Prime Minister Petr Nečas will meet with the president on Monday to hand over the resignation of Trade and Industry Minister Martin Kocourek, who on Wednesday announced his decision to leave the cabinet amidst allegations of corruption. The prime minister is also likely to propose a successor to the post from his own Civic Democratic Party. Among the possible candidates for the position are Zbyněk Stanjura, head of the party’s deputies’ group in the lower house, one of the party’s leading economic experts Michal Doktor, and former industry and trade minister Martin Říman.
The head of Aircraft Industries, Ilona Plšková, injured in a shooting spree at the company’s Kunovice plant on Thursday – has been released from hospital. According to sources, she suffered only light injuries in the tragedy and will continue her recovery at home. The shooting saw three people – including the gunman – die. ¨ The police, meanwhile on Thursday night completed their investigation at the site, with the next focus to be on autopsies of the victims and assailant in the attack. According to sources, the deadly assault may have been revenge for an accident that left the suspect’s brother, arms magnate Pavel Musela, with permanent brain damage. Following the shooting, the attacker turned his weapon on himself.
Detectives from the anti-organised crime unit have charged three suspects with illegal arms dealing. One of the men, the head of a suspected gang operating in the Czech Republic, is reportedly a former police officer himself. The trio were reportedly involved in the sales of banned automatic weapons and ammunition: if found guilty each could face up to eight years in prison. The illegal sales were said to repeatedly have taken place in areas of North and Central Bohemia, involving seven weapons worth more than 200,000 crowns. Some of the items were retrofitted, featuring equipment currently used by some countries’ Special Forces. The head of the gang will remain in custody awaiting trial.
The country’s ombudsman (or public defender of rights) Pavel Varvařovský, in a written statement, has said that that the Employment Bureau should take into account personal factors in some cases when it comes to helping the unemployed. The ombudsman was referring to a case where a woman seeking employment was struck off the bureau’s list after failing to show up for a prearranged meeting. The client was unable to make the date due to personal difficulties: within a period of one month she had lost her job, received an eviction notice, faced financial problems and was visited by the social services, the ombudsman noted. While he recognised that the Employment Bureau had acted within its rights under the law, Mr Varvařovský made clear that it needed to be more flexible. The woman in question later apologised for her failure to show up and also took her case to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Several Czech soldiers were promoted and decorated during a ceremony in Prague on Friday, which is Veterans Day. Senate deputy leader Přemysl Sobotka spoke on the occasion, remembering how the former communist regime neglected or failed to show respect to the country’s heroes. A total of six soldiers were promoted on the occasion, including Robert Chudý who was seriously wounded while on a mission in Afghanistan. Despite the injury, he still serves in the Czech military. Chudý was promoted to the rank of major.
More than 300 diamonds of various sizes from one to 22 carats, worth half-a-billion crowns, went on display in Prague on Friday – the largest exhibition of diamonds in the country’s history, organisers from Diamonds International Corporation told reporters. The exhibition, which runs until November 22, is located near Prague’s Old Town Square. The touring event offers exhibits that were loaned from the prestigious Diamond Bourse in Antwerp, Belgium. They were flown to Prague from Bratislava where the exhibition was held previously. Afterwards, the display will be presented in Karlovy Vary, West Bohemia, and then in Warsaw. The exhibition is being protected using extraordinary security measures, the organisers said.
Five people were injured – at least one of them seriously – on Friday in a seven-car pileup in the east of the country. The accident took place on a road between Jablunkov and Třinec shortly before three pm, when a truck hit a car head-on leaving additional cars no room to manoeuvre. Rescue crews had to work carefully to free the most seriously injured motorist from his vehicle: he was airlifted to a hospital in Ostrava. The extent of two peoples’ injuries, meanwhile, has not been reported.
Specialists at Prague Zoo on Friday twice attempted but failed to reunite a newborn gorilla with its mother, the zoo’s director Miroslav Bobek has said. The mother, named Bikira, has shown no interest in the baby, which until now has been kept in an incubator. On the second attempt, Bikira was tranquilised and zookeepers tried to put the baby closer to the mother for feeding but were equally unsuccessful. The three-day-old newborn will be moved to another facility where he could be raised among different gorillas.
The Czech national football team played its best match to date under coach Michal Bílek on Friday defeating Montenegro 2:0 in the first-leg of their playoff for Euro 2012. The match, played at Sparta’s stadium on Letná plain, was scoreless after the first 45 minutes, with Czech goalie Petr Čech – playing with a partial facemask after breaking his nose – helping quash a number of chances.
The second half saw goals from Pilář and Sivok as well as tireless play from team captain and key playmaker Tomáš Rosický. The 2:0 win leaves the Czech Republic in good shape ahead of the rematch in Montenegro on November 15. The team that triumphs in the playoff will head to the European Championships to be held in Ukraine and Poland next year.
Czech downhill skier Ondřej Bank has expressed satisfaction after training at Pitztal, Austria, this week – his first time on skis since suffering from a recent illness. At the beginning of the summer Bank came down with an unknown disease after returning from a holiday in Thailand. He spent weeks in hospital – suffering high fevers, weakness and weight loss of 15 kilograms. To date, a series of tests was unable to reveal the cause. The skier joked about his situation at one point saying he no longer knew who to call and might try “Doctor House” – referring to the popular television series starring Hugh Laurie. Bank is reportedly leaving his options open regarding the FIS World Cup.
Sunny but cold conditions are expected at the weekend, with temperatures reaching highs of around 6 degrees Celsius.