The news website reports that police had to intervene at Prague’s Letná plain on late Friday after two people were reported missing in historic passageways below the plateau where a giant statue of Joseph Stalin once stood. Today, the area is the site of large sculpture overlooking Prague known as the Metronom. The passages below are supposed to be locked and off-limits. The couple’s disappearance was called in by a friend, concerned for their safety after they failed to return. A large number of police were sent into the “labyrinth” the website said. Police found the couple unhurt shortly before two in the morning.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has said that dealings in 2007 between
controversial lobbyist Roman Janoušek and then-mayor Pavel Bém appear
unethical, citing wiretap recordings by the counter-intelligence service
BIS, that were recently leaked. Mr Nečas made the statement in an
interview for the Czech daily Lidové noviny; he stopped short of calling
the dealings unlawful, saying that was up to the proper authorities to
In the scandal that unraveled this week, former Prague mayor Pavel Bém, once considered the Civic Democrats’ “crown prince”, was revealed discussing who should be appointed to head a state-owned insurance company with lobbyist Roman Janoušek - revealing the extent of the latter's influence. In his interview for Lidové noviny, Prime Minister Nečas stressed that any influence lobbyist Janoušek had had, had long been nullified and that Pavel Bém himself, a former deputy chairman in the Civic Democrats, had lost all previous functions since 2010.
Mr Janoušek made headlines this week not only because of the leak but also for drunk driving and abandoning the scene of an accident on Friday – a crash in which a 51-year-old woman was seriously injured.
Two Czech goalies took to the ice on Friday in a match between the Winnipeg Jets and Washington capitals: Ondřej Pavelec and Michal Neuwirth. Both allowed three goals apiece in regulation time, and the game was decided on penalties, in which Pavelec proved the better. The final score was 4:3. The Jets outshot Washington 42:23 and came back from a 3:0 deficit to earn the win. The Capitals are clinging to eighth spot in the Eastern Conference to try and make the Stanley Cup playoffs. With 74 regular season games played, the Jets are 10th – four points behind.
A 59-year-old cyclist was killed in a road accident in the area of Havlíčkův Brod early on Saturday morning. The man was part of a group of three who were hit by a car, apparently when the motorist tried to pass. The two others on bike were unhurt but suffered shock. The 33-year-old motorist himself was seriously injured and was taken to hospital.
A 51-year-old woman who was seriously injured on Friday after being hit by a vehicle driven by lobbyist Roman Janoušek, is in stable condition a spokeswoman for Prague’s Motol Hospital confirmed. The woman, who suffered multiple injuries, remains in intensive care. Controversial Prague lobbyist Roman Janoušek, who police determined was driving under the influence of alcohol, first crashed into the woman’s car, then hit her with his vehicle as he escaped the scene, leaving her lying in the road. Later in the day, police detained the suspect but released him after three hours. According to sources, the police attempted to charge him on Saturday but did not find him at home. The suspect will reportedly be charged with drunk driving, failing to provide first aid and causing bodily harm - charges that, if proven, could land him between five and 10 years in prison.
Gambrinus liga leaders Sparta Prague came close to defeat on Saturday in their derby against cross-town rivals Slavia. Slavia led 1:0 with 16 minutes remaining, when Přikryl evened the score. He has now scored four goals in as many games. The draw leaves Sparta only a point ahead of second-place Liberec, who won 3:0 against Bohemians. Liberec and Sparta play each other in two week’s time.
David Hons, better-known as the Czech artist Roman Týc, was released from Pankrác prison in Prague on Saturday afternoon. He was greeted by several friends, and joined one of them on a motorcycle as he departed. He spoke briefly to the media. The artist spent 30 days in jail after refusing to pay a 60,000 crown fine for defacing public property: in a 2007 art project he changed 48 traffic lights in Prague by amending the standard red and green figures to show them in situations such as drinking, urinating and being hanged.
In related news, transport unions are prepared to go on strike in protest of the government’s austerity measures and reforms. They announced that the strike would be more massive than last year’s transport strike in June. The head of the railway workers’ union Jaroslav Pejša said that the transport standstill would last for two hours and be much more noticeable than last year, when only some trams and metros ceased operating during the strike.
In related news, Roman Janoušek got into a car accident in Prague briefly before noon on Friday. After crashing into a car in Prague’s Michle neighborhood, Mr. Janoušek also ran over the 51-year-old driver of the vehicle he collided with, leaving her lying seriously injured on the road. Police caught up with him shortly after. According to media reports, the lobbyist had a blood alcohol level of 2.2 promille at the time of the accident. The woman is currently being treated in the intensive care unit of Prague's Motol hospital. Police have charged the lobbyist with several acts of crime and are investigating the case.
Education Minister Josef Dobeš tendered his resignation to Prime Minister
Petr Nečas on Friday. He said he had already informed President Václav
Klaus of his decision and would be leaving his post at the end of the
month. Mr. Dobeš, a minister for the junior Public Affairs party, cited
budget cuts as the main reason behind his decision but there has been
speculation that he was leaving office to save face rather than being
dismissed for incompetence by the prime minister.
Mr Dobeš is one of the most contentious members of the government, having been criticized for mismanagement of EU funds, a botched university reform and most recently his decision to extend the accreditation of the Plzeň faculty of law, a decision he was technically not entitled to make. He is the eighth minister to leave the current government.
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