The police have apprehended two men who broke into a Prague jewellery store after hours on April 9 and stole more than a million crowns worth of gold, silver jewellery and precious gems. The spokesman for the city police force, Tomáš Hulan, confirmed on the internet that both had past criminal records and had served time in prison, which is where the two met. The suspects allegedly threw some of their loot in the Vltava River; a police diving team may be dispatched to search for it; if found guilty, each suspect could face up to eight years in prison.
A strong explosion rocked a building and surroundings in Divadelní Street in Prague’s Old Town near the Smetana embankment on Monday morning, blowing out windows and sending debris into the streets. Response teams including fire fighters, ambulance crews and police arrived at the scene within minutes. The explosion, thought to have been caused by a gas leak, injured 43 people, at least one of them seriously. A good number were treated in hospital. Many of the injuries were cuts from broken glass. Initially there were fears that individuals could be buried under rubble at the site: but a search found no one, nor is anyone unaccounted for, the city's police chief confirmed. Both the Motol and Vojenská hospitals during the morning set aside scheduled operations to provide additional emergency assistance, if needed.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has said in an interview for the Czech news website idnes that Livia Klausová (former First Lady of the Czech Republic) would be warmly welcomed in his country if she were named the next Czech ambassador to Bratislava. He added his view that whoever had put forward her name showed a “great understanding for Czech-Slovak ties”. Livia Klausová, herself Slovak by birth and the wife of former president Václav Klaus, was backed for the post weeks ago by her husband’s successor, Miloš Zeman. But the country’s Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg came out resolutely against, saying she lacked the necessary experience. The disagreement between Mr Schwarzenberg and the president has since escalated in the media and remains unresolved. A number of pundits have suggested the row has hurt the country internationally.
A two-kilometre stretch of the Prague embankment – from the Smetana
embankment to Palach Square – as well as Narodní třída and smaller
streets in the surrounding area, have been closed to traffic. There were
several reports over the course of Monday morning that gas could be
detected in the air, and several sources said there was a danger of an
explosion taking place, leading to an evacuation of locals and bystanders.
In the afternoon, traffic on the Smetana embankment was allowed to resume but only briefly after more gas was registered by a monitoring vehicle. City Hall has set up a crisis hotline – 800 100 991 – for those needing assistance and is ready to set up a shelter, if necessary. The building in question was not residential, however, housing mostly offices.
Residents of No. 8 in Přednadraží Street, a devastated building in Ostrava, in the east of the country, signed new leases on Monday with building owner Oldřich Roztočil. The owner told journalists that 11 out of 14 apartments were taken, insisting all except one were fully habitable. Rent, plus utilities, reportedly comes to 6,500 crowns a month. Renters however will no longer be able to count on subsidies as the site is no longer registered as a tenement building. The city is insisting that a recent court decision waiving a fine for the tenement’s owner’s company had nothing to with – and in no way invalidated – existing eviction notices.
Storms and heavy rain that hit the Czech Republic on Saturday night caused minor damages in parts of the country. Fire fighters in the western Plzeň region cleared fallen tress and mud off several roads. In Central Bohemia, local flooding occurred in the community of Bohutín. Heavy rain also hit the southern and eastern regions of the Czech Republic.
President Miloš Zeman will respect the government’s foreign policy, according to the head of the presidential office’s foreign department, Hynek Kmoníček. The president will however pick some topics which he would like to focus on such as support for Czech exports, Mr Kmoníček said. Mr Zeman’s aide for foreign policy also said negotiations were taking place between the president’s office and the Czech Foreign Ministry about the appointments of several ambassadors, an issue which caused a major row between the president and the foreign minister, Karel Scharzenberg. While Mr Kmoníček said he believed a compromise could soon be found, Mr Schwarzenberg said on Saturday there was no resolution in sight.
Czech tennis player Lukáš Rosol beat Spain’s 6-3, 6-2 in the final of an ATP tournament in Bucharest on Sunday, to claim the first title of his career. Rosol converted four of his nine break points to win the match in just over an hour. The 27-year-old player, who knocked out world number two Rafael Nadal at last year’s Wimbledon, is currently ranked 48th in the world.
The official website of the Czech Republic’s state secondary school-leaving exams has come under a hacking attack, four days before the exams are scheduled, the government agency responsible for the exams said. The attack, described as DDoS, has prevented students from accessing trial test available on the website, the agency said, adding it was impossible to say when the website would be functioning again.
Television’s TýTý awards for the most popular TV personalities were handed out in Prague on Saturday night. Investigative reporter Josef Klíma received the highest number of votes, and became the overall winner. TV Prima’s Partička was voted the most popular comedy show while Czech TV’s Vyprávěj won the award for the most popular series. Karel Gott and Lucie Vondráčková won the categories of male and female signers, while actor Lubomír Lipský, who last week celebrated his 90th birthday, was inducted into TV’s hall of fame.
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