In Business this week: Korean Airlines bid for a 44 percent stake in the Czech national carrier Czech Airlines, hackers attack the websites of leading Czech banks and the Prague Stock Exchange, there has been a further growth in unemployment and a drop in spirits sales in the wake of last year’ s methanol poisonings.
One person died and another is feared dead following a traffic accident on Tuesday evening on Manes Bridge in the centre of Prague. Sources reported that a 67-year-old motorist veered into the opposite lane and hit a group of pedestrians on the sidewalk. Two people – a 43-year-old woman and a man – were knocked off the bridge in the accident, falling into the Vltava River below. The woman, who was resuscitated by medics after she was pulled from the water, died later in hospital. An intense search for the other person who fell in the river is underway. Two other people in the accident, as well as the driver of the car, suffered minor injuries.
Korean state airlines Korean Air are currently the only interested party in the purchase of the loss-making state-owned Czech Airlines. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek said on Wednesday that Korean Air has offered 2.64 milion Euros, or around 67.5 million crowns, for a 44-percent stake in the company. The offer was "appropriate" in terms of price, and the size of the share and had a significant strategic value, said Mr Kalousek. The cabinet, which made an unsuccessful attempt to sell the airlines in 2009, will make the final decision on the sale in the second half of April.
The regional court in Prague has cancelled a planned route known as the Vestec junction in a Central Bohemian zoning plan that would have connected the Prague ring-road with the D1 highway. The junction was opposed for several years by the village of Křeslice as well as by owners of surrounding land. Locals also oppose a planned junction known as Exit 4.
The Czech Republic’s postal service, Česká pošta, is looking to expand into other areas, including running a radar system to measure the speed of vehicles on the country’s roads, Mladá fronta Dnes reported. Česká pošta has entered tender processes to operate radar speed systems in several municipalities, the newspaper said, adding that the company hopes to profile itself as a provider of IT and communications technology. The Czech postal service has in recent years seen a fall in the volume of mail it delivers and this year will lose its monopoly on mail weighing less than 50 grammes.
A police chase on the D1 highway resulted in a mass collision involving at least 8 vehicles on Friday. Police were chasing a driver who had refused to stop. The Audi eventually crashed into a road block set up by the police and burst into flames. The 17-year-old driver died on the spot. At least seven other cars got involved in the accident. At least two people were injured, one of them seriously. The incident is being investigated.
The police have charged a former director of the Prague transport authority, Martin Dvořák, with corruption. The charge relates to the awarding of a contract to the company Cross Point, which allegedly earned four times more from selling tickets at metro stations than the firm which previously provided that service. The transport authority abrogated its contract with Cross Point last year. For his part, Mr. Dvořák rejects any accusation of wrongdoing; he says he is himself preparing to file a complaint against the charges.
Up to 16 cm of fresh snow fell in the Czech Republic on Saturday, disrupting traffic in most parts of the country. Hundreds of road accidents occurred over the weekend which killed three people and left dozens of injured. Most roads continue to be covered with snow and ice on Sunday, mainly in the elevated Vysočina region; the authorities have asked drivers to take extra care or stay off the roads if they can as more snow is expected in the western part of the country. Two flights from Prague’s Václav Havel Airport have been cancelled.
Heavy snow and icy roads have disrupted traffic across the Czech Republic. Some 15 cm of fresh snow fell in most parts of the country since Friday night, covering most minor roads as well as some sections of motorways. Hundreds of road accidents have occurred, blocking some of the major Czech motorways. Two outbound flights from Prague‘s Václav Havel Airport have been cancelled, dozens of others are delayed. The authorities in the district of Šternberk have declared a state of calamity, with a number of roads in the area closed for traffic. The authorities have asked drivers to take extra caution and keep off the roads if they can as more snow is expected over the weekend.
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