A demonstration by right-wing extremists that had been set to take place at Prague's old Jewish quarter Josefov Saturday evening, evoking strong protests from local Jewish organisations, has been called off. Several dozen right-wing supporters met on Franz Kafka Square at about five o'clock, but dispersed after a representative from Prague's city hall told the demonstrators the march had been banned and that police at the scene would prevent them from going further. Meanwhile, close to one hundred representatives from the Jewish liberal union, as well as other anti-fascist groups, and local anarchist organisations, met in the historic Jewish quarter, prepared to intervene if the right-wing extremists had marched into the area. In the end there were no incidents, and police did not have to act. Originally, the organisers of the demonstration pretended they meant to honour victims of the Holocaust; afterwards it came to light they had intended to protest against Israel instead.
Regional wings of the Social Democratic Party have begun putting forward the names of candidates who will to try to retain or gain posts in the party's leadership, at the Social Democrat's national convention in March. Current chairman Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has said he aims to retain his chairmanship at the convention, despite rumours at a recent meeting of the Social Democrat's central executive committee, indicating some members of the Social Democrats would rather see Interior Minister Stanislav Gross or Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach as party chair. However, neither politician has expressed a desire to challenge Mr Spidla for the post. Among the regions that put forward their nominations for the chairmanship and deputy chairs on Saturday: Moravia-Silesia, South Bohemia, and Zlin. In Moravia-Silesia, delegates have already nominated Vladimir Spidla by a vote of 105 delegates to 11. South Bohemia also followed suit, putting forward the Prime Minister's name.
A railway line near the village of Stribro and the town of Pilsen, in south-west Bohemia, has been closed off for much of Saturday after a transport train derailed on the Pilsen-Cheb route just after 5 am. No one was injured in the accident. Czech Railways spokesman Petr Stahlavsky told the Czech news agency CTK Saturday that the train's engineers had missed a warning signal - leading up to the incident. The engine, pulling several empty transport cars, derailed at a viaduct overlooking a road near the Myslinka district. Most of the wagons fell from a 20 metre embankment, and now need to be removed by clean-up crews. So far there has been no final estimate on the damages; police and railways inspectors have also been at the scene to conduct investigations.
Rescue workers at the mountain resort Spindleruv Mlyn in northern Bohemia have recovered the body of an 11-year-old girl killed in a skiing accident on Thursday. The victim, a Belarussian on holiday in the Czech Republic's Krkonose mountains suffered a fatal head injury after hitting a tree. Her mother reported the girl missing Thursday evening prompting an eight-hour search using dogs and a helicopter. Rescuers found the girl's body in dense underbrush near the ski slope.
A collision involving a bus and a small truck Saturday morning near Bruntal near the Czech-Polish border has left two people seriously injured. The driver of the bus and the small truck were transferred by helicopter to a hospital in the area. Several others suffered lighter injuries that also had to be checked. The accident took place on a major road leading to a Czech-Polish border crossing; the damaged vehicles were cleared away by 3 pm. So far the cause of the accident is unknown, though weather may have played a part - light snowfall on the road and icy patches.
Sunday will see partly clear skies with a chance of clouding over and snow flurries in the afternoon. Temperatures are expected to reach highs between -7 and -3 degrees Celsius.
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