The Civic Democrats in Prague and the Plzeň region elected new leaders on Thursday. Filip Humplík became the new head of the party’s Prague branch after he received more votes from party delegates than former environment minister Tomáš Chalupa. The previous Civic Democrat leader in Prague, Bohuslav Svoboda, has been nominated for the national party leadership. In the Plzeň region, former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil was re-elected to head the Civic Democrats there for another two years.
The police on Friday arrested a suspect in Plzeň allegedly behind an anonymous bomb threat. The 34-year-old man, who reportedly is suffering from psychiatric problems, called Czech Airlines on Friday morning, stating that terrorists armed with a bomb were on board a flight from Frankfurt to Prague’s Václav Havel airport. The Foreigners’ police as well as emergency crews and pyrotechnics experts were called to the scene. The plane landed at around 10:40 am; the identities of all 144 passengers were checked and investigators have conducted a search of the aircraft. The running of the airport was otherwise unaffected.
Over the next several weeks homeless people in the Czech Republic will announce the weather in a number of broadcasts on public broadcaster Czech TV, news website idnes reports. The project is a continuation of Days of Hope which already took place in other European countires including Swizterland and Germany. Besides presenting the weather, people living on the street will also talk, in other programmes, about their lives. The aim of the project, according to a spokewoman, is to break stereotypes about the homeless and those marginlaised in society.
An investigation by the anti-corruption police unit uncovered no proof of corruption or other wrongdoing in the financing of Jan Fischer’s presidential campaign. Mr Fischer, the finance minister in the current interim government, came under suspicion after unpaid debts were resolved quickly following his naming to the cabinet in July. The case was shelved by the state prosecutor overseeing it, Jan Lelek, after the police failed to produce evidence a crime was committed. He told the Czech News Agency he expected the police would do the same.
Prague’s Municipal Court sentenced a 59-year-old man (charged with killing his ex-wife using methanol he poured into a bottle of vodka) to 11 years in prison on Friday. Although the couple were divorced, they lived in the same home. The suspect claimed he never intended to hurt anyone but had mixed in the methanol out of curiosity. The prosecution maintained he committed the murder, which took place in March, hoping it would be linked to methanol poisoning which claimed more than 40 lives in the Czech Republic last year. The suspect has appealed the decision.
Czech travel agencies expect that the price of package vacations to foreign destinations will go up by around 10 percent, according to Czech Radio’s Regina. Agencies are reacting to recent intervention to weaken the Czech currency by the central bank in a bid to stimulate consumer spending prior to increases, help exporters and overall boost the economy. Travel agencies are reportedly trying to keep the prices of so-called ‘first minute’ vacations the same.
The Social Democrats under Bohuslav Sobotka who is leading talks on trying to form a new government, will rely on deputy chairwoman Alena Gajdušková to lead a work group examining possible changes to the country’s Church restitution law. Other members will be named over the next few days. The Social Democrats would like to revise legislation overseeing the return of property and reparations to church groups. The party would also like to see historic property at Prague Castle to be excluded. But the party faces tough negotiations not only with potential coalition partners, the Christian Democrats, but also representatives of the Church who reached agreement with the former Nečas government.
The police in Zlín have concluded an investigation into a methanol poisoning case dating back to September 2012. Bootleg liquor containing the deadly chemical methanol claimed the lives of 47 people. Thirty-one suspects in the region have been charged, seven of whom face charges of having endangered the public, a crime which carries a 20-year sentence. The police believe three people were behind the production of bootleg liquor: a man who produced the deadly mix and his accomplice, both of whom were based in central Bohemia, and the main distributor who operated from Zlín. In total, more than 70 people are charged in the case.
Czech hockey legend Jaromír Jágr scored the winner in overtime for New Jersey on Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings. The final score was 2:1. The winner was Jagr’s 690th career goal, tying him with retired hockey great Mario Lemieux in ninth spot among the league’s top scorers. Jágr, who is 41, has a one-year contract with the Devils.
The Defence Ministry is aiming to scrap aging Russian Yak-40 regional jets and replace them with a new medium-sized airliner, the Airbus A319. After 2020, it aims to buy two medium-size transport planes as well as to replace Soviet-made fighter helicopters with a new multi-purpose fleet, the Czech news agency reports, citing material from the ministry to be discussed at the government level next week. The analysis and plans are reportedly critical of the current state of the country’s aircraft fleet.
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