Prosecutors in the northern city of Děčín on Thursday charged 15 women with promoting neo-Nazism, a spokesman for the prosecution said. The charges are linked to the women’s activities in Resistance Women Unity, a neo-Nazi group. Prosecutors say the women, aged between 22 and 33, organized and promoted events held by the neo-Nazi group in Czech towns between 2007 and 2009. If convicted, they face up to eight years in jail.
A new service was launched in Prague on Thursday to improve deliveries of parcels and goods purchased on-line. The project, entitled “The Magic Cupboard”, allows people to pick up their parcels in deposit boxes located in 15 shopping malls in Prague. The service should be faster and cheaper than the delivery provided by Czech Post, according to the authors who said that around 100 pick-up locations would be available around the country by the end of the year.
Czech hockey club Plzeň defeated Slavia Prague 4:2 in game 6 of the playoffs’ semifinal series on Wednesday night to reach the final for the first time in 21 years. Playing on home ice, Plzeň soon went ahead but Slavia equalized before the end of the first period. The tie continued in the second period when both team scored a goal but in the final 20 minutes, Plzeň prevailed and scored twice to win the match and the best-of-seven series. Plzeň will face either Zlín or Třinec in the final.
In the NHL, Czech forward Martin Erat has been traded from the Nashville Predators to the Washington Capitals. The 31-year-old Erat, spent 11 seasons in Nashville and has never played for another NHL club. He signed a seven-year contract with the club five years ago but on Wednesday, he said it was time for a change, and was happy to have a chance to win the Stanley Cup.
The unusually long winter could finally end next with when a spell of warmer weather is expected, Czech meteorologists said. The end of March and beginning of April has been extremely cold, with record-low temperatures registered across the country. But next week could see daytime temperatures reach 9 degrees Celsius and even 15 degrees towards the end of the week, according to a forecast by the Czech Hydrometeorological institute.
The president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the
Czech president, Miloš Zeman, raised the flag of the European Union over
Prague Castle on Wednesday morning. The move signals a marked change from
the era of the previous Czech president, Václav Klaus, who refused to fly
the EU flag.
President Zeman also signed an addendum to the bloc’s Lisbon Treaty enabling the creation of a rescue fund, which is also something that his eurosceptic predecessor refused to do. The president called the signing “symbolic” in importance as the fund has been functioning since last autumn. He also said that he was “convinced” that by the time the Czech Republic adopts the European currency, problems like those faced by Cyprus and Greece today will have been overcome.
In related news, President Miloš Zeman said on Wednesday that he would like the Czech Republic to be part of what he termed the EU ‘hard’ core or mainstream. The president outlined that, in his view, the EU needed joint foreign, defence and fiscal policies, as well as a harmonization of the tax system. His position differs from the more reserved stance taken by the country’s government led by Prime Minister Petr Nečas, although the country’s foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, the chairman of TOP 09, is 'pro-Europe'. On Wednesday, the prime minister indicated that the government's foreign policy would not change because of the ceremonial flag-hoisting.
The Supreme Court rejected four legal complaints on Wednesday filed over ex-president Václav Klaus’ New Years amnesty. The spokesman for the court, Petr Knoetig, said the court had found the complaints inadmissible. State prosecutors were trying to prevent several long-running cases – including the criminal prosecution of three former managers at H-System – from being halted. H-system was a major home construction project which is widely seen as one of the biggest fraud cases in the country’s modern history; its head was sentenced to 12 years in prison and the amnesty had no impact on his jail term. Due to the amnesty, declared on January 1, 327 criminal prosecution cases were halted as of mid-February.
The Chamber of Deputies has passed a bill to add two significant legislatively-recognised days to the Czech calendar. The bill, which passed easily in the lower house, will see January 16 become Jan Palach day in memory of the student who set himself on fire in 1969 in protest against the invasion of Czechoslovakia and onset of the Normalisation period; March 28 will commemorate the date of birth of 17th century pedagogue, philosopher and religious thinker Jan Amos Komenský (Comenius). The amendment – if approved by the Senate and signed into law – will come into effect on August 11 – Jan Palach’s birthday. He would have turned 65 this year.
Social Democrat MP Stanislav Křeček has been elected as deputy to the country’s ombudsman Pavel Varvařovský. On Wednesday he received 83 of a possible 164 votes, defeating Filip Dienstbier (the candidate Mr Varvařovský had reportedly wanted to see in the job) receiving only 37 votes. The 74-year-old Křeček, who was nominated by the Senate, has been a member of the lower house since 1998. His seat in the chamber will be picked up by Social Democrat Gabriela Kalábková.