The minister of justice, Pavel Blažek, has described some criminal proceedings carried out by the police’s anti-corruption unit as “theatrical”. In a letter to the head of the force, Martin Červíček, quoted by the Czech News Agency, the minister also criticised what he called the “personal media promotion” of senior police officials. The letter was sent in April during a dispute between the Prague supreme state attorney, Lenka Bradáčová, and the then head of the anti-corruption unit, Tomáš Martinec; she had requested that Colonel Červíček evaluate the work of the unit. The police president has refused to comment on the letter.
The creator of the country’s annual film industry awards ceremony, Petr Vachler, says he will not hand the rights to the Czech Lions to the Czech Film and Television Academy. Mr. Vachler said the CZK 10 million that the Academy had offered to pay him for the rights over a period of a decade was insufficient. He said he was not fixated on retaining control of the brand and was chiefly concerned with the Czech Lions continuing, adding that he hoped to reach a compromise on the matter.
The renowned Czech poet, novelist and literary historian Zdeněk Rotrekl died on Sunday at the age of 92, a representative of his publishers said. Rotrekl, whose work was strongly influenced by his Roman Catholic faith, spent 13 years in prison during the Communist regime and was banned from publishing for four decades. The Brno writer was the recipient of several important honours, including the Order of T.G. Masaryk.
Author Marie Kubátová has died at the age of 90. The writer, famous for the Krkonošské Fairytales animated children’s series, passed away last week, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Born in Prague, Kubátová – who was a pharmacist by profession – collected stories from the Krkonošské Mountains with her mother, who was also a writer.
A fresh wave of heavy rain is prolonging the flood situation in the Czech Republic. Storms on Sunday caused minor flash floods and the inundation of a small number of homes in several regions. The forecast is for more persistent rain between now and early on Tuesday and local authorities have been ordered to keep flood defences in place. Flooding, which has been particularly bad in North Bohemia, began about a week ago. Floodwater contaminated 80 public waterways, 9000 wells and dozens of water treatment plants. Some 34,000 people still have to get drinking water from outside of their homes.
As water recedes in most places that were flooded during the past week, volunteers are beginning to help with the clean-up efforts. A number of humanitarian NGOs are coordinating hundreds of volunteers who are helping clean up homes and public spaces that were damaged by water. People are also making donations to special emergency drives that the organizations have set up to aid with the relief efforts and help those affected. Charities and NGOs have so far collected at least 25 million crowns.
The acting mayor of Prague, Tomáš Hudeček, on Monday called off a state of emergency for the Czech capital, more than a week after emergency measures were introduced. A flood alert is still in place for the city, although water levels and flow rate have gone down considerably over the weekend. Due to heavy rain on Sunday and expected rain in the first half of the week, the water level in the Vltava River may not go down as quickly as originally expected.
The police on Monday confirmed an 11th flood victim. A 50-year-old man fell into the river Otava near a campsite in the town of Sušice in southwest Bohemia on Sunday night. Rescue services found his body in the morning eight kilometers downstream near the town Rabí na Klatovksu. Four people are still missing as a result of last week’s flooding, mostly as a result of boating accidents. On Monday, the Central Crisis Committee introduced a ban on boating on any body of water where high flood alerts have been issued, under threat of up to a 20,000-crown fine.
Flood-relate damages to the agriculture sector are estimated to be at least 1.8 billion crowns, according to the Czech Agrarian Chamber. The overall figure could be much higher since the estimate does not include losses to the fishing industry. In 2002, farmers around the Czech Republic suffered damages of more than 3.5 billion crowns. Some 55 thousand hectares of land were flooded in the past week, which most of all affecting vegetable growers. Many farmers were getting ready to harvest many of their crops, which are now effectively destroyed. This will most likely cause prices of local produce to rise this year.
The Ministry of Agriculture is planning to submit an amendment that should prevent massive flood-related damages in the future. One of the things that Minister Petr Bendl plans to propose is that no buildings would be allowed to be built in flood zones. He also told the press on Monday that more efforts should be made to regularly clean river basins, in order to allow better drainage of the rivers. The ministry is still working on the full text of the draft amendment
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