Two Czech men serving 50 year prison sentences for illegal drug-trafficking in Thailand have been allowed to return home. The two men arrived at Prague's Ruzyne airport on Tuesday afternoon amidst a storm of media publicity. They were taken straight to a Prague court which is to decide on where they will serve the rest of their sentences in the Czech Republic. The two men who spent eight years in a Thai jail have not been allowed any direct contact with their families or journalists. They will spend the next few weeks in quarantine, undergoing a series of medical tests. Emil Novotny, who was 19 when he was arrested in Bangkok and Radek Hanykovics, 27 at the time of his arrest, are the first to benefit from an agreement between the Czech Republic and Thailand on a mutual exchange of prisoners.
A fifty two year old man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death in a fit of jealousy has been sentenced to ten years in prison. The man attacked the thirty five year old woman out in the street after begging her to take him back. Both were drunk at the time of the tragedy. The victim was stabbed in the heart and died on the spot. The man has appealed the verdict, insisting he had never meant to kill the woman.
Road and rail transport in the Czech Republic is still complicated by the effects of heavy snow in the past few days. Road management has proved unable to cope and many roads are covered with ice or slush. In the Western parts of the country a snowstorm has brought down old tree branches, blocking roads to traffic. An important rail route between Prague and Karlovy Vary was closed to traffic for several hours on Monday night and again on Tuesday morning as emergency crews cleared away fallen trees. A late night storm is also reported to have caused electricity blackouts in the region. Hydro-meteorologists warn that melting snow could significantly increase the water level of rivers particularly in the southern and western parts of the country.
The Czech government's ten year plan for the construction of new roads and railways will be delayed. According to Transport Minister Milan Simonovsky the road plan will be delayed by approximately four years, railway construction by up to seven. At a meeting with foreign investors, the minister said the projects were being delayed by complex preparatory work as well as by opposition from environmentalist groups. Many of these road and rail links are to become vital EU transport corridors.
Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with scattered rain or snow showers and day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.
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