The Constitutional Court is to rule on Thursday on a complaint from the former central Bohemian governor David Rath regarding the length of time he was held in custody on suspicion of corruption and abuse of office. The former governor, who was arrested with seven million crowns of alleged bribe money in a wine box, spent a year and a half in prison after the courts repeatedly rejected his request for bail. Rath’s lawyer claims the length of his detention in custody was unjustified and an infringement on his basic human rights.
The authorities have called a smog alert in Moravia and Silesia where air pollution has severely worsened in the past 48 hours. According to meteorologists the concentration of dust particles in the air far exceeding permitted norms at all monitoring stations and in some cases is five times higher than the permitted norm. Pollution levels are reported to be highest in and around Karvina, Ostrava and Opava. The authorities have advised elderly people and children to stay indoors as much as possible. Drivers have been asked use city transport and leave their cars at home. The situation is being closely monitored by city hall which may ask industrial plants to scale-down production.
Four Czech newborns, who came into the world a minute past midnight, will share the title “First Baby of the New Year” the ctk news agency reported. The four who tied for the honour are a baby girl from Liberec, two baby boys born in Moravia and another boy who came into the world in Zlin. Many moms race to give birth in the first minutes of the new year, anticipating publicity, prizes and presents for their child.
The Bavarian police will intensify its activities in the vicinity of the Czech-German border in view of curbing cross-border crime, in particular drugs smuggling, Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Hermann says in Wednesday’s edition of Die Welt. The minister said the police would make it a priority to curb the smuggling of the home-made Czech drug crystal methamphetamine across the border to Bavaria. This includes an increased number of random checks of Czech vehicles crossing the border. Prague has in the past protested against the practice calling it discriminatory.
The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jamal al Jamal, who was
gravely injured in an explosion in his Prague residence on Wednesday, has
died. The ambassador succumbed to his injuries several hours after being
taken to Prague’s military hospital in an induced coma.
According to unconfirmed reports the ambassador was opening a safe when the explosion happened shortly before noon. His whole family was in the ambassadorial residence at the time, but no one else was hurt in the blast.
Police and explosives experts have been searching the two-storey residence and part of the neighbourhood remains closed to traffic. According to police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova the detonation was caused by a so-far unidentified explosive mixture. Police president Martin Červíček told Czech Television there was no evidence so far pointing to a terrorist attack. One of the possibilities being considered is that the explosion may have been triggered by a security device in the safe containing a mechanism designed to destroy its contents in the event of the lock being tampered with.
Electricity prices for households will drop by 10.9 percent on average as of January, while the regulated component in the price of gas will drop by 5.9 percent. ČEZ clients can expect the biggest price drop of around 12 percent, Pražská Energetika has announced a 9.5 percent drop while E.ON is effecting an 8.8 percent price reduction.
The 2007 world slalom champion Šárka Záhrobská-Strachová has been chosen to be the Czech Republic’s flag bearer at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. It has been an eventful year for the popular Czech skier who following a serious health scare successfully recovered from brain surgery to remove a benign tumour, married her coach and is now competing under her new name.
The Czech economy is expected to grow by over 2 percent next year following contraction over the past two years, analysts polled by the CTK news agency said. Global recovery and projected changes to the government´s budgetary policy are behind the favourable prediction. Analysts believe that, despite the central bank´s forex interventions to weaken the crown, inflation will stay low at the start of next year due above all to falling energy prices and unemployment will stay above 7 percent.
Air pollution is reported to have worsened severely in parts of Moravia and Silesia with the concentration of dust particles in the air far exceeding permitted norms at all but one of the 15 monitoring stations in operation. According to data from the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute the concentration of harmful substances in the air is more than three times the permitted norm. The authorities have advised elderly people and children to stay indoors as much as possible. The situation is being closely monitored by city hall which has the right to call a smog alert and ask industrial plants to scale-down production.
Car accidents in the Czech Republic claimed 581 lives this year, according to preliminary police statistics released on Tuesday. This is the lowest annual death toll on Czech roads since the police began tracking these numbers in 1961. The figure is also a marked improvement from the previous record low last year, when 681 people died in car accidents. The number of victims of car accidents has been steadily decreasing in the Czech Republic since 2007, when there were 1,123 victims.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery