The organized crime unit of the Czech Police has arrested eight men from Kladno, for procurement of sexual services, as well as human and drug trafficking. The men would allegedly have 12 to 15 prostitutes offer their services at a rest-area on the D5 freeway near the town of Rudná near Prague, and took the women’s earnings. The police have followed the gang’s activities since the end of 2011. Three of the accused are in custody, while the other five were released on bail awaiting trial.
The first European garage designated exclusively for bicycles opened in the center of Hradec Králové. The octagonal multi-story glass structure can house up to 116 bicycles. Bikes are placed in free spots by an automated lift and can be left in the garage for five crowns per day. The investor and creator of the project, Rudolf Bernart, said that he was inspired by a similar garage he saw in Shanghai.
The Palác Akropolis performance and musical art space in Prague will launch a new play called ČEZKO FOREVER/A True Story about a corruption scandal involving the energy company ČEZ and Škoda Power. The production, which is supported by millionaire Karel Janeček’s Anti-Corruption Endowment Fund, will premiere on Monday. The play was inspired by a secret recording of deals made by a well-known lobbyist.
Police say they are leaning toward the view that a fatal explosion at an apartment building in the north Moravian town of Frenštát pod Radhoštěm on Sunday was caused deliberately by a resident. Police chief Martin Červíček said on Tuesday that he believed a serious criminal act had been committed. Another police representative said reports that a 62-year-old man who lived in the basement of the building had barricaded the doors had not been confirmed. The fire is thought to have broken out in different parts of the structure at the same time. At least five people were killed in the blast, including the suspected arsonist and three children. Two survivors are fighting for their lives in hospital.
The authorities in Bulgaria are planning to strip the Czech power giant CEZ of its distribution license in the country on Tuesday, Bulgaria’s Focus news agency reported, referring to a statement made by the country’s prime minister, Boyko Borisov, at a news conference in Sofia. People in Bulgaria have been protesting against what they regard as the excessively high prices for electricity charged by CEZ and an Austrian company. An analyst told the news website iHned.cz that a forced exit from Bulgaria could cost CEZ as much as CZK 15 billion.
Reacting to developments surrounding CEZ's position in Bulgaria, the Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, said on Tuesday that he expected that Bulgaria, as an EU member, would adhere to its international commitments and treaties regarding the protection of investments. Mr. Nečas said he believed the dispute over electricity prices had become politicised and said comments made by Bulgarian officials were out of the ordinary. Speaking in Brussels, the Czech minister of industry and trade, Martin Kuba, said the situation was alarming, adding that he was prepared to discuss the matter with the European Commission.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved the sending of Czech soldiers to Mali, where they will take part in a European Union mission. If the legislation is passed by the Senate, around 50 Czechs will be sent to the West African state, where as well as training local troops they will guard a base in the capital Bamako. Prime Minister Petr Nečas, who is currently also acting defence minister, said the soldiers’ role would be a non-combat one. The Czech mission is mandated to last for a maximum of 15 months.
The Supreme Administrative Court has confirmed the victory of Miloš Zeman in last month’s presidential vote after on Tuesday rejecting the last of over 100 complaints filed against the election. Several of the challenges related to the presidential campaign, in which claimants said Mr. Zeman had employed untrue, xenophobic and nationalistic arguments. The court said some of the victor’s statements could have been perceived as incorrect, demagogic or even mendacious; however, they were not so serious as to force the abrogation of the election, it said. The unsuccessful claimants can in theory now turn to the Constitutional Court, but such a course would not prevent Mr. Zeman’s inauguration on March 8.
František Čuba, the 77-year-old former head of a Communist-era agricultural collective, will serve as an advisor on farming issues to President Miloš Zeman when he is installed at Prague Castle, the two men announced after a meeting on Tuesday. Mr. Čuba, who is a member of Mr. Zeman’s Citizens’ Rights Party, is known for heading a collective farm at Slušovice in South Moravia in the 1980s; the farm achieved a “socialist miracle” by branching out into other areas of the economy and generating huge turnover.