A total of 12 Czechs died in road accidents on Friday, the highest number on any single day so far this year. The previous record stood at eight fatalities. In the worst accident of what has been dubbed “Black Friday,” five people were killed after two cars crashed into each other near the eastern town of Karviná. Media reports said amounts of what was suspected to be the drug pervitin had been found by police in one of the cars. A recent spate of fatal accidents has been blamed on the hot weather, alcohol, and speeding. Twenty-six people were killed during the long four-day holiday weekend which started on July 3.
An internet referendum on the coalition agreement being held by the Public Affairs party resumed on Saturday morning. Technical problems with the server on Friday led to voting being temporarily abandoned. Around 17,000 members of the party have been asked to vote on the simple question of whether they approve of the coalition deal. The party leadership expects a clear vote in favour since they say around 80 percent of the membership has so far reacted positively to the outcome of talks over various policy areas. The final results should be known on Monday.
Interpol has given up searching for the deputy chairman of the Czech and Moravian Football Association and businessman Miroslav Kříž according to Czech media reports which point out he not on the list of Czechs being sought. Czech police have refused to confirm the reports but say their search is continuing. Mr. Kříž was last seen in Prague on May 22. The latest turnaround in events has raised speculation that Mr. Kříž might be a key police witness or that police know of his whereabouts abroad but cannot take any action to get him back.
The 45th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will culminate on the evening of July 10 with the award of the main prizes. The top Grand Prix with the award of the festival Crystal Globe will be made for the best feature film. Juries will also announce the best documentary films and the East of the West award for films made in Eastern Europe. The audience’s selection of best film will also be announced. The festival in the West Bohemian spa town ran from July 2.
TOP 09 leader and incoming Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will be the first deputy prime minister in the new centre-right coalition. The news was reported by the Czech News Agency which said it had obtained a copy of an appendix to the three-way agreement. Public Affairs’ leader Radek John will be a deputy prime minister, it added. Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said the agreement should be signed on Monday following approval by the three parties. President Václav Klaus is scheduled to appoint the new government on July 13.
The Czech Republic has taken a shock 2: 0 lead in the Davis Cup quarterfinals against Chile following the opening singles. Ivo Minář beat Nicolas Massu 6:0, 6:2, 6:3. That was followed by a straight sets win by Jan Hájek against Paul Capdeville 6:0, 6:2, 6:1. The Czechs have a chance to clinch the tie in the doubles game on Saturday which pits Lukáš Dlouhý and Hájek against Jorge Aguilar and Capdeville. The Czech squad was dubbed a ‘B’ team given the absence of top singles players Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek.
Former Social Democrat prime minister and European Commissioner Vladimír Špidla is set to make a comeback in the party’s shadow cabinet, according to the news server Aktualně.cz. Citing top party sources, it said that Špidla would be given responsibility for European Union questions. Acting party boss, Bohuslav Sobotka refused to comment on the report. The Social Democrats are expected to unveil their opposition team soon after the new government has been appointed.
Iconic Czech company Tatra is looking to assemble its lorries in Russia or other parts of the former Soviet Union according to a report by the company board. The idea of setting up local assembly plants is aimed at avoiding local import duties which are hurting lorry sales by the firm based in Kopřivnice in the far east of the country. The former Soviet Union used to be the main market for Tatra trucks. Company general director Ronald Adams has also said that the company should target sales to South-East Asia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Australia and India. Tatra has recently been hit hard by the turndown in international truck sales caused by the global economic crisis.
Bans on forest fires have been widened due to the increased danger from hot and dry weather. From Saturday the ban was widened to the Pardubice region in the centre of the country. A ban came into effect in the Karlovy Vary region from Friday and already applied in the Hradec Králové region. Firemen have been increasingly called to forest fires with eight calls over the last days in the Liberec region for example. The worst case was a fire on half a hectare of forest near Česká Lípa which took firemen six hours to control.
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