The Czech police’s internal affairs agency is carrying out an intensive investigation of the deaths of a police officer, 27, and his mother, 46, in the garage of their home in the village of Žerůtky in South Moravia on Saturday afternoon. Local people have told reporters that the policeman collected old munitions and that a grenade may have been the cause of the fatal explosion that killed the two. The police are refusing to release details and have neither confirmed nor denied this theory.
A former Czech minister of foreign affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg, took part in a demonstration in support of Ukraine’s pro-Western opposition on Kiev’s Independence Square on Saturday. Mr. Schwarzenberg, who currently chairs the Czech lower house’s foreign affairs committee, was quoted by a local news website as saying the demonstrators were showing the entire world their desire to forge closer ties with the European Union. Protests began in Ukraine after the government of President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of a trade deal with the EU last month, apparently under pressure from Russia. On Sunday the Czech EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fuele said the bloc was suspending talks with Kiev on the agreement.
President Miloš Zeman says Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok, Finance Minister Jan Fischer and Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek have learned that it doesn’t pay to whisper in the Chamber of Deputies, after a conversation among the three was picked up on microphones. Mr. Rusnok was left particularly embarrassed after using vulgar language in making clear he did not wish to attend a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. Mr. Zeman said in a radio interview on Sunday that he would have gone to South Africa to honour the country’s late president if he were not suffering from an injury to his leg.
The leadership of the smallest party in the nascent government, the Christian Democrats, have approved the coalition deal with the Social Democrats and ANO. However, disquiet remains in the party over the number and type of ministries it will receive. The Social Democrats have offered Christian Democrats two seats, which the latter’s leaders say is too few. Chairman Pavel Bělobrádek, who has just returned from an overseas trip, said on Sunday that the party would insist on being given control of the ministry of agriculture.
The Czech swimmer Simona Baumrtová has taken four medals at the European Short Course Championships in Herning, Denmark. Baumrtová’s latest success was silver in the women’s 200m backstroke, which she achieved on Sunday in a new Czech record of 2:03:06. The 22-year-old had already taken gold in the 50m backstroke, silver in the 100m and bronze with the Czech team in the mixed medley relay.
Martin Červíček says he never promised Interior Minister Martin Pecina that he would stand down as police president if his predecessor Petr Lessy was reinstated, a situation that came about at the start of this month when a case against Mr. Lessy was thrown out by a court. Mr. Pecina insists Mr. Červíček made such a pledge. The latter said on a TV debate show on Sunday that if he was forced to resign he would resume his former position of deputy police president. Meanwhile, President Miloš Zeman said in a radio interview that a selection process should be held to decide which of the two men stays in the post, adding that he regarded Mr. Červíček as the legitimate police chief.
The Central Executive Committee of the largest party in the emerging new Czech government, the Social Democrats, has, as expected, approved a coalition agreement reached with ANO and the Christian Democrats. The party’s chairman, Bohuslav Sobotka, said no serious objections to the coalition deal had been raised at Saturday’s meeting at Prague’s Congress Centre. Mr. Sobotka said the new government – which has pledged not to raise taxes – would make savings in the running of the state but not at the expense of individuals. The country is on the edge of recession, he said, and required a government that would waste no time in supporting growth.
Czech tax authorities have asked some 4,000 truck owners in the country to pay the taxes they owe on their vehicles, amounting in total to around 50 million crowns, a spokeswoman for the authority said. The authorities found that most truck owners failed to pay the road tax despite the fact that vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes are subject to taxation regardless of whether they are used for business. The Czech Republic each year collects around six billion crowns in road tax, which represents about 1 percent of total tax revenues, according to the daily Hospodářské noviny.
Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř has been denied bail by a South African court after his attorneys on Friday failed to convince the court Mr Krečíř would not flee the country. Radovan Krejčíř and three of his local associates are being held in police custody on charges of kidnapping and attempted murder. Mr Krejčíř is wanted in the Czech Republic where he was sentenced to 11 years in jail for fraud. He fled the country and eventually settled in South Africa in 2007.
Czech basketball player Luboš Bartoň is leaving the top domestic devision club Děčín to play for Valencia in the Spanish Liga Endesa. The 33-year-old forward came to Děčín at the start of the season from the German club Phantoms Braunschweig; he played 16 games in the Czech league, averaging over 12 points per game. He returns to Spain where he played for various clubs between 2005 and 2012.
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