- A regional court judge who presided over high-profile criminal cases in the Czech Republic was found murdered in his home on Monday.
- The prime minister attended an official ceremony in Lety, southern Bohemia, commemorating Romany victims of the Holocaust.
- Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has met with the justice minister to discuss a new bill on state prosecutors.
- Prague’s Evropská street remains closed to traffic – with the exception of local trams.
- The Czech and Slovak museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will reopen four years after it was damaged by floods.
Judge, who presided over Vítkov arson case, found murdered
Police are investigating the brutal murder of Ostrava regional court judge Miloslav Studnička, who was killed on Monday at his family home in the Novojičín area. The murder is thought to have taken place at around 11 am; the judge’s throat had been cut, idnes and Czech TV reported. Judge Studnička presided over a number of high-profile criminal cases in the Czech Republic including that of arsonists who left a toddler in Vítkov with severe lifelong disabilities in a racially-motivated attack. The defendants were found guilty and received stiff prison sentences. The 64-year-old judge had inherited his home in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm, idnes writes.
Prime minister commemorates Romany victims of Holocaust
The prime minister and other officials attended an official ceremony on Monday at the site of the former concentration camp in Lety, in southern Bohemia, commemorating Romany victims of the Holocaust. In his speech, the prime minister recalled that many interned at the site had died of hunger and disease and stressed that racial prejudice could “never again be allowed to rule peoples’ lives”. At the same time, he admitted that the government did not have the necessary funds to remove a highly controversial pig farm in the vicinity, built after the war. Previous Czech governments were likewise unable ever to meet the high relocation costs demanded by the farm’s owners.
The Lety concentration camp was opened in 1940 during the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, and by 1943 1,308 Roma were interned there: 327 died at the site, while more than 500 were sent on to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland.
Zeman insists on Bradáčová to head Prague’s high state attorney’s office
The Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman has met with the Justice Minister Pavel Blažek to discuss a new bill overseeing state prosecutors, agreeing to work out individual details. The minister has made clear a good deal of debate and discussion will be required before the final wording is set; an emphasis is reportedly being put on added accountability on the part of prosecutors as well as the protection of their constitutional rights and freedoms. During their meeting, the supreme state attorney told the newly-named minister he was insisting on his earlier recommendation of respected state prosecutor Lenka Bradáčová to head Prague’s high state attorney’s office. Her naming by former minister Jiří Pospíšil was reportedly imminent but Mr Pospíšil was suddenly and unexpectedly recalled from his post by the prime minister, apparently over managerial failures.
Former PM Fischer begins drive for 50,000 signatures
Former prime minister and presidential hopeful Jan Fischer has said the moment he is officially registered as a candidate in the upcoming Czech presidential election, he will give up his post as vice-president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Redevelopment. The likely presidential candidate, who has continued to top public opinion polls, confirmed that he will return to Prague from London, where the bank is based, on August 1. He will then begin unpaid leave until the moment he registers, ČTK reported. Mr Fischer told the press his return home was vital to be able to communicate directly with members of the public. On Monday, Mr Fischer launched his drive for the 50,000 signatures needed to officially register as a candidate; a potential rival and another former prime minister Miloš Zeman (polling third behind Fischer and Czech-American economist Jan Švejnar) has already secured 50,000 names.
Pospíšil will head candidates’ list in Plzeň
The leadership of the coalition Civic Democrats has officially backed former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil as candidates’ list leader for the region of Plzeň in regional elections to take place in the autumn. Mr Pospíšil – who only recently was recalled from his post in the government – is looking to try and win the regional governorship. On Sunday, he received support from 73 out of 76 Plzeň regional Civic Democrat members.
Prague’s Evropská street remains closed to motorists
Prague’s Evropská street remains closed to traffic, with the exception of local trams, after a sinkhole five metres deep collapsed a section of the road on Sunday. Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda told Czech Radio on Monday the incident was in all likelihood not related to construction of a new metro tunnel 12 metres below the surface. Construction there is being conducted by Metrostav which in the past was linked to a number of similar incidents in the city. Prague's Evropská street connects the centre of Prague with Ruzyně international airport and is one of the city’s most heavily-used routes. Buses and cars should be allowed back by the end of the week.
Hunt for kidnapper of three-week-old baby continues
A search, now in its fifth day, for a baby kidnapped in the region of Ústí nad Labem has so far yielded no results; a police official confirmed as much for the Czech news agency on Monday. An unidentified male took the three-week old baby from her baby carriage in Trmice last Wednesday. There were several media reports at the weekend from abroad about the possible whereabouts of the suspect and child: camera systems in Germany are said to have caught the vehicle on tape, while the Polish media reported that someone had spotted the car headed in the direction of the Belarusian border. The Czech news website idnes has written that the family has promised a reward to the kidnapper for the safe return of their baby.
Vehicle registration system suffers technical glitch
Problems plagued the country’s vehicle registration system on Monday which has been transferred from the Interior to the Transport Ministry. On Monday morning it proved impossible in areas to electronically register or deregister vehicles, the ministry confirmed, saying the problem was related to a technical glitch. The system reportedly collapsed after just one hour, leading to long lines at some registration offices. For example, a queue of some forty clients was reported in Ostrava, in the east of the country. It is unclear when the system will be fully up and running again.
Ostrava man charged for dog attacks
Police in Ostrava have charged a 28-year-old man suspected of repeated attacks against canines in the city’s south district with disorderly conduct. According to police, the man was involved in at least five incidents in which the animals were kicked. In one case, he even attacked the dog’s owner, a 57-year-old woman who was struck in the head but suffered no injuries. The incidents took place between March and July of this year.
Czech museum in Iowa to reopen
The Czech and Slovak National Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa will reopen on July 14, four years after it was damaged by floods. The museum was relocated to a different site and expanded to include new galleries and a theatre. The Czech ambassador to the United States, Petr Gandalovič, plans to attend the opening, the local news website The Gazette reported. Around 25 million dollars were raised for the renovation of the museum, which opened in 1974 to showcase the traditions of Czech and Slovak immigrants to the region. The Czech Republic contributed more than 400,000 dollars to the project.
Industrial production down
Czech industrial production has declined for the first time since the autumn of 2009: in May it suffered a drop of 2.4 percent compared to the previous year. According to available statistics, construction is among the sectors most heavily hit: the field suffered a 3.5 percent decrease in May. New apartments being constructed are one-fifth fewer, Czech Radio’s Regina said.
Cloudy to partly clear skies are expected with daytime highs of up to 27 degrees Celsius.