One of the more colourful news stories out of the Czech Republic last year concerned Corrupt Tour, which started running excursions – in Czech, English and German – to sites linked to graft. These include the villas of dodgy businessmen, Prague City Hall and the spot where the city’s “Olympic centre” was projected to stand.
Some 10,000 people put on their running shoes for this year’s Prague International Marathon and hundreds of onlookers turned up to cheer them on. The first through the finishing line this year was Nicholas Kemboi from Qatar who covered the 42 km distance in 2:08mins. The first woman to reach the finishing line was Caroline Rotich from Kenya who made it in 2:27mins. The marathon has gained increasing popularity since it was established in 1995. It takes runners through the city centre and has been voted one of the most beautiful in the world. In view of the Boston bombing special security measures have been taken for the event.
Hundreds of people have been lining up to view the Czech crown jewels which are now on display in the Vladislav Hall of Prague Castle. The crown jewels only go on public display on special occasions. This year they are being shown for ten days on the occasion of the election of President Miloš Zeman. The crown jewels include the St. Wenceslas crown, which Charles IV had made in 1347, the coronation crucifix also from the 14th century, as well as the royal sceptre and the royal apple from the first half of the 16 th century. Thousands of people are expected to view these symbols of Czech statehood in the next ten days.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to queue for hours to view the Czech crown jewels, which have just gone on display at Prague Castle’s Vladislav Hall. The priceless collection, which includes the St. Wenceslas crown, is being shown for the first time in five years – but only for a 10-day period.
Twenty-one people were injured in a collision between a bus and a lorry on route R7 on the outskirts of Prague, near the Václav Havel airport. Most injuries were relatively minor, though one woman was more seriously hurt and was airlifted to a Prague hospital. The accident happened on Thursday morning and emergency services closed down the freeway in both directions for a short while, in order to treat the injured. The bus, belonging to the transportation company Student Agency, was en route from Chomutov to Prague.
Organizers of the Prague Marathon, which is happening this weekend, said that stricter security measures will be in place this year, in light of the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon. There will be a higher number of police officers and security personnel at the event, but neither the organizers nor the Prague City Hall, which is in charge of police detail, were willing to give exact numbers. Some 450 people were looking after safety at last year’s marathon. This year, police and security personnel will regularly check the surrounding area of the marathon route, garbage cans and metro stations. Some nine and a half thousand runners are registered for the main marathon on Sunday.
Criminal investigators have determined that the massive explosion in central Prague last Monday was caused by a gas leak from pipes under the pavement, located a few meters in front of the building that suffered most of the damages. More than forty people were injured by the blast, though all but two cases were relatively minor. Damages to the surrounding buildings have been estimated to be more than 50 thousand crowns. Two university faculties housed in the buildings surrounding the blast site renewed classes earlier this week. Some of the ceilings fell through and a wall had moved in the building that suffered most of the damages, which remains off limits to the public.
Major reconstruction work has begun on one of the most frequented freeways in the Czech Republic, the D1, which connects Prague and Brno. The 160-kilometer road, which has been in a dire state for a number of years, will be modernized in sections, with only partial closings at each stretch. Transportation Ministry officials said that no traffic problems were noted in the first day of the road work. In addition to modernizing the road and connected infrastructure, the roadway will be expanded from two to three lanes in some places. The reconstruction should last six years in total.
Classes at FAMU film school and the Social Sciences Faculty of Charles University resumed on Monday a week after a massive explosion rocked an adjacent building in Prague’s Divadlení Street. A suspected gas explosion saw one floor collapse at the site, and glass and debris thrown into the street. Windows in all of the surrounding buildings were also shattered by the shockwave that left more than 40 people injured – one of them seriously. Police, fire fighters and rescue workers had to block off the area as a result and the building had to be reinforced by a construction and engineering crew to prevent it from collapse.
In a statement released on Monday, President Miloš Zeman charged that
Pavel Hasenkopf – a former legal aide at Prague Castle – was a
co-author of the highly controversial article 2 in this year’s
presidential amnesty. The article halted legal proceedings, including
cases of economic crime and corruption, lasting eight years or longer. Mr
Zeman released the statement after studying material at the weekend
provided by Mr Hasenkopf, who has himself strongly denied involvement.
The news website idnes suggests the president based his conclusion primarily on an email between Hasenkopf and former presidential aide Ladislav Jakl dated October 22 of last year, in which the lawyer suggested that cases that had been tied-up in the courts for years could be halted. Hasenkopf told news website idnes that while he prepared key steps to that aim, they were limited only to certain kinds of cases and had been radically altered in the final amnesty declared by the president. For his part, former president Václav Klaus told Právo at the weekend that he and he alone was the author of the amnesty declared on January 1.
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