A police chase in the Plzeň area on Saturday ended with one person dead and four injured. Officers were pursuing a motorist who sped away from a gas station without paying. Trying to ellude the pursuit, the driver collided with an oncoming vehicle; a 24-year-old female in the car with him, was killed. The others injured, including a police officer, were treated in hospital.
Bavaria's police has heightened checks a border areas to prevent individuals from bringing in unsafe and illegal firecrackers, rockets and other pyrotechnic devices sold in Vietnamese markets on the Czech side of the border not far from crossings. German officials warned that many of the items were dangerous, packed with more explosive material than was the norm. Officials said they had stopped a vehicle smuggling one tonne of the goods, representing a potential health risk.
The D5 highway near Rudná, outside the capital, saw a fatal traffic accident in the early hours of Saturday morning, in which alcohol appears to have played a role. A truck and personal vehicle collided less than a kilometre from Prague, with the truck flipping onto its side across two lanes; the trucker was killed in the crash; the other driver, who tested postive for alcohol, was unhurt. The police rerouted traffic along side roads for several hours. A ramp onto the highway, five kilometres from the city, was also temporarily closed. The police are investigating the cause of the accident.
The director of a controversial television broadcast featuring the electronic music band Vanessa on Czech TV has told Lidové noviny he quit over the group's behavior, which he said had intended to 'disgust'.The band was recently featured on the show Tečka páteční noci on ČT Art, broadcast live from Czech TV's Brno studio. The group's singer, Samir Hauser, stunned some viewers as well as allegedly some on the production team, when he tried to do a line of cocaine off of a bible or later forced himself to vomit by sticking a finger in his throat. The host of the show downplayed the incident, saying that the drug was fake. He has stood by the broadcast, suggesting the group's behavior was not surprising given its image and that things could have gone 'worse'.
This year's Christmas holidays were the quietest in 20 years regarding thefts and break-ins, the police revealed, saying - tongue-in-cheek - that even crooks had respected the 'spirit' of the holidays, writes Czech news website Novinky. According to officials, break-ins were registered in apartment buildings in bigger cities but less in the countryside, where owners are more likely to be home over the Christmas break. Overall, the police had to respond to fewer 158 calls. In one incident, officers arrested a 24-year-old car thief who had driven only a few metres in a stolen vehicle before falling asleep.
Meteorologists are warning of strong winds over the weekend, primarily in Moravia and parts of eastern Bohemia. On Saturday, winds of around 110 kilometers an hour are expected in the Jeseníky and Beskydy mountains in northern Moravia. In the lowlands, people are being warned of squalls of up to 75 kilometers an hour. The Czech Republic has seen high winds in the past few days, which have caused considerable damage in parts of the country.
The most likely next prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, will meet with President Miloš Zeman in the new year, to discuss ministerial candidates for the future cabinet. The Social Democratic chairman was expected to meet with the president right after the Christmas holiday, but the meeting was postponed to a yet unknown date in early January. The three future coalition partners – Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and ANO – are expected to sign the coalition agreement on 6 January. President Zeman has already said that he might not confirm some of the members of the future cabinet. On Friday, members of the forming coalition announced that once representatives of the three parties will agree on a list of ministers, the coalition will support the cabinet as a whole, no matter what the president’s opinion may be.
Jiří Lendl, the father of the former world number one tennis player Ivan Lendl, has died at the age of 89. He was also the former and the honorary chairman of the Czech tennis association. Mr. Lendl was a junior chess champion of Bohemia and Moravia and received a law degree. Later he also excelled at tennis and became the chairman of the Czechoslovak tennis association in 1990. His son Ivan was one of the top tennis players in the world throughout the 1980’s, having competed in 19 Grand Slam singles finals, winning eight of them.
President Miloš Zeman’s end-of-year address, which aired on Czech Television and the commercial TV Nova on 26 December, attracted the least viewers of all the presidential New Year’s addresses in the past 6 years. Approximately 1,266,000 people over the age of 15 watched the pre-taped program, almost 700 thousand viewers fewer that last year’s address by Václav Klaus. Television producers said that one of the reasons for the low viewership is that the President’s Office did not announce the change of the date of the address until quite late, and many people did not find out about it in time. Mr. Zeman haddecided to give his address to the nation over Christmas, instead of on New Year’s Day, as his predecessors have done since 1948.
Public health insurance providers are finishing the year with approximately 10 billion crowns in losses. Insurance providers should receive around 10 billion crowns more next year, but healthcare providers are also likely to loose around four billion due to the weakening of the crown and the increased Value Added Tax for medicine. The Constitutional Court recently struck down the law that imposed the 100-crown daily fees for hospital stays and the 30-crown co-payments at the doctors’ offices, which will decrease the yearly fee income of healthcare providers from 5.5 billion to 180 million crowns. Jiří Rusnok’s caretaker government gave 800 million crowns extra to health insurance providers this year, but doctors and hospitals are warning that if the new government does not find a solution to the situation, health care may need to be limited and some hospitals may even close next year.