Police search is underway for an 19-day-old baby girl who was kidnapped in the northern city of Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday. The police said a man who spoke with a thick German accent took the baby out of the pram in front of her mother, ran with her to his car and drove off in a car with false number plates. The police believe he might have escaped to Germany and on Wednesday night, border checks were re-introduced at border crossings with that country. A police spokeswoman said on Saturday said the police would ask German media for cooperation.
On the first day of his state visit to Malaysia, Czech President Václav Klaus on Thursday instigated a row with the EU ambassador to that country, the news website novinky.cz reported. At a lecture hosted by a local institute, Mr Klaus told the ambassador, Alessandro Paolicchi, that he did not represent him, and that he did not approve of the EU having an ambassador to Malaysia. The Czech president later told reporters he expressed his opinion in a “friendly” way. Ambassador Paolicchi said the Czech president should realize his country was a member of the EU. President Klaus is on a six-day trip to the region which includes official visits to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Dozens of thousands of Czechs Thursday commemorate the 1149th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries Cyril and Methodius. The celebrations are held in Velehrad, in southern Moravia where the missionaries first arrived from Byzantium. A mass was celebrated by Prague Archbishop, Cardinal Dominik Duka while his predecessor Miloslav Vlk delivered the sermon; the former head of the Catholic Church said the anniversary was a good opportunity for Czechs to explore their roots. Thursday is a national holiday in the Czech Republic.
The 15th international festival of the Sokol athletic movement continues in Prague on Thursday with mass exercises at the Eden stadium. Some 14,000 members of the Sokol organization take part in the exercises. Around 2,000 Czech expats arrived in Prague for festival, held every six years. The week-long event will conclude on Friday. The Sokol movement, which was founded in he 1860s, has today some 180,000 members in the Czech Republic and other countries of the world.
US actress Susan Sarandon on Saturday arrived at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival where she is set to receive the festival’s Crystal Globe award for her contribution to world cinema. On Friday, Ms Sarandon will attend the screening of the movie Jeff Who Lives at Home in which she played one of the main characters. Susan Sarandon is the second international film star, after the English actress Helen Mirren, to attend the 47th edition of the festival.
Part of Line A of Prague metro went temporarily out of service on Thursday due to maintenance and construction work. Service has been suspended between the stations Můstek and Dejvická and only limited service is available between Můstek and Náměstí Míru. The interruption also affects travelers to Prague’s Ruzyně international airport as they cannot reach the airport-bound bus line at Dejvická by metro. Passengers are instead advised to use the special X-A tram line running between the centre of the city and Dejvická. Full service on the green-marked Line A will resume on Sunday.
Czech skiing champion Šárka Záhrobská is in hospital with severe neurological problems, her agent told the news website lidovky.cz on Thursday. The 2007 slalom world champion and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist was admitted to hospital on Friday and induced into sleep but was awake again now, her agent said. The tabloid outlet blesk.cz reported a growth has been discovered on her brain, possibly a cyst or a tumor. Her team said it was unclear when the 27-year-old skier could return to training for the new season.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas is reported to have warned Miroslav Kalousek over an alleged telephone call made by the Finance Minister to Jiří Mazánek, a police investigator looking into alleged overpricing involving the purchases of the army’s CASA transport planes. The planes were bought by Defence Minister Vlasta Parkanová, who is currently under investigation over the controversial deal, which was also approved by Kalousek in his capacity as Finance Minister. Mazánek claims that in a recent telephone call, pressure was exerted by Kalousek over the matter of stripping Parkanová of immunity so that she may be fully investigated over the CASA affair. Kalousek has denied such lobbying for his colleague. PM Nečas has reportedly warned members of his cabinet to avoid contacting investigators at all in such situations, threatening dismissal for this offence.
The Syrian secret police are reported to have arrested a Czech woman, aged 32, on suspicion of collaborating with opposition rebels. Neither her family nor the Czech Embassy in Damascus have any news about her present whereabouts. Sandra Bitarova, who has a Syrian father and a Czech mother, has permanent residence in Syria, though she also has Czech citizenship. According to her family Bitarova is not personally involved in politics and her arrest may be an attempt to put pressure on her father who is an opposition activist and a vocal critic of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Severe flooding has hit the Plzeň region around the town of Klatovy in the south-west of the country after severe rains overnight. According to meteorologists, around 20mm of rain was forecast to fall in the region. Most severely hit were the towns of Sušice and Klatov with the Šumava and Křemelná rivers reaching a level three degree of flooding while by morning, the River Ostružná had also reached a lower level two degree of flooding. Fire-fighters in the area were forced to evacuate dozens of homes, with locals reportedly saying that they could not remember such severe rainfall in their lifetimes. Roads were flooded in Mochtín, Chlistov and Kolinec and villages such as Běšiny remained impassable. So far, only one death, that of an elderly woman in Mochtín has been reported.
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