The Czech Airlines Pilots Association on Saturday announced that they would not, as they had previously threatened, hold a go-slow protest on Monday. The pilots’ association had planned the protest due to redundancies at the state-controlled carrier ČSA, however, its head, Filip Gaspar, says that the pilots have reached an agreement with the management of the airline. He added that as part of the agreement, all future staff cuts would be discussed in detail with the union and would be dependent on the development of the market. On Wednesday, Czech Airlines started handing out notices to some of its pilots, a step that the management of the airline says is in line with a plan to restructe the airline, which was approved by the Czech government last year.
The authors of anonymous Czech online articles thanking the Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breivik for his killing of 76 people may face prison sentences of up to one year, the daily Právo writes on Saturday. Czech Police’s organized crime and secret police unit are working to uncover the identities of the authors. Czech Police has also launched an investigation into the profile of the Norwegian gunman in an effort to prevent a similar tragedy from happening in the Czech Republic. The head of the organized crimes unit, Robert Šlachta, said that due to legal restrictions, investigators would face difficulties in solving such cases, since they can only use wire-taps and undercover agents when a group of organized criminals is attempting to illegally purchase weapons. In addition, sentences for illegal gun acquisition in the Czehc Republic are relatively mild: An individaul convicted of buying guns illegally faces up to two years in prison. Mr. Breivik, who committed the twin terror attacks that shook Norway on July 22nd, may face up to 30 years in prison.
Some 70 environmental activists who for the last week were holding a blockade to protest the felling of bark-beetle infested trees returned to a protected zone of the Šumava National Park on Saturday. The protesters’ spokesperson, Vratislav Vozník, said that loggers have not been continuing their work on the weekend. However, the park‘s management stated that loggers are felling some 100 trees in an area that is deep in the forrest and that they had succesfully evaded the environmentalists, who returned to the site on Saturday morning after leaving Friday afternoon due to a bomb threat. A spokesperson for the park management said that the activists had not slowed down the work of the loggers on Thursday and Friday. Police are prepared to intervene but are not currently at the site.
Indonesian police arrested a Czech man who was convicted for a murder he committed in 2008 and escaped before the start of his prison sentence. Indonesian officers arrested the 29-year-old man, for whom an international arrest warrant had been issued, in collaboration with Czech police. He is currently in prison in the country’s capital, Jakarta. Due to the fact that the Czech Republic does not have an extradition agreement with Indonesia, it could take up to a year until the man can be returned to a Czech prison. In 2010, he had been dealt a 12.5-year prison sentence for killing a young man in front of a Prague night club.
Some 20 feminists participated in the first-ever SlutWalk in Prague on Saturday, which kicked off in the center in the afternoon. Participants of slut walks, a recent international phenomenon that originated in Toronto this year, dress provocatively in an effort to draw attention to the fact that rape victims are still sometimes given the blame for acts of sexual abuse. The first SlutWalk protest marches came as a reaction to a Toronto police officer’s suggestion that women “should avoid dressing like sluts” to remain safe. Every day, one to two cases of rape occur in the Czech Republic, and in 2010, police statistics indicated an increase in rape cases by 22 percent as compared to the previous year. Of those, 70 percent involved victims under 18.
The Czech Republic have reached the final of the European Under-19 Football Championship for the first time, after beating Serbia 4:2 in Friday’s semi-final in Romania. The Czechs, who are managed by Jaroslav Hřebík, had a 3:0 lead within 20 minutes thanks to strikes from Tomáš Přikryl, Tomáš Kalas, and Tomáš Jeleček. They face Spain – who are world and European champions at senior level – in Monday’s final.
Czech soccer’s top flight competition, the Gambrinus League, resumed on Friday evening after a summer break. In the opening game of the 2011/2012 season, newly promoted Dukla Prague drew 0:0 at home with Sigma Olomouc. Later Bohemians 1905 beat Slavia Prague 2:0 at home at Eden, the stadium they share. There are 30 rounds in the Gambrinus League, with the last one set for late May.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg says he will be sending an ambassador to the National Transitional Council in Libya. Mr Schwarzenberg has said that the Czech Republic will not recognise the rebel government until it controls the entire country and does not intend to open an embassy. However, it is important, he says, to be in contact with the emerging institutions in Libya, for which purpose a ‘part-time’ ambassador will be sent to Benghazi, where the interim leadership is based. The previous Czech ambassador to Tripoli was withdrawn in February at the start of the insurgency. The National Transitional Council has currently been recognised by most of Western Europe and the United States.
A group of residents of the Šumava National Park on Friday morning held a protest against environmental activists preventing the cutting of trees in a protected zone of the forest. Some 200 arrived at the site of felling to thank the police and loggers and to bring food for the workers. Activists have been shackling themselves around trees and sitting in the treetops all week as police attempt to remove them from the area. The park management intends to fell about 4,000 trees in the protected zone in order to limit the spread of a bark beetle infestation that has devastated the forest. Environmental groups maintain that the park management has no exemption to cut in the zone. However, a preliminary court order allowed loggers to begin work there on Monday.
All involved in the Šumava protest abandoned the area on Friday afternoon after a bomb threat was announced. The police, guards, loggers and activists all left the restricted area to await a bomb squad after an anonymous caller phoned in the threat on the emergency hotline. Six activists had remained at the site and do not intend to return on Friday. An organiser for the protest group said he considered the threat a provocation intended to show the activists in a poor light.
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