Plzeň City Hall on Thursday rejected a controversial plan to build a large new shopping mall in the centre of the west Bohemian city. The decision comes some two months after the plans were turned down in a local referendum. City officials said the project’s investor failed to meet several conditions related to construction activity in the area, and did not prove it owned the land on which the mall was going to be erected. The investor, Amádeus Plzeň, said they would wait for the record of Thursday’s decision by Plzeň City Hall before they take further steps.
The number of unmarried couples in the Czech Republic has reached a record high of 238,000, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office. The number of partners living together without having gotten married has grown five-fold in the past fifty years. Most of the people are between 25 and 39 years old, more than half have never been married, and a third are divorcees. The number of registered marriages is also steadily decreasing. In 2011 the Czech Republic registered the least number of marriages since 1918.
At a farewell event with the cabinet on Wednesday morning, outgoing President Václav Klaus said that Primer Minister Nečas’ government did not utilize the full potential of the strong support it had received in the 2010 elections. Mr Nečas retorted by stating that his government has gotten all the laws that it put forward passed in parliament. Mr Klaus also expressed the opinion that the presidential veto should carry more weight than it currently does.
President Klaus and Slovak President Ivan Gasparovič have presented each other with the countries’ highest state distinctions on Wednesday afternoon at the Vila Tugenhat in Brno. Mr Klaus presented his counterpart with the Order of the White Lion first class, and received the Slovak Order of the White Double Cross. A number of people staged a protest before the event in front of the venue by turning their backs to the arriving President Klaus, a Facebook group called on people to attend the protest and give fake awards to their friends. Vila Tugenhat was the site of the signing of the document dissolving Czechoslovakia in June 1992.
Czech legend Jaromir Jágr has won the first round of the Golden Hockey Stick, which is annually awarded to the best Czech ice hockey player, based on votes by trainers, hockey officials and sports journalists. The third round, which will be held in the summer, will decide if Jágr will receive the award for the eleventh time in his career.
The Prague city police will return equipment worth all together around 7 million crowns to the city hall. The police chief Eduard Šuster said that his men do not need the equipment, which includes hummers, a hovercraft, motorcycles and other items. The town hall will most likely redistribute the machinery and weapons that were purchased a few years ago either to the fire department or to police in other regions. Mr Šuster, who became head of the municipal police only two months ago, promised in February that the police will do more with less.
The anti-corruption police has made a series of arrests on Tuesday and Wednesday on massive tax evasion charges. Nine people around the country have been charged so far, with eight remaining in police custody. According to the police, suspects were involved in tax evasion by issuing phony invoices to each other’s companies, with damages to the state running into tens of millions of crowns. During some 30 home searches, detectives were able to secure 45 million crowns in cash, as well as some property.
The British folk-rock band Mumford & Sons – winner of this year’s Grammy awards – will perform in Prague on Wednesday night. The band’s Czech premiere was originally supposed to take place in Lucerna’s downstairs Music Club, but given the amount of interest the organizers have moved the concert to Lucerna’s main concert and dance hall.
A number of major financial institutions in the Czech Republic were attacked by hackers on Wednesday morning. The websites and internet banking sites of the Czech National Bank and large banks like Česká spořitelna, Komerční banka, and ČSOB were down for a number of hours due to the cyber attack. The website of the Prague Stock Exchange has also been affected, while smaller banks like mBank and AirBank were not attacked by hackers. Spokesperson from the Česká spořitelna bank said that customers’ personal data has not been compromised. This comes in the wake of cyber attacks conducted earlier this week against Czech news websites and the search engine Seznam.
One person died and another is feared dead following a traffic accident on Tuesday evening on Manes Bridge in the centre of Prague. Sources reported that a 67-year-old motorist veered into the opposite lane and hit a group of pedestrians on the sidewalk. Two people – a 43-year-old woman and a man – were knocked off the bridge in the accident, falling into the Vltava River below. The woman, who was resuscitated by medics after she was pulled from the water, died later in hospital. An intense search for the other person who fell in the river is underway. Two other people in the accident, as well as the driver of the car, suffered minor injuries.
Czech researchers develop top-grade respirator for 3D printing
“I am taking it minute by minute” – Foreigners in the Czech Republic on quarantine and being cut off from their families
A mask-tree as a form of solidarity
Czechs resort to making DIY facemasks in face of their shortage
Why Chinese masks destined for Italy were seized (not ‘stolen’) by Czech authorities