Trains on the country’s main routes resumed operation on Wednesday after being cancelled the previous day due to an ice storm. Rail routes in the worst affected areas, in the central and southern Moravia, are still not running and Czech Railways are urging passengers to use alternate means of transport if at all possible. All of Prague’s 22 tram routes were also back in operation on Wednesday afternoon after a day when virtually the entire network was out of action. A black-ice alert is set to remain in place in the Czech Republic until Wednesday evening.
A series of blasts took place on Wednesday morning in the munitions depot at Vrbětice in south Moravia, which was destroyed in mid-October by a devastating explosion. Villages in the close vicinity of the munitions store have had to be evacuated for safety reasons and clean-up work at the site had to be interrupted. Pyrotechnics are now searching the premises, using an armoured vehicle and a remote control drone. The former military munitions depot belonged to a private company which had leased the storage site.
The Prague High Court in Prague on Wednesday cleared a former defence minister, Martin Barták, of bribe-taking in connection with the purchase of Tatra all-terrain vehicles for the Czech army, confirming a previous verdict issued by a municipal court in May. Mr. Barták had been accused of asking the chairman of Tatra’s supervisory board for a bribe of USD 5 million to smooth the way to a deal with the Czech military for nearly 600 all-terrain trucks in 2008 while he was deputy defence minister. The chairman of the supervisory was William Cabannis, a former US ambassador to Prague. The ruling can be appealed at the Supreme Court.
David Uhlíř, an expert on civil law, is set to become a judge at the Czech Constitutional Court, after the Senate approved his nomination on Wednesday. Mr. Uhlíř, who is 60 years old, is a deputy head of the Czech Bar Association and also teaches at Charles University’s Law Faculty. Mr Uhlíř will replace Ivana Janů, whose mandate expired in mid-September. The Czech Constitutional Court is currently functioning with 14 instead of 15 judges as stipulated by the Constitution.
The placing of the Czech Republic on a regular global list assessing perceived corruption in the public sector has improved slightly. In the latest rankings released by corruption watchdog Transparency International on Wednesday, the Czech Republic is in 53rd position, compared to 57th last year. Among the 28 countries of the European Union plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland the Czech Republic is ranked 25th.
An overwhelming majority of Czech students would like to work abroad, according to an annual Student Barometer survey carried out by the international consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers. Over ninety percent of Czech students who took part in the survey said they would welcome work experience abroad and over forty would be willing to move abroad permanently in case they got an interesting job offer. Václav Prýmek of PwC said the number had increased significantly compared to previous years, attributing the heightened interest to a broader scope of jobs on offer.
The Czech government has added 25 historic buildings, areas and objects to the country’s list of cultural heritage sites, bringing it to a total of 296. Among the newly listed venues is a dam with a water plant in Liberec and a historical fire station in Mikulov, built at the start of the 20th century. The spokesperson for the National Heritage Institute Jana Tichá told the Czech News Agency that modern architecture was increasingly becoming the focus of historic preservation.
Czech company Bauer Technic is set to build two farms in Kazakhstan for 5.5 billion crowns, the E15 daily writes on Wednesday. The company from Tábor in south Bohemia has already carried out dozens of projects in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The construction of the farm for chicken and pig breeding will be launched in April next year and should be completed by 2018.
The dead body of a new-born was found at an illegal dump site in Brno on Wednesday, a local police spokesperson said. According to post-mortem examination, the baby was born sometimes between August and October, and abandoned by the mother shortly after the birth. Police have asked the public for help in providing possible information about the baby’s mother.
Thirteen municipalities in South Moravia still remain without electricity supplies due to extreme weather conditions. Power lines were damaged by black ice on Monday as a result of a severe ice storm. Repair works are being slowed down by ongoing bad weather and by some of the lines being located in hard-to-reach areas.