- A US citizen suspected of murdering four people in Brno has been arrested in Washington, DC.
- Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has expressed doubts about the planned expansion of the Temelín nuclear plant.
- During a visit to Poland, President Zeman proposed to merge the Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges.
- A Russian Orthodox priest who stood up in defence of the band Pussy Riot has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic.
- Javelin champion Barbora Špotáková has given birth to a son.
American suspected of murdering four people in Brno arrested
A US citizen suspected of murdering four people in Brno was arrested at Washington airport on Thursday evening shortly after arriving on a flight from Vienna. Czech police chief Leoš Tržil said the suspect had already been charged and the Czech authorities were preparing a request for his extradition. The man known on social networks as Kevin Dahlgren is believed to have killed his distant relatives – an older couple and their two sons – after spending three weeks with them in their home in Brno. The motive for the crime remains unclear. There has been speculation that the suspect may be suffering from a serious mental disorder.
Finance minister doubts planned expansion of Temelín nuclear plant¨
Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has expressed doubts about the planned expansion of the Temelín nuclear plant. In an interview for the daily Hospodařské noviny on Friday, Mr Kalousek said he was not sure whether the investment would be effective due to an uncertain outlook of electricity prices. The minister also said he was surprised by the high cost-estimate given by the two bidders. In a reaction, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said the plant’s expansion was necessary to ensure the country’s energy stability.
The Czech government is planning to invest between 200 and 300 billion crowns in building two new reactors at the Temelín plant. The two bidders left in the process are a Russian-led consortium and the US-based firm Westinghouse.
Russian priest who stood up for Pussy Riot gets Czech asylum
Russian orthodox priest Sergei Baranov who stood up in defence of the punk band Pussy Riot has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic. The cleric told the daily Právo he received political asylum from the Czech Interior Ministry last month. Sergei Baranov said he found himself under pressure from Russian intelligence services when he protested against the trial with members of the band. In the interview, the priest expressed gratitude to the Czech authorities and said he was planning to convert to the Greek Catholic Church and establish a monastery in the Czech Republic.
President Zeman proposes to merge Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges
On the second day of his official visit to Poland, Czech President Miloš Zeman proposed to merge the Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges. Speaking at a Polish-Czech business forum in the Polish capital, Mr Zeman said the merger would establish a strong, Warsaw-based central European exchange that would better compete with other exchanges. The head of the Prague exchange, Petr Kobliha, said negotiations had been underway for several months to connect the region’s various exchanges.
President nominates Constitutional Court chief for another term
President Miloš Zeman on Friday proposed the chief justice of the Czech Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetský, for another 10-year term. The president last week nominated another three judges for the top court: Supreme Administrative Court judge Kateřina Šimáčková, Supreme Court judge Ludvík David and Constitutional Court justice Miloslav Výborný. The Czech Senate is set to vote on the nominations by the end of next month. In April, President Zeman appointed three judges to the Constitutional Court which was facing paralysis as the mandates of seven of its 15 judges expire this year.
Changes continue at Prague City Hall
Prague councillors for the TOP 09 party continue to implement changes at City Hall following Thursday’s break-up of the coalition and the dismissal of Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. On Friday, the council dismissed Civic Democrat members from the supervisory boards of Prague’s transport authority and the Municipal House; TOP 09 also took over some responsibilities previously held by Civic Democrat councillors, such as the completion of the multi-billion Blanka tunnel complex and a planned acquisition of a stake in the city’s service firm.
The coalition of TOP 09 and Civic Democrats collapsed this week in what observers see as a major feud of the two right-of-centre parties for the same electorate in the capital and beyond.
EU funds recipients secure over 50 pct of funds earmarked for Czech Republic
Czech recipients of EU subsidies have secured some 425 billion crowns which represents over 53 percent of the funds earmarked for the Czech Republic in the period between 2007 and 2013, the Czech Regional Development Ministry said on Friday. Czech authorities have approved EU funding for more than 41,000 projects worth around 666 billion crowns; if passed by the European Commission, the Czech Republic will receive some 83 percent of the earmarked funds.
Police arrest violent debt colleting gang
The Czech police have arrested eight members of an illegal debt collecting gang, a spokesman for the police’s organized crime unit said. The gang allegedly used violence and psychological pressure to collect debts; they set the victims cars’ on fire and in once case forced a victim to pay for the debts with sex. The gang, led by a Czech and Moldovan nationals, operated in southern Moravia. If convicted, members of the group face up to 15 years in prison.
Javelin champion Špotáková gives birth to son
Czech javelin champion Barbora Špotáková has given birth to a son. The baby boy, Špotáková’s first child, was born in Prague on Friday morning, and has been named Janek. The 31-year-old two-time Olympic winner said she was very happy and felt a mix of euphoria and responsibility. The boy will bear the surname of his father, Lukáš Novotný. Barbora Špotáková is planning to return to athletics in October to prepare for the European Championships 2014.
Football: Baník Ostrava receives top division licence
Czech football club Baník Ostrava on Friday received a licence to play in the country’s top division next season. The Czech Football Association initially denied Baník the licence over the club’s economic problems. Earlier this week, however, Ostrava City Hall approved the acquisition of the club’s stadium, allowing Baník to settle parts of their debts amounting to around 170 million crowns. Baník Ostrava are yet to avoid relegation to second division; with two rounds to go in the Gambrinus liga, Baník are on 12th place, four points away from relegation.
Freezing temperatures recorded across Czech Republic
Temperatures below zero degrees Celsius were recorded in places across the Czech Republic on Friday morning. The lowest temperature – minus 5.5 degrees – was recorded in the northern skiing resort Jizerka. Meteorologists expect a spell of cold weather to continue for several days to come but said freezing temperatures should not return.
The weekend will be mostly overcast with rain showers and daytime highs ranging between 11 and 16 degrees Celsius.