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25-02-2015

Police complete primary investigation of crime scene in Uherský Brod

Police have completed a primary investigation of a crime scene at a restaurant in Uherský Brod where eight people were shot and killed on Tuesday by a 63-year-old gunman. A spokesman revealed investigators had retrieved two firearms at the site: an Alfa 820 revolver and CZ 75 B pistol which had been legally-held. The bodies of those killed as well as of the suspect have been removed and are due to undergo autopsies. Police are continuing to guard the crime scene. The entire investigation of what has been classified as a case of mass murder, police said later on Wednesday, will take months.

In related news, the police had to forcibly remove the suspect’s wife from her home for hospitalization after she had barricaded herself inside. According to aktualne.cz, she has been undergoing treatment for schizophrenia.

Police also report that the condition of a woman who was shot and survived Tuesday’s attack has improved: her injuries are reportedly no longer life-threatening. The criminal investigation is on-going; police are expected to reveal more details on Thursday.

Locals remember eight victims who died in mass shooting

People have been lighting candles for the eight victims of a shooting incident in a pub the Eastern Moravian town on Tuesday afternoon. A memorial service was held at the scene of the killings at 10 AM on Wednesday, while the local authority is planning to launch a collection for the victims’ families. The police say the dead, seven of whom were men, were aged between 27 and 66. The motives of the 63-year-old shooter, who turned one of his two guns on himself, is not yet clear. However, it has been reported that the man, referred to by one Czech news site as Zdeněk K., may have had mental problems.

President to lay flowers at site of tragedy

President Miloš Zeman will travel to Uherský Brod on Friday to lay flowers at the site of Tuesday’s mass shooting which left eight people, as well as the attacker, dead. The president, who along with the prime minister condemned the attack and offered his condolences to the families of the victims, confirmed the news while meeting with mayors on the occasion of an annual village competition on Wednesday. The president stressed that the attack, unprecedented in scale in the Czech Republic, “could have happened in any village or town”. The suspect in the attack was a lone gunman in his 60s with a possible history of mental problems.

Interior minister: Shooting incident raises questions about whether too many Czechs possess guns

The minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, says a shooting incident on Tuesday has raised questions about whether too many people in the Czech Republic possess guns. A 63-year-old man who held licenses for two weapons shot eight people dead at a pub in the town of Uherský brod before taking his own life. Mr. Chovanec told the Prima TV station that Czechs would have to consider whether they wanted so many gun license holders in their society. According to the most recent statistics, from 2013, there are around 750,000 legally held hand guns in the Czech Republic.

Interior minister criticises Uherský Brod mayor for ill-timed interview which put operation "at risk"

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has criticised the mayor of Uherský Brod – where a mass shooting took place in a local restaurant on Tuesday – for speaking to the media while events were still unfolding and the alleged killer was still alive. The interior minister suggested on twitter that by speaking to Czech TV, the mayor had presented a risk for the police operation to a degree which would have “thrilled a professional terrorist”. Potentially threatened, an undisclosed source told the Czech News Agency, was the life of a man inside who had remained hidden on the premises. Had a television in the restaurant been tuned to the broadcaster, the attacker could have learned of the hidden man’s presence. The survivor was in the restroom at the time of the attack and remained there for the duration. After police surrounded the premises and began to move in, sources say the gunman turned one of his own weapons on himself.

Prime minister outlines economic opportunities on official visit to South Korea

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, on an official visit to South Korea, has said that economic cooperation between the Czech Republic and the northeast Asian country could include the defence and nuclear industries alongside car manufacture. The prime minister made clear South Korea - a country of 50 million with a strong military and large defence budget – represented promising market opportunities for Czech tech firms but also, for example, food processing and beer companies, while the Czech Republic, with lower labour costs, was viewed positively by potential South Korean investors. South Korean companies are interested in taking part in a possible tender to extend the Czech Republic’s Temelín nuclear power plant. On Wednesday, the state export support agency CzechInvest opened a new office in South Korea.

Civic Democrats want referendum on adoption of euro

The right-of-centre Civic Democrats have called on the upper house of Parliament to back a proposal for Czechs to decide in a referendum whether or not the country should adopt the European currency. The opposition party says the conditions for adopting the euro and joining the Eurozone are markedly different from when the Czech Republic first joined the EU in 2004. Euro MP Jan Zahradil was one of the initiators of a petition with 40,000 signatures which brought the issue to the Senate and its National Economic Committee. The committee has stressed that it is essential that adoption of the currency be advantageous for the country. The ruling centre-left coalition enjoys a majority in the upper house; the government and the president are in favour of adopting the euro. President Zeman said last year he hoped it would happen within the next five years.

Czech Republic could miss out on 85 billion in EU funds

The Czech Republic still needs to draw 200 billion crowns from EU funds out of a total 700 billion which were available for the years 2007 to 2014, Regional Development Minister Karla Šlechtová told journalists on Wednesday. The ministry expects that tens of billions of crowns will not be successfully drawn; in its crisis scenario, the ministry admitted the Czech Republic could lose up to 85 billion. The Czech Republic failed to draw 12 billion in 2013 already and another nine billion last year.

President welcomes winemakers at Prague Castle

President Miloš Zeman welcomed winemakers at Prague Castle on Wednesday who finished top of their categories in the prestigious Salon vín competition, ranking the Czech Republic’s best wines. The president called the competition “the toughest in the country”, saying originally 1,600 samples were entered, then cut to 700 in the second round, leaving tasters only difficult choices in the final. The president suggested that those who haven't visited the country’s wine cellars have not fully lived. Mr Zeman is well-known for his appreciation of alcoholic beverages. Salon vín is organized by the National Wine Centre – a non-profit organisation whose objective is the promotion and support of wine and viticulture of the Czech Republic.

NHL action: Neuwirth staves off Blue Jackets

Czech goalie Michal Neuwirth, the Buffalo Sabres’ starter, has brought a much-needed spark to a club which sits in last place in the Eastern Conference. On Tuesday, Neuwirth stopped a barrage of shots by the Blue Jackets - 45 of 47 - while his teammates scored to win 4:2. The club has earned points in its last four games, in each Neuwirth was a key factor, writes news website iDnes.

25-02-2015