The Senate's mandate and immunity committee has adjourned a hearing on whether controversial senator Vladimir Zelezny should have his parliamentary immunity lifted to face criminal charges for fraud. The committee said they wanted to interview Mr Zelezny in person before proceeding further. Mr Zelezny is the director of the hugely popular commercial television network TV Nova. He is being investigated for a number of fraud charges connected to ownership of the station, all of which occurred before he was elected Senator in October.
Freezing temperatures forced schools, shops and offices in the northern town of Litvinov to shut down on Tuesday after the regional heating system failed. The 30,000 residents of the town used electric heaters and stoves to keep warm in temperatures around minus 10 degrees Celsius. A spokesman for the regional heating utility blamed a cracked steam pipe, and said workers hoped to have the pipe repaired by Wednesday. Litvinov's cold spell is the third time a regional heating system has broken down in the past two months.
Meanwhile life in nearby Usti nad Labem is slowly returning to normal after the River Elbe burst its banks at the weekend. The city is still on a state of alert, but river levels are falling and some streets have been reopened. Local officials said public transport should begin to return to normal on Wednesday. Usti was badly affected by the summer's flood catastrophe, when the worst flooding in five hundred years devastated large areas of the Czech Republic.
Police have said a young soldier died on Tuesday after being run over by a passenger train in North Moravia. The 20-year-old man was walking across rail tracks in the town of Hranice na Morave when the accident happened. A police spokesman said the train driver saw the man but could not stop the train in time.
British officials are again screening all passengers flying to the United Kingdom from Prague's Ruzyne airport. Britain first launched the controls in June 2001, in an effort to prevent members of the country's Roma minority from applying for asylum in the UK. Around 300 people were turned away at the airport between August and December last year.
Two men are to appear in court this week accused of making hoax telephone calls last summer claiming there were bombs at Ruzyne airport. One of the hoax calls was made in June, the other in August. In both cases the airport was evacuated, and in the latter several flights were also cancelled. The two men face up to five years in prison if found guilty.
Wednesday will be another cold and rather cloudy day with snow in places. Daytime temperatures will range between minus 6 and minus 10 degrees Celsius, falling at night to lows of minus 15 and even minus 19 degrees in some parts of the country.
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