A Prague court has sentenced the former president of the Czech Football Association František Chvalovský to 10 years in jail for extensive fraud that allegedly stripped Komerční banka of 1.5 billion crowns. Chvalovský, who was also a functionary and sponsor of the Chmel Blšany team, and four managers of the Satrapa and Českomoravská agrarni spolecnost companies are suspected of having used the money Komerčni banka lent them for the repayment of previous debts, not for the purchase of farm produce as agreed on with the bank. The four accomplices also received unconditional sentences. Chvalovský can appeal the verdict.
A twenty-seven-year-old man who went on a shooting spree in Prague’s Modřany district on Monday evening is reported to have acted under the influence of alcohol and drugs. He injured four people, two of whom will have to undergo surgery. His victims were selected at random, only one of the injured was shot in the chest when he tried to wrestle the gun from the aggressor. The case is being investigated.
Several dozen disabled people protested against the government’s health reform outside the Czech Health Ministry on Tuesday. People in wheelchairs, with hearing and sight disabilities joined a happening outside the ministry headquarters bringing a bed and sleeping bag to symbolize standard and above-standard health care which the reforms will introduce. They expressed concern that given their special needs the planned changes would further isolate them and lower their living standard. Health Minister Leoš Heger came out and spent over an hour with them, explaining the planned changes and providing assurances that in their case above-standard care would be the norm.
Parliament’s mandate and immunity committee, which is reviewing a police request for the former transport minister Vit Barta to be stripped of his parliamentary immunity so that he can be investigated for corruption, says it wants to study the respective police files before coming to a decision. Mr Bárta is suspected of attempting to bribe fellow party members in return for their loyalty; he claims that the money was offered as loans. Parliament’s mandate committee will hear Mr. Barta and ultimately make a recommendation to MPs on how to vote on the matter. When Parliament decides against giving up a member for investigation, he or she cannot be investigated on the same grounds, even after their term of office expires.
Tuesday’s general strike in Greece rescheduled a number of Czech flights bound for Athens and other popular tourist destinations but did not present serious complications, a spokeswoman for the flight company Travel Service told the CTK news agency on Tuesday. Passengers heading for Greece were alerted about the rescheduled flights in advance, those returning from Greece suffered a several hour delay. The same policy will be in place on Wednesday when the general strike is expected to reschedule 7 flights out to Greece.
The Czech Trade Inspection office says its employees conducted four inspections on open air markets in Prague confiscating over 3,000 counterfeit products to the tune of over 3 million crowns. Most of the counterfeit goods are textile products and footwear sporting Burberry, Diesel, Adidas, Puma and Nike labels.
According to the outcome of a public opinion survey 93 percent of Czechs see corruption as the country’s most pressing problem. The poll conducted by the STEM agency indicates that 83 percent of Czechs think the vast majority of civil servants are open to bribery and 77 percent of respondents consider corruption in the Czech Republic to be more widespread than in other EU member states. On the other hand only 24 percent of those questioned claimed to have registered progress in fighting corruption.
A thirty-year-old Czech was killed in a paragliding accident near Velešín in southern Bohemia on Tuesday. The pilot appears to have lost control and the paraglider spiraled down from a height of around 100 meters. Although witnesses rushed over to give the man emergency aid he died shortly after of multiple internal injuries. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
Police say they are preparing a large-scale road safety operation to coincide with the end of the school year. The first week of the school holidays is regarded as highly problematic due to the large number of families hitting the road. Traffic police say they plan to focus on the most common transgressions –speeding, drink-driving and using mobile phones without a hands-free device. Similar road safety operations in the past have been known to reduce the number of accidents –and more importantly road deaths.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has advanced to the semi-finals at Wimbledon after defeating Bulgarian opponent Tsvetana Pironkova on Tuesday evening. The Czech player won the first set 6:3 but lost the tie-break that decided the second. In the third set, Kvitová broke Pironkova twice. She won the final set 6:2, sealing match point with an ace. It is the second year in a row that Kvitová has advanced to Wimbledon’s semi-final stage.
A day earlier - on Monday - Petra Kvitová breezed past Belgian player Yanina Wickmayer by a score of 6:0, 6:2. By contrast, Tomáš Berdych – the world men’s no. 7 – was stopped in his tracks by US player Mardy Fish. He lost in straight sets by a score of 7:6, 6:4, 6:4. A third Czech player, Petra Cetkovská, was also defeated on Monday, losing to Sabine Lisicki of Germany.
The Czech Republic is currently affected by a heat wave which should last for another 24-hours with cloudless skies and temperatures in the 30s. Thursday should bring relief in the form of scattered showers and a significant drop in day temperatures.