An Austrian tourist bus had its roof ripped off as it crashed into a bridge near the village of Dolní Dvořiště, in southern Bohemia, on Friday night, injuring 36 people; ten of them suffered severe injuries and were taken to nearby Czech and Austrian hospitals. Most of the injured passengers are Austrian; 12 Czech citizens traveling on the bus were also wounded. A spokesman for Czech police said the driver of the bus must have overlooked a road sign warning against the low profile of the bridge.
Czech rescue workers on Saturday denied claims by the leader of the Austrian tourist group who said they had arrived too late at the scene of the accident. The head of the South Bohemian emergency services said the first ambulance arrived seven minutes after they were alerted.
Around 200 people marched through the centre of Prague on Saturday as part of an attempt to spread the Occupy Wall Street protests around the world. The march passed by the Prague stock exchange before arriving in front of Prague Castle where the protestors plan to spend the night. One of the organizers said the event should draw attention to a lack of civil society in the Czech Republic. Similar demonstrations, inspired by protests in Spain, the US and other countries, reportedly took place in more than 700 cities around the world on Saturday.
Agriculture Minister Petr Bendl, an ally of Prime Minister and Civic Democrat chair Petr Nečas, was on Saturday re-elected the head of the party’s influential Central Bohemian branch. He received 74 votes while his rival for the post and an opponent of Mr Nečas within the party Petr Tluchoř, got 68. The vote is a success for the prime minister who personally came to the party conference in Kladno to back Mr Bendl’s bid. Civic Democrats in Central Bohemia are split in their support for Petr Nečas but Saturday’s vote suggests his supporters gained an upper hand. The recent sacking of Petr Bendl’s predecessor at the Agriculture Ministry, Ivan Fuksa, was seen as a move to ensure Mr Bendl’s re-election.
Leaders of the opposition Social Democrat party on Saturday called on MP and their former chair Jiří Paroubek as well as MP Jiří Šlégr who recently left the party to also renounce their seats in the lower house of Parliament. The party’s central committee also elected two new members to fill the two vacant posts.
Earlier this month, Jiří Paroubek and Jiří Šlégr quit the Social Democrat party and founded their own group entitled the National Socialist Party – the Left Wing of the 21st Century. Mr Paroubek, who headed the Social Democrats between 2006 and 2010, resigned following a poor showing in the general election last year but never found common ground with his successors at party helm.
The Czech government will at its session on Wednesday debate a bill, prepared by Prague City Hall, that would introduce stricter measures against illegal taxi drivers, the Czech news agency ČTK reported on Saturday. If approved by Parliament, the bill would allow authorities to confiscate cars of drivers repeatedly caught without a taxi license; drivers could also be banned from providing taxi service. Prague taxi drivers are notorious for overcharging customers and other tricks; the situation somewhat improved in recent years.
Members of the Belarusian community in the Czech Republic would like to be officially recognized as an ethnic minority, the news website idnes.cz reported on Saturday. They have addressed several petitions to the Czech government; however, Czech officials said they would have to wait for the results of this year’s population census to determine how many Belarusians living in the country also have Czech citizenship, a prerequisite to be recognized as a minority. The other is the community’s historical roots in the country.
The Belarusian community in the Czech Republic is estimated to have around 1,000 members. The country officially recognizes 12 minorities, including Romanies, Slovaks, Ukrainians and others with the notable exception of the Vietnamese.
A 17-year-old boy was found dead on the roof of a building in Prague on Saturday, a police spokeswoman said. The police are yet to determine the cause of his death; the spokeswoman said it was probably an accident as a doctor who examined the body ruled out any third party involvement in the incident.
Czech national side and Germany’s FC Cottbus forward Martin Fenin has been hospitalized with brain hemorrhage, according to a statement released by the club on Saturday. The club said the 24-year-old forward was taken to hospital on Saturday morning where he has remained under observation; no details were given of his current condition or the causes of his injury. The footballer, who scored three goals in 14 international games, last appeared in the national team in June in a friendly against Japan.
The weekend should be sunny but cold, with clear skies, morning fog in places and daytime highs of around 12 degrees Celsius.