A fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas will have to pay a fine of 118,000 US dollars for major breaches of security measures which caused a massive explosion in April. Fifteen people died and hundreds of others were injured as a result of the blast in a town where the vast majority of inhabitants claim to have Czech heritage. Some 350 buildings were also destroyed and a 27-meter wide crater has formed. The Czech government gave approximately 200,000 dollars to the people of West, most of the money was meant to rebuild the local Sokol building.
A US court in Alexandria, Virginia has given the defence team of Kevin Dahlgren another 30 days to appeal his extradition to the Czech Republic. Last week, the court ruled that all the requirements for extradition have been met. Originally, the suspect had the chance to appeal until this past Thursday, but the judge decided to extend the deadline. Mr. Dahlgren is suspected of killing his cousin and three other members of her family in Brno. The murders occurred this past May when the suspect was in the Czech Republic, after which he travelled to Vienna and then to the US, where he was arrested by FBI agents upon arrival at the airport in Washington DC.
A court in Costa Rico on Tuesday sentenced a British man to 25 years in prison for the murder of a 22-year-old Czech woman in the country in 2011. Alfred Saunders was found guilty of stabbing the woman to death in her tent on an eco-farm near the border between Costa Rico and Nicaragua. He had confessed to the killing prior to the trial.
The Constitutional Court has rejected a complaint by American national Gilbert Ferguson Mc Crae, sentenced to 16 years in jail for murder. Two years ago, Mr Mc Crae shot and killed a 34-year-old, who had allegedly shouted obscenities at him a bar earlier, point blank on Prague’s 22 tram. The murder was discovered after 1 am. The convicted Mc Crae had argued that his rights had not been respected in the case but the court called his claim unsubstantiated.
The heavy metal band Lamb of God’s singer Randy Blythe has released a video he made during his trial in Prague. Entitled The Devil is in the Details, the 5-minute long black and white film reflects the singer’s difficult period in the Czech capital. In March, Randy Blythe was acquitted of manslaughter charges raised against him after the death of a fan who suffered injuries at the band’s 2010 Prague concert. Randy Blythe spent five weeks in police detention in Prague.
A US film production is scheduled to shoot in Prague’s metro over the weekend. On Saturday, service will be suspended at the metro’s line B between the stations Smíchovské nádraží and Florenc from 10 PM till 8 AM. On Sunday morning, trains will not stop at Anděl station. The production is shooting a film called Child 44 in Prague, a movie directed by Daniel Espinosa and produced by Ridley Scott.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has put on hold plans to build a new Czech embassy building in Washington D.C. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Jiří Schneider the final decision on the project must be made after the general elections by a government with a strong mandate. The former centre-right government had planned to invest half a billion crowns into a new embassy building which would also serve as a cultural centre. The caretaker administration had started looking into the project and claims that the final cost could double. Building work, which was to have started early next year, is likely to be postponed.
The Czech Republic is stepping up pressure on Canada for the country to lift visa-requirements for Czech nationals. Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Schneider told Monday’s edition of Hospodarske noviny that the Czech side had conditioned its ratification of CETA – the EU’s free trade agreement with Canada – on the lifting of visa restrictions for Czechs. Canada re-imposed visa requirements for Czech nationals in 2009 in the wake of a wave of Romany asylum seekers from the Czech Republic. In 2012 Canada tightened its asylum law, but said it had to test the impact of the new legislation for at least a year before making changes to its visa policy. The Czech Foreign Ministry is hoping for a positive response from Canada within a couple of months at the latest.
A 24-year-old Czech woman was murdered in the US city of Chicago at the end of last month, a spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Ministry said on Friday. The woman was reportedly stabbed and strangled to death in her apartment on the night of June 24. The homicide is under investigation by the Chicago police; however, it has affected the Czech community in the city and even led to disputes at the Czech general consulate in Chicago after one of its employees was fired for having provided unauthorized information. The Czech ambassador to the US, Petr Gandalovič, is set to visit the city at the end of July in an attempt to calm the situation.
The Czech Justice Ministry Friday filed extradition request to the US embassy in Prague for US citizen Kevin Dahlgren who is wanted in the Czech Republic over four murders, a spokeswoman for the ministry said. The request was filed a day after the ministry received the respective documents from Brno prosecutors. Twenty-year-old Kevin Dahlgren is suspected of murdering a four-member family he was staying with in Brno in May. He then fled to the US where he was detained upon arrival and has since remained in custody.