Kevin Klose is serving a second term as president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an American-funded international broadcaster based in Prague since the mid-1990s. Mr. Klose oversaw the station’s move here from Munich on the invitation of President Václav Havel, before later going on to head National Public Radio in the US for a decade. In part one of a two-part interview, he discusses RFE/RL’s search for a new identity in the post-Cold War era and its move east.
The defense team for the American Kevin Dahlgren, accused of killing four people in Brno this spring, has filed an appeal challenging his detention. A ruling on the legality of Dahlgren’s arrest and detention will not be made before mid-February. The appeal will further delay a decision on the suspect’s possible extradition to the Czech Republic. Kevin Dahlgren is accused of murdering four Czech relatives with whom he was staying in Brno. He fled to Vienna and boarded a flight to Washington DC where he was arrested on arrival.
Some residents of the town of Dobrovíz, where the internet shopping giant Amazon is planning to build one of its Central European distribution hubs, are protesting against the American company’s decision. Locals are concerned with the damage to the environment that will be caused by the construction and operation of the 95,000-square-meter warehouse, as well as the burden on local infrastructure from approximately 450 lorries that will be coming in and out of the complex on a daily basis starting in the second half of next year. The town’s mayor said that he has not seen any exact plans of the project and has not yet met with either the developer or Amazon representatives, though those meetings are in the plans. Amazon made the announced that it has chosen the industrial complex in Dobrovíz near the Václav Havel airport and another location near Brno for two new distribution centers over a month ago.
The recent presentation of a US award for opponents of Communism to Václav Klaus has sparked a war of words in the Czech Republic. Some believe the former prime minister and president did nothing whatever to fight totalitarianism – and should be stripped of the prize. Now Mr. Klaus has responded with a detailed defence.
A fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas will have to pay a fine of 118,000 US dollars for major breaches of security measures which caused a massive explosion in April. Fifteen people died and hundreds of others were injured as a result of the blast in a town where the vast majority of inhabitants claim to have Czech heritage. Some 350 buildings were also destroyed and a 27-meter wide crater has formed. The Czech government gave approximately 200,000 dollars to the people of West, most of the money was meant to rebuild the local Sokol building.
A US court in Alexandria, Virginia has given the defence team of Kevin Dahlgren another 30 days to appeal his extradition to the Czech Republic. Last week, the court ruled that all the requirements for extradition have been met. Originally, the suspect had the chance to appeal until this past Thursday, but the judge decided to extend the deadline. Mr. Dahlgren is suspected of killing his cousin and three other members of her family in Brno. The murders occurred this past May when the suspect was in the Czech Republic, after which he travelled to Vienna and then to the US, where he was arrested by FBI agents upon arrival at the airport in Washington DC.
A court in Costa Rico on Tuesday sentenced a British man to 25 years in prison for the murder of a 22-year-old Czech woman in the country in 2011. Alfred Saunders was found guilty of stabbing the woman to death in her tent on an eco-farm near the border between Costa Rico and Nicaragua. He had confessed to the killing prior to the trial.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint by American national Gilbert Ferguson Mc Crae, sentenced to 16 years in jail for murder. Two years ago, Mr Mc Crae shot and killed a 34-year-old, who had allegedly shouted obscenities at him a bar earlier, point blank on Prague’s 22 tram. The murder was discovered after 1 am. The convicted Mc Crae had argued that his rights had not been respected in the case but the court called his claim unsubstantiated.
The heavy metal band Lamb of God’s singer Randy Blythe has released a video he made during his trial in Prague. Entitled The Devil is in the Details, the 5-minute long black and white film reflects the singer’s difficult period in the Czech capital. In March, Randy Blythe was acquitted of manslaughter charges raised against him after the death of a fan who suffered injuries at the band’s 2010 Prague concert. Randy Blythe spent five weeks in police detention in Prague.
A US film production is scheduled to shoot in Prague’s metro over the weekend. On Saturday, service will be suspended at the metro’s line B between the stations Smíchovské nádraží and Florenc from 10 PM till 8 AM. On Sunday morning, trains will not stop at Anděl station. The production is shooting a film called Child 44 in Prague, a movie directed by Daniel Espinosa and produced by Ridley Scott.