on six charges of rape, three charges of sexual assault, as well as on charges of blackmail and restricting personal liberty. Mr Barták, who co-owns a well-known Prague clinic and served as the head of a local branch of Lions Club International, has consistently denied all charges and said he was victim of a conspiracy, a claim rejected by the court.
In related news, Czech exports in 2012 for the first time exceeded 3 trillion crowns, or nearly 158 billion US dollars, according to government figures released on Wednesday. The exports consisted mainly of machinery, vehicles and other final products. Some analysts believe the results point to a beginning of economic recovery in the Czech Republic which has been in recession for over a year. The country also registered a record foreign trade surplus last year which amounted to 310 billion crowns, more than 30 percent more than in the previous year.
The Czech government on Wednesday approved a military training mission to Mali. The Czech contingent should be part of an EU mission to the African country destabilized by Islamist insurgency, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said. The mission, consisting of up to 50 instructors, is yet to be approved by the lower house; the opposition Social Democrat leader, Bohuslav Sobotka said however his party would agree provided Czech soldiers would not take part in the fighting. Czech instructors should assist in training Malian mechanized infantry troops at various army bases. The mission’s budget of around 220 million crowns should be paid for by the Czech Defence Ministry.
A theatre in Brno is lobbying to have a street in the Czech Republic’s second city named after the late president and playwright Václav Havel. Members of Divadlo Husa na provázku have sent a proposal to that end to the Town Hall in Brno Central, the news site Novinky.cz reported. The local mayor said he was waiting to hear the opinions of local people on the idea of making a space leading to the theatre, which is currently without a name, Václav Havel St. Mr. Havel, who died in December 2011, had links to the theatre, which put on some of his plays prior to the fall of communism.
The Social Democrats would come first in general elections with 24.6 of the vote if they were held this month, suggests a poll conducted by the ppm factum agency. The Civic Democrats placed second in the survey, with 15.6 percent backing, just ahead of their rivals on the right TOP 09 on 14.5 percent. The Communists would garner 13.8 percent support, the poll indicates. The Citizens’ Rights Party-Zemanites of president elect Miloš Zeman would enter the lower house on 7.4 percent, as would the Christian Democrats with the same tally.
The president, Václav Klaus, held a meeting with his successor, Miloš Zeman, at Prague Castle on Tuesday. Mr. Klaus told reporters that while he had supported Mr. Zeman in the recent presidential election, he remained his “eternal and immortal enemy” and had agreed with very few statements Mr. Zeman had ever made. For his part, Mr. Zeman said he wished to thank Mr. Klaus for backing him against Karel Schwarzenberg in the country’s first direct presidential election. The president formerly headed the right-wing Civic Democrats, while the future head of state led the leftist Social Democrats. While Mr. Zeman was prime minister from 1998 to 2002, Mr. Klaus’s party supported his government under a much-criticised “opposition agreement”.
The Czech ice hockey player Milan Hejduk played his 1000th game in the NHL on Monday. Hejduk, who is 36, marked the milestone with his first goal of the season for Colorado Avalanche in their 2:3 defeat to Jaromír Jágr’s Dallas. The right wing, whose career began with the Czech club Pardubice, earned a Stanley Cup ring with Colorado in the 2001–2002 season. Hejduk says this may well be his last season.
The Prague authorities are planning to rebuild the city’s Old Town Market, which was located in the space between the streets 28. října, Rytířská, Perlová in the heart of the capital. The listed building today houses a supermarket and restaurants, with the only evidence of its previous usage a decorated passage leading to Rytířská St. A spokesperson for the city says it will again serve as a market place when the CZK 28 million project is completed.
Many schools and government offices in the Czech Republic are abandoning the tradition of hanging a portrait of the head of state, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. The newspaper said many head teachers and state officials would not be ordering a portrait of Miloš Zeman, who becomes president in a month’s time. Hundreds of framed photographs of the outgoing president, Václav Klaus, were taken down recently in protest at an amnesty he declared at the start of the year. The tradition of placing portraits of the head of state in classrooms, mayor’s offices and other spaces – which is not enshrined in law – dates back to the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Chelsea star Petr Čech has been named Czech Footballer of the Year for a record sixth time. The goalkeeper, who is 31, appeared at Monday’s award ceremony in Prague with a splint on his finger, after breaking it in a Premiere League match at the weekend. Having won a series of titles with Chelsea, Čech helped the club to a first Champions League trophy last May. His sixth Czech player of the year award saw him pass out a previous goalkeeping legend, Ivo Viktor, who was a member of the Czechoslovak team that won the European Championship in 1976.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
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Czech Republic goes into quarantine to slow down coronavirus spread
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
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