Heavy snowfall has continued to cause complications on roads throughout
the Czech Republic, although conditions in many areas improved on Saturday.
Most major roads were cleared but meteorologists have warned drivers to
continue exercising caution as additional snow (up to 30 centimetres) is
expected over the weekend. Snowdrifts and also freezing rain have also been
hitting parts of the country, including the region of Hradec Králové.
Poor road conditions claimed three lives in separate incidents on Friday and Saturday: two motorists were killed on Friday night, while a 25-year old driver died on Saturday morning after her car collided with a bus near Karviná. Police believe that the driver lost control of her vehicle after hitting an icy patch. Friday alone saw some 300 traffic accidents.
A park at the Kačina chateau, near Kutná Hora, some 90 kilometres from Prague, will be restored to its original 19th century splendour, organisers have said; the renovation project will cost 60 million crowns. Renovation will take place over several stages and is expected to take three years to completion. Some 20 million crowns will come from European funds, the head of the castle museum, confirmed. The English-style park was founded in 1789 by Jan Rudolf Chotek.
The news website Tn.cz has reported that part of a roof covering an industrial complex in Chrást near Chrudim, collapsed on Saturday under the weight of new snow. No one was hurt in the incident, as the hall was empty at the time. Fire fighters turned off electrical power and secured the site; an investigation into the collapse will be conducted. Four years ago, the Czech Republic saw a similar incident when a supermarket roof caved in under the weight of snow, leaving one person slightly injured.
The Czech energy giant ČEZ is planning to build the country’s largest solar power generator, to be completed in a year’s time, the Czech daily Lidové noviny has reported. According to the daily, the firm commissioned the project from several companies. The plant’s planned 30 megawatt output will make it three times more powerful than the strongest current Czech facility. The plant is to be built at a site near České Budějovice.
Czech tennis player Radek Štepánek will the US top seed Andy Roddick in the Brisbane International men’s singles final on Sunday, after downing French opponent Gael Monfils by a score of 6:2, 6:1. Štepánek will be defending his title win from last year. For a while it appeared the tournament might see an all-Czech final, before Roddick defeated Štepánek’s colleague Tomas Berdych in three sets. The score in that match was 6:1, 3:6, 4:6. The Brisbane International is the last run-up to the season’s first Grand Slam tournament, the Australian Open.
A rise in car exports has helped stop a 12-month decline in Czech exports and to improve the country’s trade surplus in November, the AFP news agency has reported, citing figures released this week. The overall trade surplus amounted to 14.5 billion crowns (the equivalent of 552 million euros) the Czech Statistical Office reported, against a 42-milion euro gap in November in 2008. Exports were flat compared with the level in 2008 – the best result since the global downturn began one year ago, while imports dropped by 8.0 percent. The Czech Statistical Office pointed to the automotive industry as having had the greatest positive impact towards the improvement.
A Czech court has issued the first-ever house arrest verdict in the Czech
Republic. The ruling is in line with a new criminal code, effective as of
this year, which introduces house arrest as an alternative form of
punishment for light offenders. The 12-month house arrest sentence was
handed to a 46-year-old man for attacking and injuring another man under
the influence of alcohol. The victim had to be hospitalized. The verdict
means that the offender will be able to continue working but is not allowed
to leave his house between 8pm and 5am for a year. If he violates these
conditions he will be sent to prison for eight months.
The introduction of this alternative form of punishment is complicated but the fact that the authorities do not have functioning electronic tags at their disposal. Until they do so, probation officers will check on the offender several days a week.