Staropramen’s new general manager is Zbyněk Kovář, it was announced on Thursday. Mr Kovář takes over from Tunč Cerrahoglu as the head of the second-biggest beer producer on the Czech market. The Staropramen brewery belongs to the Belgian company InBev. In 2007, the brewery generated profits of 578.4 million crowns (37.7 million USD).
The Czech police will hand over suspected pedophile Patrick Burnell to their British counterparts on Tuesday, it was announced on Thursday. The handover will take place at Prague’s Ruzyně airport, a police spokesperson said. Earlier this week, a Czech court decided that Mr Burnell should be extradited for criminal prosecution in Britain, where he is charged with sexually abusing 16 children. Mr Burnell is believed to have contacted his victims, mainly girls aged 12 and 13, via the internet, promising them a car ride during which he allegedly committed the crimes. He was arrested two weeks ago in cooperation with Interpol on the basis of a European arrest warrant.
The service on Prague metro’s B-line was interrupted on Thursday when a man fell onto the tracks at the station Naměstí republiky. The man survived the accident but suffered serious injuries. Services were disrupted for over an hour between the stations Florenc and Smíchovské nádraží. Trains resumed around 12:30 CET, according to a spokesperson for Prague Public Transit Company.
Czech household debt grew by just over 15 billion crowns (978 million USD) to 799 billion crowns (52 billion USD) in June, the Czech National Bank said on Thursday. According to the Finance Ministry, however, the Czech Republic continues to rank amongst the EU states with the lowest ratio of household debt to GDP.
A United Nations report has suggested that the Czech Republic is amongst the countries best placed to provide its peacekeepers in Sudan with new aircraft. The UN is urging India, Ukraine and the Czech Republic in particular to donate helicopters to its peacekeeping efforts in Darfur. The report says that while up to 300,000 people have died in the region during five years of war, no military transport or tactical helicopter has been deployed to patrol an area the size of France. The report suggests that countries such as the Czech Republic have helicopters ‘gathering dust in hangars’ which they could contribute to the UN’s efforts.
Repair work on the Villa Tugendhat will begin next year, not this year as originally planned, an official in Brno told the newspaper Lidové noviny. The 1920s villa is regarded as one of the most important examples of modern architecture in the Czech Republic. The Villa Tugendhat has belonged to the city of Brno since 1994 and authorities there have been planning a comprehensive renovation for several years.
Former prime minister Miloš Zeman may be about to come out of retirement and re-enter politics, following the official registration of The Friends of Miloš Zeman Civic Association with the Interior Ministry last week. The organisation’s spokesman Miroslav Grégr – who served as industry minister in a Social Democrat government headed by Mr Zeman – told the newspaper Právo on Wednesday that it would formulate a manifesto at a meeting in Prague next week. Mr Grégr said the group, which may attract up to 500 members, now needed to create a functioning organizational network. The Friends of Miloš Zeman are due to hold their first public events after the summer holidays. Mr Zeman was prime minister for four years at the turn of the decade and failed in a bid to become president in 2003. He quit the Social Democrats last year due to differences with current leader Jiří Paroubek.
Fifty-six Czechs have died abroad so far during this year’s summer holidays, the Czech Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Thirteen have died in Croatia, the most popular foreign destination for Czech tourists. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said deaths were the most common subject dealt with by Czech diplomatic staff in other countries. Every year the ministry warns tourists not to overdo it at the sea, in the mountains and on the roads.
Forty new fire engines purchased for Czech fire brigades last year are not up to scratch, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. Fire officers told the newspaper the engines have a number of technical shortcomings, including relatively complicated handling of hoses and breathing apparatus. However, a representative of the Czech company which produced the fire engines said the only problem had been with their electrical systems, which had been repaired.
Meanwhile, a married couple have been awarded compensation for the publication of a photo of the remains of their son in a tabloid newspaper. A Prague court ordered the daily Šíp to pay the pair CZK 100,000 (around USD 6,500) after it published a front page picture of the burned remains of their son in a car wreck after a collision. A lawyer for Šíp had argued that printing the photo was in the public interest, as it could help prevent road accidents. After the verdict was announced, the young man’s mother said she hoped other parents would never have to see such a photograph of their child.
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“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery