Tomáš Berdych defeated Italy’s Andreas Seppi 7-6, 6-2 at the indoor Paris Masters event on Wednesday, and advanced to the tournament’s third round. The fifth-seeded Berdych had to overcome some difficulties in the first set but scored five aces in the second to wrap up the match in one hour and 40 minutes. In the next round, the 27-year-old Czech, ranked sixth in the world, will play the winner of the match between France’s Richard Gasquet and Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromír Drábek, of the TOP 09 party, officially quit the government when President Klaus on Wednesday accepted his resignation. Mr Drábek announced his resignation earlier this month in the wake of scandal surrounding his deputy whom the police charged with corruption. The TOP 09 party has proposed former senator Ludmila Müllerová for the post of labour and social affairs minister, a choice yet to be confirmed by the prime minister.
The Japanese company Panasonic announced on Wednesday it will close its plant in Žatec, in northern Bohemia, and lay off some 590 workers. The firm, which launched the production of LCD panels in the plant in 2007, quoted strategic considerations as the reason. The decision to close the plant in Žatec will reportedly not affect another Panasonic operation in Plzeň.
The government has approved the nomination of Justice Jan Bureš for chairman of the Prague High Court, minister Schwarzenberg said on Wednesday. Mr Bureš, who served twice as justice minister and is now deputy chair of the court, was nominated by Justice Minister Pavel Blažek. However, the final decision rests with President Václav Klaus.
The European Commission have renewed payments to the Czech Republic for the Environment and Transportation programs, having paid out 43 billion crowns to the Finance Ministry for past projects this week. The commission suspended payments for the Environment program in June and for the Transportation program in August 2011. Financing for a number of other programs was also suspended, because of the Commission’s misgivings about the way the Czech ministries administered the funds. Although financing for some programs was renewed in the summer, funds for these particular programs were paid out only now.
The police have begun an investigation into Karel Randák, the former head of Czech counter-intelligence and a member of the board of trustees of the Anticorruption Endowment, on charges that he leaked privileged information. Randák along with one other person from the Office of the Government are being accused of leaking information related to the salary bonus of Jana Nagyová, the managing director of Prime Minister Petr Nečas’s cabinet. The information that Ms Nagyová received approximately 190 thousand crowns in March, with a basic salary of 30 thousand crowns a month, became public earlier this year. Mr Randák said that this investigation has been initiated as a threat to his bid in this winter’s presidential election.
A 65-year-old Czech man who went missing in the Austrian Alps over the weekend does not have very good odds of surviving, according to an Austrian internet news server. The man’s son alerted the authorities on Saturday after he did not receive a phone call from his father who was hiking in the mountains. Adverse weather conditions with temperatures dipping as low as -10 degrees Celsius in the area will make it difficult for the hiker to survive. A 50-member search and rescue team was prevented from continuing their search on Tuesday because of bad weather.
The police in the south-western Domažlice region uncovered at least 20 liters of methanol-laced alcohol. All of the alcohol most likely came from a single local supplier who bought canisters of illegally produced liquor in east Moravia in the spring and summer. The police were first alerted when one of the samples that was brought by the public last week to the University of West Bohemia in Plzeň tested for high levels of methanol. The trail of illegally sold alcohol led them to Domažlice, where the police discovered laced rum, vodka and other hard liquor. So far, no one in the Domažlice region was arrested in connection to the methanol scandal. In the whole country, 30 people have died since September, as a result of methanol poisoning.
Police in the Dominican Republic, in cooperation with Czech investigators, arrested seven Czech fugitive criminals, suspected of money laundering and fraud. The seven arrived in the Czech Republic on Sunday. Four of the fugitives have already been sentenced in absentia, and were thus immediately taken to Czech prisons. Although the Dominican and the Czech Republics do not have a formal extradition agreement, Dominican officials were willing to arrest and deport the Czechs because some of them had committed felonies in the country. The Czech police were planning to assist in arresting at least ten more Czech citizens in the Dominican Republic who are suspected of sexual and violent crimes, including murder. So far, their efforts have been thwarted by the adverse weather conditions due to hurricane Sandy.
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