A 58-year-old man with methanol poisoning was admitted to hospital in the north-eastern city of Olomouc at the weekend, a spokesman for the hospital said on Monday. The man had high levels of methanol in his blood, and suffered from severe disturbances of consciousness. The police have against warned against the consumption of alcohol from unknown sources. The recent outbreak of methanol poisonings has claimed the lives of 33 people, mostly in the north east of the Czech Republic.
Students who were expelled from universities for political reasons between 1957 and 1989 are not entitled to receive compensation, the Supreme Administrative Court has ruled. The government in 2009 granted a compensation of 100,000 crowns, or some 5,000 US dollars, to university students expelled after the communist coup of 1948 until 1956. The ruling is related to a case of a man who was expelled in 1977 for religious activities; he was granted compensation by a lower court but the Supreme Administrative Court overturned the verdict, arguing that the numbers of students expelled were highest in the period immediately after 1948 while these people suffered more than those expelled later.
The Czech Interior Ministry on Monday rejected a ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court which said that over several years, the police wrongly required employees to take unpaid overtime. Under Czech law, police officers, fire fighters, customs officers and members of the prison service can be asked to do up to 150 hours in unpaid service; however, the court ruled that overtime duty could not be planned long in advance, which was at least sometimes the case. Police trade unions said the verdict applied to members of the security forces, and could in effect costs the state budget up to two billion crowns. But police and ministry officials believe the verdict is related to one specific case in which overtime duty was poorly justified.
Members of the Rally Commission of the Czech Motorsport Federation have scheduled a meeting next week to discuss safety measures and possible restrictions. The move was prompted by a tragic crash on Saturday which claimed the lives of four people (a little girl and three young women) aged seven to 20. The accident happened during an amateur event in southern Moravia called the RallyShow Uherský Brod (not part of Czech championship). One of the cars flew off the road and grazed a concrete post before barreling into the onlookers. No one in the vehicle was hurt. Police are investigating whether the driver was at fault or if there was technical failure. Along with the four killed, two others were injured and had to be taken to hospital; their injuries are not life-threatening. At the scene, police psychologists attempted to console relatives and friends of the victims. Since 2002, at least 14 onlookers have died in similar incidents in the Czech Republic. In September of this year, a fan at the Barum Czech Rally was also hit by a race car and killed.
Fire fighters in the region of Moravia-Silesia responded in roughly 35 incidents related to strong winds in the area late Saturday and early Sunday which brought down branches, trees and phone lines in places. In several cases, they also secured sheet metal loosened from roofs. Nobody was hurt from falling trees or branches; no cars, had been damaged, officials said.
Czech President Václav Klaus has outlined his stance on a number of issues ahead of a three-day visit to Austria next week, discussing nuclear energy policy, the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Czechoslovakia after WWII, and EU integration. In an interview for Kronen Zeitung, the Czech head-of-state said he could not understand sharp Austrian opposition to nuclear power, saying he believed it was a political game between politicians and activists rather than the real opinion of the public. Nuclear-free Austria has for years protested against the Czech Temelín nuclear power plant, situated 60 kilometres from the borders of Austria and Bavaria, challenging its safety. Two new blocs are to be built in Temelín in future. The third and fourth blocs are to be completed in 2025. When asked about his rejection of possible demands of Germans and Austrians forced to leave their homes in Czech border regions after WWII, Mr Klaus said the past could not be changed nor should it be turned into a political issue. The Czech president also repeated his longstanding view of the EU, saying the present model of European integration was a mistake.
Barbora Špotáková, specialist in the javelin, has been named Czech Athlete of the Year for the sixth year running, recognition for her gold medal win at the London Olympics this summer as well as her top finish in the Diamond League. The award, in its 50th year, is decided by athletics officials, trainers and sports journalists. Athletes Zuzana Hejnová and Vítězslav Veselý came in 2nd and 3rd.
A 63-year-old man who was hospitalized a month ago in Frydek-Mistek in the east of the country after drinking alcohol containing wood spirits died on Sunday. The man is the thirty-third person killed by methanol, in an outbreak of poisoning tied to bootleg liquor that was illegally released on the market in mid-September. Twenty of the deaths were in the region of Moravia-Silesia. More than 60 people face charges over the methanol affair; roughly half of them have been remanded in custody.
In related news, the two racers whose Mitsubishi Lancer flew off the road, causing the tragedy, said strong winds had contributed to the accident. Michael Bartoníček and his brother Josef, well-known lawyers by profession who have been racing ten years, ruled out technical failure. Mr Bartoníček also said in an interview for idnes that they were traveling at a speed of 150 kilometres an hour when they left the road. He said that words could not express what they felt after they learned those killed had been a little girl and three young women. He added that he and his brother would try and contact their families at a later date. The families, meanwhile, are reportedly considering legal action against the race organizers, saying the area where the accident happened was in no way marked off as dangerous.
The Czech national hockey team racked up three wins in three matches to win the Euro Hockey Tour’s Karjala Cup for the first time in the competition’s 16-year history. The Czechs won the first match against Sweden 3-1, then downed Finland 1:0, with goalie Ondrej Pavelec earning the shutout, and won their final game on Saturday against Russia. The Czechs scored two on the powerplay in the first period, Russia was able to pull within one in the second, but 2:1 it remained until the final buzzer. The Kajala Cup was the only remaining trophy the national squad had never won.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech Republic bracing for wind storm Sabine
Ron Perlman: Cinema is a much bigger art-form than superhero movies represent
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery