The supreme state attorney, Renata Vesecka, has sacked Milan Horvath as head of her office's financial crime section, after Mr Horvath lost a briefcase containing files pertaining to the case of fugitive businessman Radovan Krejcir. The briefcase was stolen from Mr Horvath's car, which had been left parked in a street in Brno last Tuesday. Two men were apprehended in possession of the documents, which they had been trying to sell to various media outlets and Mr Krejcir's lawyers. The latter is in custody in South Africa. The Czech Republic has requested his extradition so he can face several charges including conspiracy to murder.
A special police team has been formed to help the search for a 13-year-old girl who went missing from a children's home in Brno a week ago. The police say they now believe it is possible that somebody is hiding Anna, and have raided a number of homes belonging to the girl's relatives. She had been in the care of Klara Mauerova, a 30-year-old woman who is in custody on charges of severely abusing her eight-year-old son. The authorities say they have no record of Anna's existence, and there is considerable confusion over her identity and even age.
Archaeologists have discovered a meat freezer in Usti nad Labem where 17 butchers died during World War II, Mlada fronta Dnes reported. The freezer was found beneath the town's main square. The butchers are believed to have been sheltering from an Allied air raid in April 1945. The premises were hit by a bomb, but the freezer continued working and the men succumbed to ammonia poisoning after the gas was released by its damaged cooling system. Eight of the butchers were Czech; the others were from France and Belgium.
The mayor of Prague, Pavel Bem, has reached the top of Mount Everest. Mr Bem, a senior figure in the Civic Democratic Party, becomes the tenth Czech to reach the world's highest peak. He is now on a two-day descent to his base camp, which experienced climbers say is the most dangerous part of the climb. Mr Bem was criticised both inside and outside his party for taking two months leave from his post as mayor of Prague.
A man committed suicide by jumping under a train in Brno on Thursday, soon after running over his wife with a car. The man, who was 43, hit his wife at high speed though her injuries have been described as not life-threatening. Police said the man evidently could not reconcile himself to his wife's demand for a divorce.
Experts say they expect a new record price for a Czech painting sold at auction to be set this Sunday, when Frantisek Kupka's Abstract Composition goes under the hammer in Prague. The starting price is 8.5 million crowns, but there is a good chance the work could fetch over 10 million, said auctioneer Jan Rybar, adding that it was a long time since an oil painting by Kupka had been up for sale.
The Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg, has described Austrian
protesters against a Czech nuclear power plant as "loonies"
("magory"). Speaking to Czech television cameras, Mr
Schwarzenberg said "knowing those loonies, they would continue
holding border blockades". This week Austrian anti-nuclear activists
would block all 16 crossings between the two states, if Vienna did not
file a lawsuit against the Czech Republic. The Austrian government has
sent a diplomatic note, saying the Czechs had not fulfilled the Melk
agreement on safety at the Temelin nuclear station in south Bohemia.
Speaking on a visit to Prague on Friday, Austrian Interior Minister Gunther Platter said his government was committed to ensuring free movement on the border, regardless of developments in the dispute over Temelin.
Police in Moravia's capital Brno are preparing for what is expected to be one of their biggest security operations when seventeen presidents of Central and Eastern Europe meet in the city later this month. The presidential summit is scheduled for May 24-26 and will be guarded by special units as well as some 800 police officers. The deputy head of the south Moravian police, Martin Kotlan, says it is the biggest security operation since Queen Elizabeth visited Brno in 1996.
A new opinion poll suggests that general elections would end in a stalemate if they were held tomorrow and would therefore not shake the current left-right balance in parliament. In the poll, conducted by the STEM agency, the Civic Democratic Party, which won the elections last year, and the Social Democrats, who came second would win 71 seats each in the lower house. The Communists would hold 29 seats, the Greens 18 seats, and the Christian Democrats 11 seats. Just like last year, the 200 seats would be evenly split between the left and the right side of the political spectrum.
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