The police have confiscated approximately 1,240 liters of unstamped bottled alcohol from a family house near the south Moravian city of Znojmo late Friday night. Police spokeswoman said on Saturday that more than 600 liters of rum, 500 liters of vodka and dozens of bottles with other hard liquor were found without proper duty stamps that would verify its source and tax compliance. The content of the bottles is now being tested for methanol. On Friday, police had also discovered barrels with 500 liters of bootleg alcohol in the town of Hustopeče near Brno. The amount of tax evasion in this case was estimated to be approximately 75 thousand crowns.
Czech tennis player Lucie Hradecká has won the quarter final against the American Lauren Davis at the WTA Bell Challenge Tournament in Quebec City. Hradecká will face France’s Kristina Mladenovic in the women’s singles semi-final on Saturday evening. The 27 year-old received the silver medal in this summer Olympics women’s doubles with her partner Andrea Hlaváčková, and got to the final of the US Open in the beginning of September.
Large supermarket chains around the Czech Republic have announced that they have taken all hard alcohol products off their shelves overnight, following a ban that was issued late Friday evening. Chains such as Tesco, Billa and Kaufland said they had employees working night shifts on Friday night in order to comply with the government ban. The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority has announced that liquor stronger than 20 percent does not have to be taken off the shelves, but must be covered from view, and blocked in the cashier systems by all retailers. The police carried out inspections in supermarkets and shops throughout the night. Alcohol producers, restaurants and storeowners have criticized the ban, saying it will only promote illegal sales of alcohol. The ban was issued by the government indefinitely, until the case of bootleg liquor which has caused fatal methanol poisoning is resolved. So far, approximately 19 people were arrested in connection with the case, but a single source of poisoned alcohol has not been determined yet.
On Friday evening, the first day of the traditional annual wine festival in Znojmo, over 15 thousand people gather in the south-western Moravian town. The festival’s pinnacle will be on Saturday afternoon, with attendance expected to increase, when a parade with knights, historical figures such as John of Luxemburg, his wife Eliška Přemyslovna and the Greek god of wine Dionysus will pass through the center of the town. Wine festivals take place across the whole of south Moravia and other parts of the country in September and October of every year. The Znojmo festival is probably the most famous and best attended among them.
Remains of twelve ethnic Germans were put to rest on Saturday in the city of Jihlava in the Vysočina region. The remains were taken from a mass grave two years ago in the Budínka field near the town of Dobronín. The mass grave allegedly contains the remains of victims of the “revolutionary guards”, murdered in the final month of World War II. The service at the St. Jacob’s Church in Jihlava was attended by approximately 200 people and was led in German by reverend Dieter Lang. Reverend Lang, whose own family comes from the Vysočina region, called for reconciliation between Czechs and Germans in his sermon. In May and June of 1945, some Czech towns and villages saw spontaneous violent acts committed by the Czech-speaking population against ethnic German residents. Between 1945 and 1947, three million ethnic Germans and Hungarians were forced to leave Czechoslovakia by the government, based on the so-called Beneš Decrees. It is still unkown how many ethnic Germans perished as a result of the deportation and sporatic violence that took place in the wake of the Allies‘ victory.
Additional cuts in the civil service will affect all government ministries Deputy Prime Minister Karolína Peake has revealed. Speaking to journalists the head of the smallest party in government, LIDEM, said a major cut in funds might be needed at the Culture Ministry while the Ministry for Regional Development might be closed entirely. She stressed what was key was not the closing of ministries per se but a reduction in their agendas. A report compiled by the deputy prime minister will be discussed at the cabinet level; she said in advance she expected to be met with resistance from individual ministries. In June, the government assigned Mrs Peake the task of proposing cuts in areas of the civil service; under the plan, almost 12 billion crowns are to be saved in 2014 and as much as 25 billion crowns one year later. According to the deputy prime minister, the ministries together have only proposed cuts of 1.6 billion crowns.
September 14th marks 75 years since the death of Czechoslovakia’s first president Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. A strong advocate of Czechoslovak independence during World War I, Masaryk was key in the country’s founding in 1918. He was elected president on November 14, 1918 and was re-elected in the years 1920, 1927 and 1934. Masaryk died in 1937 - less than two years after leaving office, at the age of 87. On Friday, historians in the Czech media recalled his many contributions to the state not only as president but as a philosopher and humanist.
The Czech government has banned all sales of hard liquor in the Czech Republic indefinitely after the 19th person died on Friday from methyl alcohol poisoning. Affected are all establishments where hard liquor is normally sold including hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. Under the ban, effective immediately, proprietors are no longer allowed to sell liquor stronger than 20 percent. An earlier ban had prevented alcohol sales by street vendors only. Sellers failing to heed the ban could face a fine of up to three million crowns. The recent incidence of methanol poisonings in the Czech Republic has shocked the country; five new cases were registered on Thursday; the newest case is a 30-year-old in Prague who fell ill on Friday after drinking laced alcohol and is in critical condition.
Prague’s Ruzyně international airport is preparing steps ahead of its planned renaming after Václav Havel. The step will officially take place on October 5th – the day the ex-president, who died last December, would have turned 76. According to organisers, a special ceremony marking the occasion will be attended by diplomats serving in the Czech republic as well as key political and cultural figures. The new name of the airport will be visible not only from the front of the building, ČTK reported, but also from the airfield itself. An exhibition of photographs honouring the Czech Republic’s first president will also open on the same day in Terminal 2.
Hockey legend Jaromír Jágr and Kladno will play several league matches at a Prague’s O2 arena this season, reports news website idnes. The reason is to allow a far greater number of fans view the club’s league matches, including one of the sport’s biggest stars. According to the daily, other Czech players like Tomáš Plekanec, Marek Židlický and Tomáš Kabrle could also play in the Czech league given developments in the NHL where a lockout appears increasingly likely as time for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement runs out.
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
Divided by Freedom – Large-scale Czech Radio survey finds six social classes in Czech society
Josef Becher – the man behind Czech Republic’s iconic liqueur