This year’s long winter with changeable temperatures will cause record damage to roads in the Czech Republic, the country’s Transport Minister Gustáv Slamečka told Czech TV on Sunday. The ministry estimates the maintenance costs at four billion crowns, or nearly 210 million US dollars, which is twice as much as last year. Mr Slámečka said the ministry only earmarked 1.2 billion crowns for maintenance this winter, and would have to transfer funds from other categories of the ministry’s budget. However, this should not affect any plans to build new roads and motorways. Roads are most affected by changing temperatures above and below zero which is the most frequent cause of potholes.
Czechs Iveta Benešová and Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová secured the title in doubles at the Open GDF Suez in Paris on Sunday after their opponents, top-seeded Cara Black, of Zimbabwe, and Liezel Huber, of the United States, failed to show up for the game. In singles final, Czech Republic’s Lucie Šafářová lost to top seed Yelena Dementeva from Russia 7:6, 1:6 and 4:6. Paris was Šafářová’s eight tournament final in career, and the fourth she lost.
Those Czech athletes at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver who celebrate celebrate Valentine’s Day will do so over the phone or through text messages, the Czech news agency ČTK reported on Sunday. Ski jumper Roman Koudelka said he might send a text message to his girlfriend Pavlína, who stayed in the Czech Republic, or call her on skype. Cross country skier and medal hopeful Lukáš Bauer will call his wife, Kateřina, just like any other day. Mogul skier Šárka Sudová and cross country skier Aleš Razým are among the few couples within the Czech Olympic team. But they will also exchange text messages since the former is based in Vancouver, while the latter in Whistler.
Scientists from the medical school of Palacký University in Olomouc, Moravia, say they found a cure for stuttering, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. The scientists found out that the speech disorder is caused by an obstruction in the lungs which can be removed by relaxing the respiratory tract. Medical school’s Josef Pešák said this can be achieved by inhaling a drug called Formoterol. Some 60 million people around the world suffer from stuttering; experts assume their number has increased by one third over the last two decades.
Doctors in the hospital in Ivančice, south Moravia, accidentally left a 28-cm (11 in) long surgical instrument in a woman’s body for five months, the TV station Prima reported on Saturday. The woman underwent an operation in the hospital last October. She then complained about terrible pain but the hospital refused to do an additional x-ray so as not to expose her to unnecessary radiation. When they finally re-operated on her last week, they found the instrument in her abdomen. The hospital’s head doctor said he was shocked to find out but blamed the incident on the surgical department’s perioperative nurses. The patient is reportedly going to file a lawsuit and demand compensation.
Former Social Democrat prime minister Miloš Zeman was elected on Saturday
the election leader of his new party the Citizens’ Rights Party, in the
Ústí region in northern Bohemia. In the general elections, scheduled for
May 2010, he will challenge, among other politicians, the current Social
Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek.
The Citizens’ Rights Party formed last year around Miloš Zeman as a split from Social Democrats. Mr Zeman retired from politics after serving as the prime minister between 1998 and 2002. A year later, he lost his bid to presidency to Václav Klaus.
The European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg is looking into the case of Ludmila Brožová-Polednová, her attorney told the daily Právo on Saturday, saying he received a letter from the judges in Strasbourg. The 88-year-old former communist prosecutor was sentenced to six years in prison in 2009 for the judicial murder of Milada Horáková, a politician executed by the communist regime in 1950 after a show trial. Ms Brožová-Polednová, who has served one year from her sentence, claimed she couldn’t serve the sentence for lack of medical care in the prison, and filed a complaint with the Strasbourg court.
A court in Brno put two local politicians in jail on Saturday on corruption charges. Although no specific names were released, the prosecutors had confirmed that the mayor of the Brno’s Žabovřesky municipality, Civic Democrat Aleš Kvapil, as well as Roman Novotný, also a member of the Civic Democrats, were arrested on Thursday for alleged corruption. The men face charges for demanding a bribe from a construction firm which was planning to build a hotel in the neighbourhood. The mayor reportedly asked for a bribe of four million crowns, or more than 200,000 US dollars, to issue the necessary permits. The firm then reported the incident to the police. If convicted, the men are facing up to 12 years in prison.
Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová beat second seed Flavia Penetta of Italy 4:6, 6:3 and 6:4 in the semi-final of the Open GDF Suez in Paris on Saturday. In Sunday’s final, she will face the winner of the other semi-final – top seed Jelena Dementeva of Russia, or the American Melanie Oudin. The 24-year-old Czech lost the first set but managed to come with exact hits from the base line in the second. In the third set, she won a break point at 4:4 to beat the Italian.
The Czech transportation minister, Gustáv Slamečka, told the daily Právo on Saturday that the police should tolerate drivers with residual alcohol blood content of up to 0.025 percent. At the same time, Mr Slamečka said the Czech Republic should keep pursuing the zero tolerance policy to drunk driving. Some leading Czech politicians have questioned the current practice of the police which as of January give a breathalyzer test to every driver they pull over. According to statistics, only 82 more drivers were caught drunk compared to the same month previous year. In 2009, drunk drivers in the Czech Republic caused more than 5700 accidents, with 123 casualties.
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Gunman kills six patients in Ostrava hospital, two more fighting for their lives
Czech teenager builds second-largest ever Millennium Falcon LEGO model
Press: Era of 100-crown lunch special is over, as food prices rocket
Misha Glenny: Organised crime is an important part of Czech economy – and corruption is its twin sibling