Police investigating a murder attempt against fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejčír suspect the attack may be linked to the Cape Town movie industry, according to The Star newspaper. Krejčír narrowly escaped death from a battery-operated, remote-controlled automatic weapon built into a parked car. A source close to the investigation told the paper that the attack could also be linked to Krejčír’s dealings with Cape Town gangsters over territory. The source indicated that Krejčír had allegedly met with one of Cape Town’s most notorious members of the underworld in an attempt to iron out their differences. Krejčír himself has refused to comment.
The results of a poll conducted by the Median agency suggest that the centre-right Civic Democrats have been badly hit by the corruption and spying scandal that brought down the former government. If general elections were held today, the opposition Social Democrats would get 34 percent of the vote, followed by the Communist Party with 18,5 percent, and TOP 09 with 15 percent. The Civic Democrats would place fourth with a mere 13 percent of the vote. The only other party to cross the five percent margin needed to win seats in the lower house would be the Christian Democrats with 5.5 percent.
The first-ever Czech quintuplets, born in June, are reported to be doing well and may be released from hospital in early August, according to the family’s spokesperson. All five babies now weigh over two kilos each and have overcome the health problems connected with a premature birth. Although the babies’ birth generated enormous interest, their twenty-three-year old mother Alexandra wants as little publicity as possible for fear of envy and anti-Roma prejudice.
Police chased a speeding driver from Cheb all the way to Karlovy Vary early on Thursday. The driver eventually crashed on the outskirts of Karlovy Vary after the police fired several warning shots in a last-ditch attempt to prevent him driving into the town at full speed. The driver was found to be under the influence of drugs and even after the accident restarted his car and rammed it into the police vehicle. Both he and an officer suffered light injuries.
In an interview for the Czech Press Agency, President Miloš Zeman said on Thursday said that he expects some parties to vote for the caretaker government in a confidence vote. The president has been meeting with representatives of parties in the lower house of parliament since Sunday in an effort to shore up support for the caretaker cabinet, which he named two weeks ago. He also said that in case Jiří Rusnok’s cabinet does not get the support in parliament, he expected the former center-right coalition to provide him with a list of 101 signatures from deputies who would support the old coalition, verified by a notary, before he would consider giving the coalition of Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and LIDEM party to attempt to form a new government. Deputy chairwoman of the Civic Democratic party, Miroslava Němcová, who is expected to lead the possible reincarnation of the old coalition, said that the parliament should deny the president’s request outright.
The Prague City Hall announced that the current calculation of the damages caused by this year’s flooding in the capital is more than four billion crowns. Around 2.2 billion were damages to municipal property, while around two million crowns worth of damages were registered on private property. The city hall presented this calculation to the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, though deputy mayor Jiří Vávra said the number may rise. The largest damages were to waterways infrastructure, roadways, monuments and the Prague zoo.
Jiří Rusnok’s caretaker cabinet has named Radek Augustin head of the Office of the Government. Mr. Augustin is the deputy chairman and the head of the Olomouc branch of President Miloš Zeman’s Party of Citizens’ Rights (SPOZ). He will be replacing Lubomír Poul, who was arrested in June along with the then prime minister’s chief-of-staff Jana Nagyová, as a possible witness to illegal spying. Mr. Poul was later released without charges. Commenting on the current government’s choice for the head of its office, the chairwoman of the lower house of parliament Miroslava Němcová said that it is clear that Zeman’s government is trying to give Zeman’s party all the support it needs for the next parliamentary elections.
The cabinet has decided to withdraw a bill on state prosecutors, which was approved by the previous government of Petr Nečas and went through a first reading in the lower house earlier this year. Justice Minister Marie Benešová said that she wants to revise the bill and resubmit it. Specifically, Mrs. Benešová wants state prosecutors to have their own budget, to give them greater independence, and, for example, to debate the length of the term for the highest state prosecutor. According to the current bill, the high state prosecutors’ offices in Prague and Olomouc would be abolished and a new anti-corruption division created. Former justice minister Pavel Blažek, Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman and Prague High State Attorney Lenka Bradáčová have criticized Mrs. Benešová’s move as counterproductive.
Authorities in Saxony have accused Czechs of releasing toxic waste into the Elbe river, which flows through Germany. The Environment Minister of Saxony, Frank Kupfer, told the German newspaper Bild that between 2010 and 2013 there were at least 20 instances of water pollution on the Czech side. The newspaper claims substances such as motor oil or potassium carbonate leaked into the river and the Czech authorities subsequently failed to warn residents downstream and the authorities in Germany.
The Czech Republic has placed in the top quarter of the 107 countries included in The Economist’s Global Food Security Index for 2013. The country placed 23rd with 72.2 out of 100 points, having been ranked according to three categories –affordability, availability and quality and safety of food. In the overall rating, the United States was in first place, while the Czech Republic’s neighbor Germany was in 12th, Austria in 15th and Poland in 27th place. In the individual categories, the quality and availability of food in the Czech Republic put the country in 26th place.