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Former culture minister, two others, given conditional sentences in connection with Czech Radio chateau sale

The District Court for Prague 2 has given 10 month conditional sentences to three people, former culture minister Jiří Balvín, former deputy head of Czech Radio Michal Koliandr, and businessman Jan Hnilička, suspected of corruption in connection with the attempted sale of a chateau in Přerov nad Labem belonging to Czech Radio. In addition, each has also been order to pay a 240,000 crown fine.

The ruling reverses an earlier decision from April last year, in which the three were found not guilty based on insufficient evidence. Monday’s decision is not final; two of three defendants have already appealed, the Czech News Agency reported. As a consequence of the case, the planned tender on the sale of the chateau was cancelled by the broadcaster. The region of Central Bohemia expressed an interest in obtaining the property last year.

Activists walking to Aleppo to try and end Syrian war arrive in Czech Republic

A group of around 50 activists travelling on foot from Germany to Aleppo in the hope of ending the war in Syria reached the Ústí region of the Czech Republic on Monday morning. Participants are working with a local priest to help organise the Czech part of their stay and journey. They are also being accompanied by Czech traffic police to ensure they are safe when travelling on the road, as recent snowfall has lowered visibility and led to poor conditions. The march to Aleppo is the idea of German journalist and blogger Anna Alboth; the number of participants has grown and fallen between cities since the group set out from Berlin.

Death toll from extreme cold rises to six

Six people in Prague died from extreme cold since last Thursday, even though shelters reportedly still had room and were not full to capacity. One of the victims, in Prague 4, is believed to have taken his life. Harsh night time conditions well below zero degrees Celsius have claimed lives not just in the Czech Republic but across Europe.

Unemployment up in December but still lowest figure for month since 2008

The unemployment rate in the Czech Republic grew slightly in December, rising to 5.2 percent from 4.9 percent the previous month. Officials from the Office of Labour said on Monday that the development was typical of the end of the year, when seasonal work ends, and that the figure was still the best recorded for December since 2008. The number of people out of work last month was just over 381,000.

Flu in Vysočina region hits near epidemic levels

The death toll from the flu in the region of Vysočina has risen to six. The number of patients suffering from acute respiratory illness in the region is nearing epidemic levels, some 1,660 per 100,000 inhabitants. Most hospitals and pensioners homes have banned visits.

Smog alert declared in Zlín Region

A smog alert has been declared in the Zlín Region in southern Moravia. After double the permissible limit for airborne dust particles was recorded in half of the region’s weather stations people were advised to keep their windows closed, not overly exert themselves outdoors and keep car journeys to a minimum. The worst levels of pollution have been recorded in the Vsetín area.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be cloudy with sunny periods. Daytime temperatures of around -6 or -7 degrees Celsius are expected.