Jaroslav Krejči, a respected sociologist, historian and economist and professor emeritus at Lancaster University, died on Sunday at the age of 98. The news was confirmed by Hana Katrňáková of Masaryk University in Brno. Krejči, whose father was infamously premier of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia during WW II, was a member of the anti-Nazi resistance. After the war, in Stalinist Czechoslovakia, he was found guilty of treason and received a 10-year sentence. Mr Krejči was released under an amnesty in 1960 and, together with his wife, left Czechoslovakia for Great Britain in 1968. In the 1970s he was named professor at Lancaster University, where he focussed on the macrosociological interpretation of history and civilisation.
Unaffiliated MP Jiří Pospíšil, who recently left the Civic Democratic Party citing mutual loss of confidence between him and his party colleagues, has confirmed getting an offer from rival center-right TOP 09 to run on their ballot in the European elections. Mr. Pospíšil said in an interview for commercial TV Prima that he was not planning to join any party in the foreseeable future and said that if he decided to run in the European elections he would run as an independent. Jiří Pospíšil, a former justice minister, who spent 14 years in the Civic Democratic Party, was widely considered one of the party’s most promising politicians, but his role was marginalized during the party’s last election conference where he failed to get elected to a deputy post.
Many Czech ski-resorts are facing serious financial difficulties due to the mild winter. Some have struggled to stay open and offer alternate programs but the lack of snow has led hundreds of visitors to cancel their winter holiday plans. Smaller resorts who are not able to produce artificial snow are the worst off. Špindlerův Mlýn in the Giant Mountains, the country’s most popular winter resort, alone reports it has not been affected by the mild winter. According to Mag Consulting winter resorts lost approximately 20 million crowns due to the lack of snow. A monitoring station in the Sumava Mountains eported a record temperature of 18 degrees Celsius on Saturday and a long term forecast predicts above zero temperatures in the coming four weeks.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka says he wants to gradually increase the minimum wage so as to give people incentive to find employment rather than staying on the dole. Mr. Sobotka said he would be in favour of raising the minimum wage, which is presently 8,500 crowns, by about 500 crowns a year in view of hiking it to over 10,000 by the end of his government’s term in office. Mr. Sobotka pointed out that the fact that the minimum wage had not been raised in six years was highly demotivating. He said the hikes would naturally be consulted in advance with trade unions and employers.
Switzerland beat the Czech Republic 1-0 Saturday night in the teams' final preliminary-round game. Simon Bodenmann scored in the first period and despite playing a fast, aggressive game the Czechs were unable to get past the Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller who made 26 saves. The Czech Republic went 1-2-0-0 in the preliminary round to finish in third place in Group C, ahead of only winless Latvia.
A bus carrying fifty people crashed in the Klatovy region, west of Prague, early on Sunday morning. According to police sources the bus collided with a road maintenance truck and turned on its side. Seven people were reported injured, two of them children who suffered lighter injuries. Two adults were airlifted to hospital. The cause of the accident is being investigated. The police have reportedly ruled out the influence of alcohol.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has unveiled plans to re-establish a special financial police unit to combat tax evasion. In an interview for Czech public television, Mr. Sobotka said he wanted to establish something along the lines of Slovakia’s Cobra tax inspection team which uncovered tax fraud amounting to 94.2 million euros last year alone. The unit has made Slovakia one of the leading East European countries in fighting tax evasion. The Czech prime minister said he wanted a similar team in action in the Czech Republic by 2015 at the latest. The financial police as an independent force was disbanded seven years ago by them minister Ivan Langer. Improving tax collection is one of the new government’s top priorities.
Czech Eva Samkova won the women's snowboarding cross gold medal at the Sochi Olympics on Sunday. The 20-year-old, sporting a fake moustache on her top lip for good luck, dominated all three of her races on the Extreme Park course and crossed the line well clear in the final. Dominique Maltais of Canada took silver, while the bronze went to Chloe Trespeuch of France.
Justice Minister Helena Válková has launched disciplinary proceedings against the general director of the Czech Prison Service Petr Dohnal which may result in his dismissal, the ctk news agency reports. The minister says Dohnal tried to thwart an audit into the work of the prison service that she ordered by withholding crucial documents. Mr. Dohnal has rejected the accusations, saying that the audit was a pretext to get rid of him.
Czech hockey star Jaromir Jágr celebrated his 42nd birthday at the Winter Olympics in Sochi on Saturday ahead of a group C game with Switzerland. His team mates sang a Czech rendition of Happy Birthday, gave him a hearty round of applause and handed over a giant chocolate cake made for the occasion by German chefs at the Sochi Olympics.
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