A man who deliberately killed an old woman in a fire has been sentenced to 30 years in prison by a court in Liberec, north Bohemia. The court heard how Kosovo Albanian Fadil Dávid, who is 53, set fire to a house in a village near Liberec knowing that inside was a woman of 81 who had difficulty moving. She subsequently died trying to escape the blaze after suffering burns on 80 percent of her body. The man had regularly stolen from the woman, whom he had known for some years, and tricked her into leaving her home to him in her will. The defendant has appealed the verdict.
This winter has been considerably worse than the previous one in terms of the frequency with which permitted airborne dust levels have been breached in the Czech Republic, according to data released by the Ministry of the Environment. Between October 2012 and March this year there were only 48 days on which none of the country’s 53 smog warning stations did not record that dust levels had exceeded official limits. The previous winter there were 74 days on which no such problems were registered.
Details of Prague’s first luxury goods trade fair for the super rich have been revealed. The Billionaire Fair will be held at the city’s Žofín Palace on the last weekend of September and will feature 50 selected high-end retailers, the organisers said on Tuesday. Interested parties will have to register online and will be vetted as to whether they merit an invitation to the event, for which the most expensive tickets will cost CZK 25,000.
The final of the playoffs of Czech ice hockey’s Extraliga between Zlín and Plzeň gets underway on Tuesday evening. Zlín have only won one Extraliga title in their history, while Plzeň have never taken the trophy. There is no love lost between the two clubs’ fans, in part due to an incident in 2005 when the then Zlín goalkeeper prevented Plzeň from scoring by moving the goal. The best-of-seven series is scheduled to end on April 21, if not sooner.
Czech politicians have paid tribute to the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. Prime Minister Petr Nečas said her firm and principled stand had contributed to the fall of communism in eastern Europe and that her style of government had been an inspiration to the post-communist world. Mr. Nečas further highlighted the former British prime minister’s courage and dedication in bringing about unpopular but necessary reforms. Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake described Margaret Thatcher as an exceptionally strong leader who was not afraid to swim against the tide in defending her views on personal responsibility and a free market.
Former Czech president Václav Klaus has described former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s demise as a huge loss for Europe. Mr. Klaus said Margaret Thatcher was one of great leaders of the 20th century; a dedicated proponent of freedom, democracy and market economy. Himself a former prime minister who shared Mrs. Thatcher’s views, Mr. Klaus recalled their cooperation in the post communist days saying Margaret Thatcher had given the Czech government staunch support and valuable advice as it undertook the transformation from a communist-controlled state to a market economy. He said her voice would be sadly missed in Europe and urged that her legacy should not be forgotten.
The Czech Foreign Ministry announced on Monday it is not planning to evacuate its embassy in North Korea despite growing tensions in the region. According to a ministry spokesperson the decision was made in the light of the latest information received from the country’s embassies in Pyongyang and Seoul. The Foreign Ministry said it would continue to closely monitor developments and consult the situation with other EU member states. The North Korean authorities told embassies in Pyongyang they could not guarantee their safety after April 10 and there is speculation the warning could be linked to possible new nuclear tests. No diplomats appear to have left the North Korean capital so far.
A sixteen year old schoolgirl was killed and twenty young people were injured when a French coach crashed on the D5 highway near Rokycany early on Monday. The coach is reported to have careened off a motorway bridge. It was carrying 50 passengers most of them aged between 12 and 15. Twenty people were taken to hospital, three of them were airlifted with serious injuries. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
The names of Czech victims of the Holocaust were read out at a memorial on Prague’s náměstí Míru square on Monday, which is international Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom HaShoah. Individual stories of victims of the Nazi genocide of Jews and others were also read out at the event, which is jointly organized by the Foundation for Holocaust Victims and the Terezín Initiative Institute. Of Czechoslovakia’s pre-war Jewish population of 350,000, 250,000 died during the Holocaust, the Czech News Agency said.
Poland says growing criticism regarding the quality of Polish food imports to the Czech Republic stems from competition on the market. In a statement for the media the Polish Embassy in Prague said on Monday that Polish food inspections were conducted fully in adherence with European standards and accused the Czech side of orchestrating a smear campaign against Polish goods with the intention of increasing the share of Czech food products on the home market. The embassy said this tactic could backfire since the two countries were often seen as one region and one market. The quality of Polish food imports is expected to dominate the agenda of this week’s Czech-Polish business forum.