President Vaclav Klaus began a week-long vacation on Sunday that he will spend in north-eastern Bohemia, in the area of the Krkonose Mountains. Mr Klaus, an avid sportsman, will spend time hiking, and will climb the Czech Republic's highest mountain, Snezka (1602 metres). According to his spokesman, Petr Hajek, the president will return to work on August 13th, when he will meet with the Czech Under-20 football team which recently lost 2:1 against Argentina in the final of the U-20 World Cup in Toronto, Canada.
Workers at Prague Zoo are considering steps to take in the case of Kijivu,
a lowland gorilla at the zoo fallen ill with intestinal colic; there are
worries that in the coming days the gorilla might not be able to care for
her two-month old baby, Tatu. On Sunday morning the gorilla pavilion was
closed to the public and Kijivu was given antibiotics; keepers are now
weighing further options. It is possible the baby gorilla will need to be
taken from the mother and fed artificially.
Recent months have seen a number of worrying incidents at the zoo's gorilla pavilion: in July an unknown perpetrator tried to harm the apes by leaving nail-filled apples in their enclosure. But the tampered apples were uncovered in time.
Historians are planning a project which will map the stories of Czechoslovak citizens who died tragically during the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The Institute of Contemporary History has reportedly begun contacting surviving relatives and friends for information, photographs, and other documentation. 72 people were killed in the first fourteen days or so following the August 21st invasion. The occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops crushed the period of reforms known as the Prague Spring. The project underway will help mark the 40th anniversary of the invasion next year.
Experts at the country's Hydrometeorological Institute have issued forest fire warnings throughout the country for the coming days; much of the Czech Republic is experiencing a heavy dry spell. Warnings have been issued for ten of the country's fourteen regions, including Central Bohemia and South Moravia. Fire brigades on Saturday registered 109 fires - double the usual figures.
Saturday saw five people killed in road accidents on Saturday, one of the deaths a motorcycle accident which saw the rider lose control of his bike in a turn and swerve into an on-coming vehicle. Police say this Saturday saw a total of 375 accidents, 53 of which resulted from speeding or not yielding right of way. 41 were drink-related. The high number of accidents, just a year after tougher road legislation was introduced, has prompted promises by the police to heighten their presence in areas. The worst weekend on Czech roads so far this year was the first weekend in July, which saw 14 people killed.
The first match of their 2007/08 football season will see defending champions Sparta Prague face ex-champions Slovan Liberec. The match will be held in Prague on Monday afternoon. Sparta has a number of new players who will not be on the roster for Monday's opener, due to injury. The Sparta-Liberec match will be a first for new Liberec coach Michal Zach.
More and more brick & mortar antiquarian bookshops in the Czech Republic are beginning to successfully sell books, prints, and vinyl records over the Internet. According to sellers, interest abroad in rare books or prints remains high. People from smaller town or villages in the Czech Republic, too, are apparently showing an interest, not least because rare books often remain specific to certain regions. One bookseller, who began his website in 2005, told the CTK news agency that currently the Internet represented about 5 - 10 percent of his sales.
Police have arrested a 26-year-old man in the area of Ostrava, east Moravia, for allegedly sexually abusing a local child. The man was arrested on Saturday after reportedly abusing a 7-year-old boy. According to available information, the incident was witnessed by the victim's older brother, who called the police. If found guilty, the suspect in the case - who faces additional charges in a previous incident - could face up to 8 years in prison.
A 78-year-old man fell fifty metres to his death while walking in the area of a former quarry in the area of Beroun, near Prague. The man apparently slipped while viewing the quarry; tragically, a tree he caught onto failed to support his weight. It is the second fall at the quarry in two days. On Friday, a young man suffered head injuries after falling six metres.
Police have charged five people in connection with alleged corruption in public tenders at the defence ministry, the Saturday edition of Pravo has reported. One of the individuals charged is said to be a ministry official, while the other four are from the business sector. According to Pravo, all five will be charged with fraud, which may have caused damages between 500, 000 to 5 million crowns; if found guilty, each could face between three to eight years in jail. In addition, the paper writes, members of the group will also be charged for bribery and for abusing the powers of a public official.