The traditional Summer School of Slavonic Languages began on Saturday at Palacky University in Olomouc. The annual three-week program is meant to introduce students from all over the world to Czech language, culture and literature, also offering optional Russian and Polish courses as well as organized weekend trips to a number of Czech towns. This year, around 80 students from 25 countries will be participating in the program. The largest group of students by country came from France.
Parts of the Krkonoše National Park have been closed off to the public as of Saturday. Park officials have done so in an attempt to limit damage to nature, which is often caused by blueberry pickers who go off the marked trails in the summer months. The regulation, which does not apply to marked trails, will be in effect until 15 October. The park has been issuing similar regulations since 2001.
Prague’s Slavia tied with Ostrava’s Baník 1:1 on Friday night in the first Gambrinus league football game of the season. Although Slavia had a good showing playing on home turf, Baník were the first to score. Although Slavia’s Tomáš Mičola evened out the score two minutes later, the home team was unable to get another goal before the end of the game. This is the eighth time in a row that Slavia was not able to win against the Ostrava team, and the sixth time that they did not win their first match of the season.
All four people accused in a bribery case of former PM Petr Nečas’ chief of staff have been released from police custody. Mr Nečas’s former chief aide, Jana Nagyová, left an Ostrava prison shortly after noon on Friday following a court ruling that there was no longer a risk of them influencing witnesses. Another three people, including the former head of the Czech military intelligence service, Ondřej Páleník, were released later on Friday They were detained last month in a large-scale police operation related to the case of three former MPs accused of bribe taking. The scandal eventually led to the collapse of the centre-right Czech government.
Three former MPs charged with bribe-taking but released this week could still face criminal proceedings. The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that their actions were covered by their parliamentary immunity. The three former Civic Democrat deputies faced bribery charges for allegedly having agreed to quit their seats in the lower house in return for posts in state-run companies. However, a spokesman for the Supreme Court said on Friday their immunity only applied to their decision to step down as MPs while any further circumstances as well as their motivation could be subject to criminal proceedings.
The police have charged a 31-year-old woman with the murder of three newborn babies, the chief of the South Moravian police force, Leoš Tržil told reporters on Friday. The babies’ bodies were discovered in the cellar of the woman’s house in Vlasatice, outside Brno, on Thursday night. The woman confessed to having killed her twins roughly a year ago, and another newborn last May. The police were tipped off by the woman’s gynaecologist whom she told the newborn died in hospital soon after the birth. The woman said she had killed the babies due to her depressing financial situation, according to the police. If convicted, she faces a life sentence.
Czech Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok will head a working group overseeing the drawing of EU funds. The group will also include two government ministers and representatives of the regions, the prime minister told reporters on Friday. The Czech Republic has had serious problems with securing EU funds, and has been criticized by the European Commission over insufficient control of EU-funded projects.
The Czech health authorities registered another 96 new cases of HIV in the Czech Republic in the first six months of this year, according to the national reference lab for HIV/AIDS. In the same period last year, 100 new cases of the infection were registered in the country. Six people died of the disease between January and June 2006. Since 1985 when monitoring began, 1983 cases of HIV have been recorded in the country.
The Czech police have arrested four Polish citizens aged between 19 and 37 suspected of robbing over 850 houses in the Czech Republic. Investigators believe the gang started operating in the country in 2009; they allegedly burgled houses at night while their inhabitants were asleep; they entered through windows or balconies, and stole mainly cash, gold and jewellery. Total damages have been estimated at over 35 million crowns. If convicted, the four men face up to eight years in prison.
Transport Minister Zdeněk Žák has made changes to Czech Railways’ board of supervisors. Five members in the eight-member board of the state-owned firm including its chairman Libor Antoš, will be replaced, the ministry said on Friday. Czech Railways’ trade unions said the move would eventually lead to the dismissal of Czech Railways CEO, Petr Žaluda. The new supervisory board is to convene on July 30.