The corruption trial of David Rath will continue for at least another day after the former politician failed on Tuesday to finish a concluding address that had begun the day before. Mr. Rath’s speech has so far gone on for six hours in total. The former Social Democrat regional governor and health minister was arrested in 2012 on suspicion of accepting bribes to rig contracts. Several others accused alongside him have been found guilty in a separate trial.
The number of cyclists in Prague rose by a quarter last year, according to a city transport yearbook quoted by the Czech News Agency. Around two dozen automatic counting devices in place in the Czech capital put the number of cyclists last year at 3.8 million. June was the month with the highest number of bike rides, followed by July and August. The most popular cycling route by some distance was along the right bank of the Vltava River.
The newly opened Old Timer museum in the Moravian town of Kopřivnice boasts a motorcycle that is the only one of its kind in the world, according to the institution’s owner. Only two JKB 450 motorbikes were produced in the 1930s by Czech brothers Josef and Bedřich Káňa and parts from the second have been used in the one on display. The museum also houses rare cars and other historical items.
Blues musician Stan “the Man” Wolarz, a long-term fixture on the Prague music scene, died on Monday, according to a posting on his band’s Facebook page. The guitar player was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and began playing in groups in the city in the mid-1960s. Following a move to Prague he founded the Bohemian Blues Band and supported many visiting musicians, including Bo Diddley, Mick Taylor and Edgar and Johnny Winter.
Two buildings at Prague Castle are to be restituted to the Roman Catholic Church. The Mocker Houses and the Saint George’s Convent are being transferred under a memorandum signed last week between President Miloš Zeman and the head of the Czech Catholic Church, Dominik Duka, the former’s spokesman said on Tuesday. Under the deal, the church has committed to renovating the two buildings within five years and dropping its claims to other buildings at Prague Castle. Under a 2012 law, CZK 75 billion in assets seized under the communist regime are being handed back to churches. They are also receiving CZK 60 billion in lieu of properties not being returned.
The Czech soccer captain Tomáš Rosický will miss the start of next season due to injury, the manager of his club Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, told journalists. The midfielder, who is 34, was injured in a Euro 2016 qualifier between the Czech Republic and Iceland last month and will be out for four to five more weeks. There has been speculation that his former club Sparta Prague are trying to secure a deal for Rosický, who has signed a one-year contract extension with Arsenal but is not a regular starter with the English Premier League side.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, is still in favour of the Czech Republic adopting the single European currency, the euro, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said at a news conference on Tuesday. However, that would mean that Czech tax payers would have to pay the debts of Greece. Mr. Zeman therefore favours a Greek exit from the Eurozone as the most reasonable solution to the country’s crisis, said Mr. Ovčáček. Greece has repeatedly failed to solve its problems and it is not reasonable to believe its promises, according to the Czech president.
The country’s Interior Ministry expects the arrival of between 5,000 and 7,000 illegal migrants in the Czech Republic next year, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said on Monday. As a result, the Cabinet of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has agreed the ministry should get an added financial injection of 230 million crowns this year to deal with the growing numbers. The ministry expects to hire an additional 600 - 800 state employees, including police officers, to tackle conditions. Next year, the ministry expects it will need an added billion crowns.
A 21-year-old man wanted for a recent shooting in Brno-Žebětín and a hold-up at grocery store is in custody. In the shooting, the young man opened fire at a 74-year-old motorist; a last second move apparently saved the driver’s life. The suspect fled to neighboring Slovakia where he was subsequently arrested and returned to the Czech Republic. If found guilty, the youth faces a sentence of up to 20 years behind bars.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has expressed the conviction that “one day” the Czech Army will be required to secure the country’s borders in response to the migration problem. He made the comments after the ceremonial unveiling of a new bust of the late French president Francois Mitterand. Mr Zeman said a greater influx of refugees from Ukraine could not be ruled out but said he would be willing to accept a limited wave. He called Ukrainians “culturally close” and “willing to work instead of accepting social benefits”.
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