Czech police have accused eight people of supporting terrorist groups in northern Caucasus, a spokesman of the organized crime unit told the Czech news agency ČTK on Tuesday. Police said that five citizens of Dagestan and two Bulgarian nationals operated a base in the Czech Republic that supplied forged documents, firearms and explosives to the Djammat Shariat group operating in northern Caucasus.
Members of the group were arrested in early April. Six of them are in custody in the Czech Republic; the remaining two are being investigated in Germany. The organized crime unit of Czech police started investigating the case in 2008.
Czech President Václav Klaus received the news of Osama bin Laden’s death with great relief, he said in a statement that appeared on his website on Tuesday. Mr Klaus believes Osama’s death will increase security, and calm the situation world-wide. Other Czech officials reacted to the killing of the Al Qaeda leader on Monday. Mr Klaus’s deputy chief of staff, Petr Hájek, however on Monday questioned the death of the terrorist network leader. Mr Hájek said Osama bin Laden’s death was “as credible as a birth certificate found and published after all the years”.
Czech MPs approved on Tuesday minor changes to the country’s driving legislation. If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, drivers will no longer have points taken away for having less than 0.3 per mil of alcohol in their blood while driving; however, any alcohol content in the driver’s blood will still be punishable by fines. Under the new law, points will no longer be subtracted from drivers who fail to turn on their car’s headlights, and for minor speeding offences.
The proposed reform of the country’s health care system will allow foreign women to undergo abortions in the Czech Republic. The Czech Health Ministry says current abortion legislation, approved in 1986, is in breach of EU regulations, the ministry said. A similar measure was included in the previous draft of health care reform, and was one of the reasons why it was rejected by the Czech Parliament. The ministry would like the lower house vote on the current proposal by the end of June.
A new poll by the SC&C agency has put the opposition Social Democrats ahead of the coalition parties. The survey, paid for by public broadcaster Czech TV and released on Tuesday, says that 27 percent of those polled would vote for the Social Democrats, followed by 21 percent for the senior coalition Civic Democrats. Third came another coalition party, TOP 09 with 16 percent while 12 percent of those who took part in the survey said they would vote for the Communists. The junior coalition party, Public Affairs, with 4 percent, would not make it to the lower house. The Christian Democrats, who failed to cross the five-percent threshold needed to win seats in the Chamber of Deputies, would now get just that.
A leading Czech NGO, People in Need, will send humanitarian aid to civilians in Libya. The NGO’s head, Šimon Pánek said that given the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the conflict-stricken country, People in Need would release 500,000 crowns, or over 30,000 US dollars from its rapid response fund, and was preparing first shipments of aid to the besieged city of Misrata. The cargo should be on its way next week.
The Czech Industry and Trade Ministry would like to extend its network of offices in foreign countries that promote Czech exports by half. Minister Milan Kocourek told reporters on Tuesday that the existing network of ten such centres will be extended to cover all regions of the world. The Czech Foreign Ministry recently stopped hosting pro-export offices in their own facilities, and the economic agenda should be managed by diplomats. The move did not satisfy Czech exporters who were pushing for an independent export-supporting network.
One of the most famous Czech film, TV and stage actresses, Jiřina Bohdalová, celebrates her 80th birthday on Tuesday. Several Czech TV channels will mark the occasion with special shows dedicated to the actress who will throw a big party on Thursday. Jiřina Bohdalová, a native of Prague, spent most of her career at the Vinohradské Theatre in the capital. She has appeared in hundreds of films, most nobly in the 1969 political thriller Ucho; she received two Czech Lion film awards for her roles in Fany and Nesmrtelná teta.
A 41-year-old Czech man was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in prison for a nasty road accident he caused last year. The man thought another car on the D1 motorway outside Prague was going too slowly. When he was passing it, he drove into the other car and pushed it off the road. The slower car ended in summersaults on the side of the motorway; rescue workers said it was a miracle that neither of the two passengers in the car suffered serious injuries. The dangerous driver later apologized, and claimed he had no intention of hurting anyone. The court also banned the man from driving over a period of seven years.
The Czech Republic’s national hockey team beat Denmark 6:0 at the World Championships in Slovakia on Monday, securing a spot in the tournament’s knock-out stage. The Danes only put up resistance in the first period which the Czechs still won 1:0. But in the second, the Czechs scored 4 goals in just over three minutes, and admitted no surprises in the game. After beating Latvia 4:2 in its first appearance in the tournament, the Czech team is yet to face Finland in the group stage on Wednesday.
The northern part of the Czech Republic was hit by snow and sub-zero temperatures on Tuesday morning. The Krkonoše mountains saw up to 30 cm of fresh snow; even lower places in the regions of Liberec, Karlovy Vary and Pardubice registered of up to 3 cm of snow in the last 24 hours. Temperatures in the north of the country dropped below minus 2.5 degrees Celsius.
The current spell of cold and rainy weather will continue until the end of the week, with overcast skies, rain showers and daytime highs of around 13 degrees Celsius.