A new national train timetable came into effect on Sunday. Twelve new express trains have been added to the Czech Republic’s rail network, though a number of local lines have been discontinued. Fares on Czech Railways trains have increased by 11 percent; the company’s general director said on Sunday it was unlikely there would be further fare increases before next December.
Christian Democrats chairman Jiri Cunek says he has the right to be reinstated as a member of cabinet, though he says he is willing to wait some time before returning. Speaking on a TV debate programme, Mr Cunek said he believed agreement would be reached on the matter with the other parties in the governing coalition, the Civic Democrats and the Greens. The latter have threatened to quit if he returns to the posts of deputy prime minister and minister for regional development. Jiri Cunek resigned when an investigation into whether he had accepted bribes was reopened; that investigation has now been dropped.
The Czech men’s team have won a cross country skiing World Cup relay race for the first time ever. Success for Martin Jaks, Lukas Bauer, Milan Sperl and Martin Koukal came at the Swiss resort of Davos, when Koukal managed to cross the finish line just centimetres ahead of a member of the Italian team. Prior to Sunday’s win the Czechs’ best finish had been in third place.
The Office for Personal Data Protection is opposed to the posting of a list of debtors on the internet, TV Nova reported. The head of the data protection agency said that as well as the debtors list people will also have access to bankruptcy papers, which contain a lot of personal data. The Justice Ministry is putting the list on the web at the start of next year in an effort to strengthen the hand of creditors. It will contain the names of those who have not paid their debts for three months to more than one creditor.
Eleven Vietnamese nationals have been charged with people trafficking and pimping, the news website Novinky.cz reported. The 11 were arrested on Saturday night by the police’s organised crime unit, which later conducted searches of the suspects’ homes in Prague and Domazlice. There were also raids on three brothels in the capital and one in Cheb.
Hunters shot dead a wild boar which had fallen into an empty swimming pool in the garden of a house in Svihov, west Bohemia on Saturday, the news website iDnes reported. The animal, which weighed around 50 kg, went berserk when it became trapped in the pool. Local fire officers first contacted a vet; he did not have a tranquiliser gun so they turned to the police, who did not have a net large enough to catch the boar. The local mayor then gave a member of the local hunting association permission to shoot the animal.
Trains were halted for two hours in parts of Prague on Sunday following a power failure. A short-circuit in high power lines connected to a safety system was blamed for the problem, which led to delays of two hours or more on lines leading into the capital. Normal service was resumed at around noon.
The prime ministers of the Visegrad Four countries have begun arriving in north Moravia for a meeting in Ostrava on Monday. The leaders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary are being joined by the Slovenian prime minister for the informal talks, which are set to take in Kosovo, the western Balkans, Schengen enlargement and energy security.
A chartered passenger plane flying from the Czech Republic to Kiev crashed near the airport in the Ukrainian capital on Sunday killing five people, Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry told the news agency Interfax. There were two pilots and four passengers on board; their nationality is not yet known. The ITAR-TASS news agency said the plane did not belong to a Ukrainian airline. Other sources said the aircraft went on fire after coming down near a motorway. There was thick fog over Kiev at the time of the accident.
The singer Karel Gott has won the Cesky slavik (Czech Nightingale) award for the 33rd time in his career. At a ceremony in Prague’s State Opera on Saturday the prize for female singer of the year was presented to Lucie Bila, while the group award went to Kabat. The Cesky slavik awards are decided by a public vote.
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In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’