Two people were killed and 13 injured when a high-speed Pendelino train collided with a truck at a level crossing at Studénka in the Moravia-Silesia Region on Wednesday morning, the news website iDnes.cz reported. Three of the injured are reported to be in critical condition. The train, travelling from Bohumín to Františkovy Lázně, was going at over 100 kilometres an hour when the accident occurred; the truck’s engine was found 200 metres from the scene of the crash and it took the train a full two kilometres to come to a stop.According to camera footage the truck entered the crossing despite the flashing red light and got trapped by the closing gates. The driver, a fifty-year-old Polish national, escaped from the vehicle in time and is being questioned by police. He may be charged with endangering public safety.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and other members of the cabinet have expressed shock over Wednesday’s tragic train crash in which two people were killed and 13 injured. The prime minister, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec and the governor of the Moravia-Silesia region Miroslav Novak visited the site of the accident shortly after the tragedy. The prime minister praised the work of the emergency crews, fire fighters and police for their highly professional response to the emergency and the speed with which they managed to release people trapped in the wreckage. He expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said the government was ready to offer assistance to those in need.
The rail-track between Ostrava and Hranice will remain closed for the rest of the day in the wake of the accident. Passengers have been asked to use replacement busses while work on clearing the track is underway. Police and rail inspectors are now at work on the site. The material damage has been estimated at 160 million crowns. People directly affected can file insurance claims at the Generali insurance company.
The Czech government on Wednesday approved the establishment of an industrial zone in Karviné which would attract investors and create up to 2,000 new jobs in a region with traditionally high unemployment. The zone which should spread over an area of 90 hectares is to be constructed between 2016 and 2018 with a financial injection from the state amounting to 750 million crowns. The overall cost of the enterprise is estimated at 1.2 billion crowns. The zone is to be built on the site of former brown coal mines.
The government has failed to agree on a proposed legislation which should enable up to 4,000 miners to go into early retirement – by up to five years earlier than the present pension law allows. The proposal put forward by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs would allow miners who have completed 3,300 work shifts below ground to file for early retirement. The measure is seen as a means of easing the social impact of planned mine closures. However the Ministry of Finance insists that mine owners should carry part of the burden. The issue is to be taken up again in September.
Five Czech Gripen fighter jets which left for Iceland on Wednesday morning were forced to return to home base shortly after due to a technical defect on one of the planes, the head of the Časlav airbase reported. The flight has been postponed by 24 hours. The Czech Republic is due to patrol the airspace over Iceland for a month in August, in place of Canadian airmen who are involved in the fight against the Islamic State. Iceland does not have its own military and its airspace is protected within the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence plan.
Police have recovered a stolen oil-painting by the Czech painter Jan Preisler which had been missing for 19 years. The painting, Study for Bathing, assessed at 8 million crowns, was stolen from an exhibition in the town of Chrudim in August of 1996. It was in the ownership of the National Gallery at the time. The police reportedly intercepted a planned sale to a private owner.
Police in Prague have arrested a Belarusian man wanted in connection with the stabbing to death of a Latvian man in the city last week. Alyaksandr Astapkuk, who had been seen in surveillance camera footage that was made public, was detained by a patrol on Dukelskych hrdinů on Tuesday night, the news site Tíseň.tv reported. The stabbing took place near Florenc bus station on Thursday afternoon. Media reports suggested the two men had got into an altercation over a woman.
The Taiwanese technology firm Foxconn is set to invest around CZK 2.5 billion in the Czech Republic in the next three years, the company’s CEO Terry Gou and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after a meeting in Prague. The investments will be in Foxconn’s factories in the Czech Republic and in the building of a research centre and data centres, though the firm is yet to discuss the concrete form of the projects with representatives of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade. Industry Minister Jan Mládek said the investment would help the country “board the moving train and keep step with German industry in particular.”
Czechs are experiencing a record-breaking heatwave. According to the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute July 22nd was the warmest day of the year with the highest temperature recorded in Husinec-Řeži near Prague where afternoon highs reached 39.2 degrees Celsius. Temperature records were broken at 127 out of 138 monitoring stations around the country. The highest temperature ever recorded in the country was 40.4 degrees Celsius in the town of Dobřichovice on August 20th 2012.
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