In related news, a driver was killed and his fellow passenger was
seriously injured on Saturday on the road from Litvínov to Most. The
driver apparently lost control of his vehicle on an icy patch and crashed
into an electrical column for trolleybuses. He died at the scene.
In another accident, the father in a family of four was killed shortly 8 am after their car hit a tree in the area of Jindřichův Hradec. His wife and children suffered injuries and were taken to hospital for care.
City councilors are weighing the possibility of renaming a Prague bridge or part of an embankment street after late President Václav Havel, Mlada fronta Dnes reports. According to the daily, part of Rašínovo nábřeži near where Mr Havel once had an apartment could be renamed in his honour. Councilor Lukáš Manhart told the paper the renaming was a possibility but provided few details. At least one other city councilor expressed support for the idea. Earlier this year Prague’s Ruzyně international airport was renamed after the late president.
Icy conditions which intensified in areas around the country this week complicated the situation for countless motorists and pedestrians in the early hours of Saturday. According to the Czech news agency, ČTK, emergency services had registered 80 falls on icy Prague sidewalks alone by 1 pm on Saturday. Traffic accidents also increased, with some reporting that the municipal police were having trouble processing cases quickly due to the high number. Although temperatures have risen somewhat, motorists have been asked to exercise extreme caution due to the difficult conditions.
Petr Hájek, the controversial vice chancellor to current president Václav Klaus, has issued harsh criticism of the late Václav Havel, the playwright and former dissident and president, who died a year ago on December 18. In a TV interview, Mr Hájek indirectly compared the late president to fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, suggesting that Mr Havel’s politics had been undemocratic and had favored a non-elected elite. In a recently-published book Mr Hájek slammed Václav Havel as having been “in the service of Satan”. The vice chancellor is no stranger to controversy: in the past he has questioned, for example, who was behind the 9/11 attacks. German daily Die Welt this week dubbed the vice chancellor “court jester” to outgoing president Václav Klaus.
New Transport Minister Zbyněk Stanjura has listed as a top priority for alternatives to be found to the Czech Republic’s “overused” major highway, the D1, connecting Bohemia and Moravia. His stressed as an alternative the building of a major road, the R35, as well rail “corridors”. The minister suggested that such a solution made more sense than adding lanes to the D1 and said such projects would help boost the economy. The D1 highway often comes under criticism for damaged routes and surfaces suffering heavy traffic and transport. Minister Stanjura made clear that any new projects would need to be carefully prepared to avoid unexpected jumps in costs, as was the case in the past.
Businesswoman Ivana Salačová, involved in a wider corruption case that brought down former regional Social Democrat governor David Rath, has provided key testimony in the hopes of receiving a more lenient sentence, Czech daily Lidové noviny reports. As a witness, Mrs Salačova has reportedly revealed how suspects operated to mask large bribes. In May of this year, former governor Rath was caught red-handed with seven million crowns in cash on his person. Ten others face prosecution in the case. Rath, formerly one of his party’s most prominent figures, is behind bars awaiting trial.
A fifth of Czechs drank spirits during a two-week ban on the sale of hard alcohol in September, according to a survey conducted by the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and a polling agency. Less than a third of regular drinkers of spirits refrained from consuming them during the ban, which was imposed following a wave of deaths caused by counterfeit liquors containing poisonous methanol. To date 38 people have died from drinking such bootleg spirits.
The speaker of the Czech lower house, Miroslava Němcová, has proposed what is known as a state of legislative emergency, in a bid to push through certain pieces of legislation by the end of the year. If approved by the relevant committees, the mechanism will allow one bill on judges’ salaries and another on the sKarta social welfare payment system to be passed in a single reading. It was last employed two years ago to push through a raft of cost-cutting measures.
Simona Baumrtová took bronze in the 100m backstroke at the World Swimming Championships in the Turkish capital Istanbul on Thursday, securing the Czech Republic’s first medal in the competition in nine years. The 21-year-old beat her own Czech record to come third in a time of 57:08 seconds. Last month she became the first Czech swimmer to bring home four medals from a single competition, the European Short Course Championship in France’s Chartres.
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