The alleged far-right supremacist accused of a massacre at a youth camp in Norway and a bombing in the capital Oslo, appears to have visited Prague in 2010 with the aim of illegally acquiring weapons as well as illicit drugs. Czech news sources reported that the visit took place in August and September of last year. The Czech news agency, ČTK, cited an internet manifesto allegedly posted by the suspect – 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik – ahead of Friday’s attacks. In it he outlined previous plans, including his attempt to acquire automatic weapons – a pistol, grenades and a bazooka – in Prague. According to the document, he spent five days in the Czech Republic but was unsuccessful and left empty-handed. Friday’s attacks in Norway saw at least 94 people killed, leaving the country devastated and in mourning. Under Norwegian law, the most Mr Breivik can receive is 21 years in prison.
In related news, Czech police have received no official word from Norway over Mr Breivik’s alleged stay last year in the Czech capital. If it is sent, the spokesman for the police presidium Jan Melša said, Czech officials would investigate the matter. The spokesman for the Czech security service BIS, meanwhile, said that counter-intelligence officials were in touch with their Norwegian counterparts to gain information. The BIS spokesman, Jan Šubert, declined to comment on the internet manifesto describing the Norwegian suspect’s visit. He did say that Czech counter-intelligence had not registered a surge among Czech extremists or found any connection between members in extremist movements in the Czech Republic and Norway. He reiterated that there was been no signal or evidence that the Czech Republic was under threat.
A number of Czechs have laid flowers and lit candles in front of the Norwegian Embassy in Prague to commemorate those who died in the attacks in Norway on Friday. Individuals arriving to show solidarity over the tragedy included members of the youth branch of the Czech Social Democratic Party, who held a minute of silence in memory of those killed. The head of the youth branch, Lukáš Kaucký, described the attacks as one of the worst tragedies in recent years; a female visitor, meanwhile, expressed that she had wanted to do something after hearing the news on the radio. Earlier, letters expressing condolences were sent to Norway's King Harald V. by the Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas and President Václav Klaus.
Convicted Czech businessman Tomáš Pitr, in custody in Switzerland, will likely be released next week, the website Parlamentni Listy reported. Mr Pitr was arrested on July 26 last year in St Moritz; the internet site pointed out that Swiss law does not allow foreigners to be held in custody for more than one year. However, extradition proceedings underway to return the businessman to the Czech Republic are still in process. In 2006, Tomáš Pitr was sentenced to five years for tax evasion but fled the country to avoid prison. He was later sentenced in absentia for another crime, raising the sentence to six years. The Czech Justice Ministry is not aware of any plans by Swiss officials to release the Czech although it is within their rights to do so, the ministry spokeswoman said.
Water levels on swollen rivers in the country continued to drop throughout Saturday, leaving only one high flood alert on the Dědina River. But there too conditions have improved: on Saturday at four pm the river registered a level of 291 centimetres; at six am on Sunday it had had dropped to 277 cm. Days before, families who had been evacuated from their homes in areas began returning. The Czech Republic was hit by disastrous floods one year ago, which caused major damage and claimed several lives.
A 20-year-old female driver was killed in her car shortly after three pm on Sunday after losing control of her vehicle. The car went off of the road between Česká Lípa and Mladá Boleslav, hitting a concrete pillar. It is the fourth road fatality in the area of Mladá Boleslav, east of Prague, this year. A day earlier, in another part of the Czech Republic, a motorist was killed when his car slammed into a tree.
The Association of Czech Film Clubs has awarded renowned filmmaker Emir Kusturica a prize for his outstanding contribution to European cinema; it was given to the director on Saturday evening at the Summer Film School in Uherské Hraďiště. Mr Kusturica is known worldwide for such films as Time of the Gypsies, Black Cat, White Cat and Underground. The filmmaker completed his studies in 1978 at the Prague film academy, FAMU, where he studied under the legendary filmmaker Otakar Vávra. Mr Kusturica is also a guitarist for the group No Smoking Orchestra, due to perform at the school.
Czech authorities have condemned brutal terrorist attacks which struck Norway on Friday killing at least 91 people. At least seven people died in an explosion at government offices in Oslo, and an additional 84 people or more were killed in a shooting rampage at an island youth camp outside the city. One Norwegian national is in custody in connection with the attacks. The Czech Foreign Ministry released a statement expressing shock and regret. In its statement it said the Czech Republic was ready to provide assistance. It also reiterated that it was necessary for the international community to stand together against the threat of terrorism. It is not yet clear who is behind the Norway attacks; early reports suggested responsibility by Islamic militants, but it is now thought to have been conducted by homegrown far-right extremists, as the suspect in custody allegedly belonged to an extremist group. The attacks have been widely condemned by the US, the European Union, NATO and others.
The Czech police have tightened security measures in reaction to the terrorist attacks in Norway on Friday, police spokesman Jan Melsa confirmed; he described the measures taken as preventative. Patrols at Czech airports and at key areas in the capital and around the country were heightened as of Friday afternoon. The spokesman said the measures would not directly affect citizens. He also stressed that the police do not have any information that the Czech Republic was facing any danger. The police are, however, assessing the situation in coordination with foreign colleagues.
Water levels on a number of swollen rivers in north-eastern Bohemia and Moravia began subsiding on Friday night, leaving high flood alerts only on the Dědina and Orlice, where levels, however, have also fallen. With the risk of floods abating and conditions improving on Friday, families who had been evacuated from their homes in areas began returning. Despite improvements, some 170 people were nevertheless evacuated from local summer camps. Some lower-category roads had been closed in the Liberec, Hradec Králové regions and parts of northern Moravia. Earlier in the week some rail routes had been closed because they were either waterlogged or hampered by fallen trees. The Czech Republic was hit by disastrous floods one year ago, which caused major damage and claimed several lives.
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