President Vaclav Klaus has written a letter to his Zambian counterpart requesting justice for the three Czechs who are to go on trial for spying. The president expressed the hope that the case would be speedily and justly resolved. He said he was conviced that the three men were innocent of any wrongdoing, and had merely wanted to take home snapshots of an exhibited Czechoslovak plane. The Czech nationals face 25 years in prison for having taken photographs of an old plane displayed outside a military base in Lusaka. The Czech government has sent a special envoy to the country in the hope of assisting their case.
The head of Prague’s city police Vladimir Kotrouš has been arrested on suspicion of corruption. According to the internet news site lidovky.cz Mr. Kotrouš was arrested by members of the anti-organized crime squad on Friday morning and is being questioned. He is suspected of having accepted a bribe. Mr. Kotrouš was appointed to the post in 2002. He has been with the force for ten years.
Some 500 people are reported to have taken part in Friday’s trade union rally against widespread corruption in the Czech Republic. The protesters marched to the lower house of Parliament where they handed over a petition calling for the setting up of a parliamentary commission which would oversee the investigation of large-scale corruption cases. Prime Minister Petr Nečas recently criticized the protest, saying that his government had made its anti-corruption strategy a top priority and was doing everything possible to curb the problem.
A Prague court on Friday acquitted Karel Březina, former Prague deputy mayor for the Social Democrats, of distorting data on financial management and assets while on the supervisory board of several companies. The state attorney accused Březina of withholding information about his place on the board of two companies which were in bankruptcy proceedings while joining the supervisory board of Žižkov Station Development 2009. In a statement for the company Březina said he did not hold a similar post in any company faced with bankruptcy proceedings. The court came to the conclusion that Březina´s conduct did not constitute a crime. The state attorney has appealed the verdict.
KarelBřezina was Prague deputy mayor until Thursday when the grand coalition of the Civic Democrats and Social Democrats collapsed and all Social Democrat representatives were dismissed from the City Council.
Czech architect Karel Hubáček who is best known for designing the Jested TV and radio transmitter on Jested Mountain, has died at the age of 87. The transmitter’s innovative design -modelled in the shape of a rotating hyperboloid – won Hubáček the Perret Prize in August of 1969. The funeral is to take place in Liberec on December 2nd.
The government-financed humanitarian aid programme Medevac which was set up to help treat children from countries ravaged by war or natural disasters is to be extended to five seriously injured adult Libyans who are in urgent need of medical assistance. The decision was announced by Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg on Friday. The patients are to be transported to the Czech Republic on an army plane and are scheduled to arrive on December 12th. Close to 130 child patients have received care in Czech hospitals within the Medevac programme set up in 1993. They were mostly from Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Cambodia.
The Czech Republic has reported its first swine-flu related death this year. According to the country’s chief hygiene officer Michal Vit a middle-aged woman from north Bohemia succumbed to complications resulting from the swine flu this week. Five other people have been diagnosed with it.
German hospitals are holding a job fair in Prague on Friday and Saturday, offering qualified Czech doctors significantly higher salaries and better work conditions than they can hope to get in the Czech Republic. The fair comes at a time when many Czech doctors are disappointed by the fact that the health ministry has cut back on a promised pay rise next year as a result of slower growth and further cost-cutting measures. German hospitals are offering 140 jobs with pay conditions three to four times better than those in the Czech Republic.
The regional court in České Budějovice has invalidated a ban on an ultra right rally issued by the town of Vimperk in south Bohemia. The town hall cited security reasons for its decision. In the wake of Friday’s court ruling the mayor said he respected the court’s decision and had requested police reinforcements. The rally, organized by the far-right workers party, is to take place on Saturday between 11 and 3pm.
Police have confirmed the death of the deputy mayor of Zidenice Ales Vytopil who has been missing since early September. A police spokeswoman said that a dead man found in south Moravia on Thursday had been identified as the missing mayor and that he had died a violent death. There has been widespread speculation surrounding Vytopil’s disappearance, but according to the police his murder was not linked to his position at city hall.
The coming days are expected to be partly cloudy with scattered showers and day temperatures between 4 and 8 degrees Celsius.