A poll by the Median agency for Czech Radio shows strengthened support for the direct election of the head of state, the president. Support for direct presidential elections has jumped to 84 percent of those questioned in the latest poll. That compares with 78 percent when a similar poll was held in April last year. Sitting head of state Miloš Zeman is expected to declare during the first half of next year whether he will stand again to be president in elections due to take place at the start of 2018. Zeman was the first president to be elected directly.
A third person has died from flu in the Central Vysočina region. A 75 year old woman from the Jihlava area died from the flu on Monday, according to local health authorities. Two men died during the previous week. Four out of five major hospitals in the region have closed their doors visitors due to fears that patients are more vulnerable to the outbreak. As well as the Vysočina region, the Olomouc area has also won of the worst affected by the outbreak which health officials have described as bordering on an epidemic.
Crime is expected to fall for the third year in a row in 2016 unless there is a unexpected surge at the end of the year. Figures for the first 11 months of the year show the total number of recorded crimes at 204,000 compared with the total of 230,000 for the same period in 2015. Violent crimes, theft, and robbery are all down to December. The number of murders is down by 15 on the first 11 months of 2015 at 127. Violent crimes are down to 13400 from 14600.
A new psychiatric evaluation of US citizen Kevin Dahlgren has been ordered by the Olomouc High Court. The move follows Dahlgren’s appeal against his life sentence delivered in July for the murder of four relatives in Brno. The court then had found the 24-year-old fully responsible for his actions. The main defence argument in the previous trial was that Kevin Dahlgren was not at the time of the crime able to understand the consequences of his actions. During the trial, Dahlgren spoke of voices in his head that blocked out everything else and encouraged him to do evil. It’s not clear whether the new evaluations will be carried out near Brno, where he is in prison, or at Prague’s main psychiatric hospital.
The former coach of the Czech national team and of Viktoria Plzeň, Pavel Vrba, has quit his job as head coach of the Russian league side Anji, according to reports from the CTK agency citing those close to him. Vrba took the job at the end of the European Championships in June in which the Czech side failed to proceed from the group stage. Anji are currently in 11th place in the 16-club top league. The club announced a deal with a new owner, Osman Kadiev, on Wednesday in which he promised to take the club to new levels and develop football in Dagestan. It has 20 point, half the total of the league leader Spartak.
A Czech business billionaire is seeking to revive the ODA political party, which existed as a small but influential right of centre party in the 19990s, the server Seznam reports. Pavel Sehnal has bought up the rights to the ODA name. He plans to explain his political ambitions in a press conference in the second half of January, the server said. Sehnal owns the SP Group, which includes the Slavia insurance group and a real estate business. ODA was a permanent fixture of government coalitions in the 1990s, it lost influence after scandals surrounding its financing at the end of the decade.
Around 1.9 billion crowns (around 70 million euros) still lies unclaimed on anonymous accounts of one of the Czech Republic’s biggest banks, Česká Spořitelna, with two days left to claim it. The bank is closing the accounts, which ceased to be valid in 1992 due to fears of their abuse in money laundering, at the end of the year. The sum left over will be transferred to a charitable foundation by the bank.
Czech football manager František Straka has a new managerial contract with the Egyptian club Ismaily. The contract with the mid-table first division club is for 18 months. Straka has been without a managerial job since being sacked by Slovak club Slovan Bratislava in October 2014. He previously managed a series of clubs, including Prague rivals Sparta and Slavia, and had a series of foreign engagements. He is known for his ebullient approach to the game and management.
Ustí nad Labem is offering a 300 crown reward for every wild boar shot within the city limits where they are not supposed to be. The reward is part of the city’s policy to curb the boar population which regularly makes its way into the centre and suburbs. One animal even made into the central city polyclinic before being put down by a vet. Around 50 cases of damage caused by wild boar have been declared this year. Parks and recreation fields are frequent victims of boar digging as they search for food. The mayor has highlighted the fact that it’s not easy to shoot the animals in built up areas.
The weather on Friday will be overcast with sunny intervals. Top daytime temperatures will range between zero and three degrees Celsius. Temperatures could drop as low as minus six during the night.
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