Organized crime in the Czech Republic has infiltrated state administration as well as the police and judiciary, according to a report by the country’s interior ministry released on Friday. In its strategy for fighting organized crime, the ministry warns that criminal groups will attempt to push their members to elected positions. The gangs presently gain access to both the private and public spheres through extensive corruption. To fight organized crime more efficiently, the ministry suggests joint investigation teams should be established that will include tax administrators and other specialists. The Interior Ministry also plans to increase the expertise of police officers.
The police on Friday released the identikit of a man suspected of a triple murder that took place in the central Bohemian village of Mukařov on Wednesday. The man, who is on the run, was described as being around 30 years old, 180 cm tall, stocky, with an oval face and short dark hair. Witnesses saw the suspect stab a 48-year-old man; the police later found the bodies of another man and a woman in a nearby house. The victims are believed to have been relatives but the motive behind the murders is unclear.
Forty Czech soldiers who recently returned from missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo were decorated with the Medal for Service Abroad at a military air base in Náměšť nad Oslavou on Friday. Around half of them were pilots who came back after serving four months in Kabul where they trained local forces; two of them suffered injuries during their mission. More than 7,000 Czech troops served in foreign missions last year; currently there are some 700 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan.
The Czech National Bank on Friday revised downwards its estimate of this year’s public finance deficit by 0.2 percent to 3.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The Czech Finance Ministry expects the deficit this year to reach 4.2 percent of the GDP. The central bank also estimates a state budget deficit of 3.0 percent of the GDP in 2012, down from previously estimated 3.8 percent. The country’s overall foreign debt this year should reach 40.9 percent of the gross domestic product which should rise to 41.8 percent of the GDP in the year 2012.
The queen of Czechoslovak chanson Hana Hegerová has announced her retirement after nearly 50 years on stage. The 79-year-old singer told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Friday she would no longer sing and perform publicly, saying she wanted to enjoy a stress-free lifestyle. Ms Hegerová recently cancelled a series of concerts over health problems but denied health issues were behind her decision to retire. However, she said she might in the future appear as a guest of another performer.
Hana Hegerová, a native of Bratislava, Slovakia, began performing in 1953 after graduating from a conservatory. She has recorded over 20 albums and performed in France, Canada, Germany and other countries during her career. She has also appeared in a number of films, most recently in the 2008 award-winning movie Czech RAPublic.
The police have detained a third suspect in Sunday's brutal attack on a bar in the town of Nový Bor. The seventeen-year-old youth gave himself up to police on Thursday after the arrest of two of the gang members. The incident took place on Sunday night and was sparked by a request for two youths playing on the bar’s gaming machines to produce IDs. A conflict ensued after which the minors were made to leave. They returned with a group of friends armed with clubs and machetes who smashed the place up in a frenzy seriously injuring a number of people. The police have already charged two men with inflicting grievous bodily harm and are still searching for two other suspects. The town's inhabitants have called a demonstration to express their concern and call for increased security measures.
The Chodsko folk festival began in the west Bohemian town of Domažlice on Friday, the country’s largest festival of bagpipe music which has a rich tradition in the region. Dozens of Czech and foreign ensembles are taking part in the three-day event, first held in 1955. The festival also features film screenings and rock concerts along with a historic crafts marker. Admissions to all shows are free.
Hundreds of people on Friday paid their last respects to Jiřina Švorcová, an actress and member of the totalitarian communist hierarchy. Ms Švorcová died earlier this week at the age of 83. She began her career in film and theatre in the 1950s and spent more that 40 years in Prague’s Na Vinohradech theatre; however, most Czech remember her as an apologist of the communist regime she supported throughout her life. Among those who bid farewell to the late Jiřina Švorcová was the last pre-1989 communist party leader Miloš Jakeš, the current communist party chair Vojtěch Filip; the Cuban embassy in Prague sent a wreath to the funeral service.
Thousands of racing fans are descending on Brno for the Grand Prix of the Czech Republic, the 11th event of the motorcycle world championships held at the Masaryk Circuit over the weekend. Organizers expect some 250,000 people to turn up for Sunday’s races. The police advise locals to avoid roads in the vicinity of the circuit, situated some 15 km west of the city, just off the D1 motorway.
Two Czech riders, Karel Abrahám and Jakub Kornfeil, did poorly in Friday’s free practice for the motorcycle Grand Prix in Brno. In the MotoGP category Karel Abrahám finished 17th, more than 2.6 second after Spain’s Dani Pedrosa who came in first. In the 125 ccm category, another Czech Jakub Kornfeil finished 20th.
The weekend will be mostly overcast with rain showers and occasional storms. Daytime highs will range between 22 and 26 degrees Celsius.