Czech recipients of EU subsidies have secured some 425 billion crowns which represents over 53 percent of the funds earmarked for the Czech Republic in the period between 2007 and 2013, the Czech Regional Development Ministry said on Friday. Czech authorities have approved EU funding for more than 41,000 projects worth around 666 billion crowns; if passed by the European Commission, the Czech Republic will receive some 83 percent of the earmarked funds.
On the second day of his official visit to Poland, Czech President Miloš Zeman proposed to merge the Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges. Speaking at a Polish-Czech business forum in the Polish capital, Mr Zeman said the merger would establish a strong, Warsaw-based central European exchange that would better compete with other exchanges. The head of the Prague exchange, Petr Kobliha, said negotiations had been underway for several months to connect the region’s various exchanges.
A US citizen suspected of murdering four people in Brno was arrested at Washington airport on Thursday evening shortly after arriving on a flight from Vienna. Czech police chief Leoš Tržil said the suspect had already been charged and the Czech authorities were preparing a request for his extradition. The man known on social networks as Kevin Dahlgren is believed to have killed his distant relatives – an older couple and their two sons – after spending three weeks with them in their home in Brno. The motive for the crime remains unclear. There has been speculation that the suspect may be suffering from a serious mental disorder.
Czech javelin champion Barbora Špotáková has given birth to a son. The baby boy, Špotáková’s first child, was born in Prague on Friday morning, and has been named Janek. The 31-year-old two-time Olympic winner said she was very happy and felt a mix of euphoria and responsibility. The boy will bear the surname of his father, Lukáš Novotný. Barbora Špotáková is planning to return to athletics in October to prepare for the European Championships 2014.
Prague councillors for the TOP 09 party continue to implement changes at
City Hall following Thursday’s break-up of the coalition and the
dismissal of Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda. On Friday, the council dismissed
Democrat members from the supervisory boards of Prague’s transport
authority and the Municipal House; TOP 09 also took over some
responsibilities previously held by Civic Democrat councillors, such as
completion of the multi-billion Blanka tunnel complex and a planned
acquisition of a stake in the city’s service firm.
The coalition of TOP 09 and Civic Democrats collapsed this week in what observers see as a major feud of the two right-of-centre parties for the same electorate in the capital and beyond.
Russian orthodox priest Sergei Baranov who stood up in defence of the punk band Pussy Riot has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic. The cleric told the daily Právo he received political asylum from the Czech Interior Ministry last month. Sergei Baranov said he found himself under pressure from Russian intelligence services when he protested against the trial with members of the band. In the interview, the priest expressed gratitude to the Czech authorities and said he was planning to convert to the Greek Catholic Church and establish a monastery in the Czech Republic.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas, the leader of the Civic Democratic Party, has slammed TOP 09 for triggering the power play at Prague City Hall, saying it was a regrettable move that revealed the party’s growing ambitions. Prime Minister Nečas said the ousting of the Civic Democrats from power at Prague City Hall had clearly been prepared together with the opposition Social Democrats and the Communists and noted that he could not rule out a similar scenario developing on the national-scale.
Viktoria Plzeň have pulled five points clear in the race for the Czech soccer championship with only two rounds remaining. The West Bohemian side gained the advantage when they beat Olomouc 1:0 away on Wednesday night and their closest rivals Sparta Prague lost 2:3 to Brno in the Moravian capital. Plzeň were crowned champions for the first time in their history two years ago.
Some 200 young people staged a protest happening outside Prague Castle in defense of academic freedoms on Thursday in the wake of a scandal over the president’s refusal to name a respected Catholic intellectual professor. Although the President Zeman backed down on Wednesday, signing Mr. Putna’s decree, and saying he no longer wanted the prerogative to appoint professors, there is still simmering anger over the incident among students who feel that academic freedoms have been violated and fear they may be again at any time in the future. Meanwhile, rectors are not happy with the proposal that in future professorial decrees would be signed by the education minister, saying that the president’s signature gave the decree greater weight and reflected the high esteem associated with the title.
The police are investigating the murder of four people in Brno. The suspect is a young American known on social networks as Kevin Dahlgren, who reportedly resides in Brno and had offered his services as an English teacher. His whereabouts are presently unknown. The police have warned the public that he is dangerous and very likely armed. Detectives have asked the public for help in tracing the suspect but have not released any details regarding the possible motive of the crime or the identity of the victims. According to Tyden magazine the victims were an older couple and their two sons, both musicians. The suspect was reportedly a relative who lived with them for close to three weeks.
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