- The prime minister has called on Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil to calm the situation at the High State Prosecutor’s office.
- An intense police search is underway for two unidentified assailants who tried to firebomb a boarding-house in Aš, West Bohemia.
- The opposition Social Democrats have slammed additional reform plans to be discussed by government ministers on Monday.
- A Czech news website has reported that a planned parking complex - which was to have complemented the extension of Prague’s “A” metro line in 2014 – will not be built.
- In the NHL, Detroit forward Jiří Hudler scored twice and earned one assist in a losing effort against the Colorado Avalanche.
PM calls on justice minister to calm situation at prosecutor’s office
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has called the continuing dispute between reinstated Chief Prague Prosecutor Vlastimil Rampula and aides and other officials at the High State Prosecutor’s Office in Prague “critical”, saying that he expected the justice minister to calm the situation. He made the comment in response to growing discord between sides at the prosecutor’s office, which flared up after the Municipal Court reversed Mr Rampula’s dismissal last year. He was fired in July by Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil on the suspicion that he had been holding up key corruption investigations, but has now returned to his post. Mr Pospíšil suggested this week that if Mr Rampula was not recalled again, this time by the Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman, he would no longer stay on in government.
Police search for two behind Aš firebomb attack
An intense police search is underway for two unidentified assailants who tried to firebomb a boarding-house in Aš, West Bohemia in the early hours of Sunday. According to a police spokesman two men, roughly 180 centimetres in height, threw several Molotov cocktails at the building, luckily only damaging the façade and a window; no one inside the building was hurt. Because some of the boarding-house inhabitants are ethnic Roma, police are investigating the attack as possibly being racially-motivated. Aš will see police reinforcements from Cheb help monitor the situation in the coming days.
According to the Czech news agency, the Czech Republic has seen eleven firebomb attacks against Roma or Roma families since 2002; ten of those have taken place since 2007. The most infamous such deed, in 2009, left a little girl severely injured and with lifelong trauma. Four men were found guilty of the racially-motivated attack and sentenced to terms of 20 and 22 years in prison. Not all the attacks noted by ČTK were racially-motivated,: some were a settling of scores. Most of the attacks, luckily, also did not lead to personal injury.
Sobotka slams planned VAT hike
The opposition Social Democrats have slammed additional reform plans to be discussed by some government ministers on Monday, coming out against the finance minister’s plan to raise the VAT to 20 percent and other measures. According to Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka the raised VAT would slow the economy and negatively impact tax revenues; in his view, the country’s centre-right government needed to raise taxes on firm and reintroduce a progressive income tax rate instead. In the opposition party’s view, lower-income families will be the hardest hit if the plans go ahead.
News site: parking will be a problem when new metro stations open
The Czech news website idnes has reported a planned parking complex which was to have gone hand-in-hand with the extension of Prague’s “A” (or Green) metro line will not be built. The planned multi-level parking site would have cost the city roughly 1.3 billion crowns, funds Prague lacks, the Deputy Mayor for Transport Josef Nosek confirmed. The planned site was to have accommodated 600 cars – mostly for motorists from Kladno and surrounding areas just outside of the capital. Instead, existing parking space will have to suffice.
The news site reports that that could lead to difficulties, with motorists being left little choice but to “flood” local residential areas; to complicate matters, the site notes, the district of Prague 6 is currently planning on introducing so-called blue zones, requiring annual parking permits, in Dejvice and Bubeneč. Four new metro stations are being added to the “A” line: Červený Vrch, Veleslavín, Petřiny and Motol. The new stations are to open in 2014.
Flood danger drops
Water levels on numerous rivers and streams throughout the country dropped on Saturday night lessening flood threats. A number of mid-level alerts, nevertheless, remain in effect in places. For example, water on the Svratka, in the Brno area, rose by 3.5 metres due to collected ice floes. Those are to be removed using explosives. The situation in the region of Liberec, north of Prague, improved with some streams that had broken their banks returning to regular levels.
Missing taxi driver found in trunk of car
Police in Jablonec nad Nisou are investigating the death of a taxi driver on Saturday; the deceased was found in the trunk of his vehicle on Sunday morning. His dispatcher lost contact with the driver around 12 am the previous night. An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.
NHL action: Hudler scores twice, earns assist
In the NHL, Czech forward Jiří Hudler helped the Detroit Red Wings mount a comeback against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, scoring twice in the third period and earning one assist to bring the Wings within one. Colorado, however, were able to hold on and take the match 4:3. Hudler was named the game’s third star.
In other action, Czech goalie Michal Neuwirth won his second-straight game, stopping 28 shots by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Washington won 4:2 at Toronto.
The beginning of the week should see partly cloudy skies with periods of sunshine. Daytime temperatures are expected to range between -2 and 4 degrees Celsius.