The Czech Air Force has officially taken over the NATO Baltic air-policing mission. The commander of the Czech contingent symbolically took over the mission from Poland at a ceremony at the Šiaulia airbase in Lithuania on Friday. The Gripen fighters of the Czech Air Force will start policing the Baltic airspace on Saturday. Their mission will last four months. This is the second time Czech pilots are guarding the airspace of the three Baltic countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – who lack their own air forces. Czechs were first deployed there in 2009.
Czech police have broken up a major international ring of document forgers
which was based in Prague and Brno but operated in several other European
countries, a spokesman for the organized crime unit of the Czech police
force said on Friday. Seventeen people including one Czech citizen were
arrested during police raids over the last week. The gang was headed by
five Albanian and Bulgarian men with permanent residency in the Czech
Republic. They forged Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish
Danish passports, IDs and driving licences, as well as those of various
The police said the gang had gained control of the European black market for forged documents over the last decade as its counterfeits could not really be detected during ordinary checks. If convicted, gang members face up to 10 years in prison.
Deputy prime minister, and leader of the coalition LIDEM party, Karolína Peake, on Friday dropped her objections to the new head of Czech police. After meeting the new police boss, Martin Červíček, Ms Peake said she considered his appoinetment " a done deal". Earlier this week, Karolína Peake threatend to withdraw her groups's support for some key government bill in retaliation for the dismissal of Mr Červíček's predecessor in the post of the police cheif.
Four Lufthansa flights between Prague and Frankfurt were cancelled on Friday due to a strike by the German carrier’s cabin staff. The strike began at 5 AM and lasted for eight hours. The four cancelled flights included two Prague-bound flights arriving at 9:05 and 11:25, and two Frankfurt-bound connections leaving at 9:50 and 12:10, a spokeswoman for Prague airport said. Lufthansa cancelled over 200 flights due to the strike.
A court in Brno on Friday ordered a hospital in Třebíč to pay record compensation of 3.5 million crowns to the husband and children of a 36-year-old woman who died there in 2006 during the delivery of her third child. The court upheld a review of the case by the Health Ministry which said the woman died of internal bleeding the doctors failed to notice. Criminal proceedings against the doctors had been dropped but the judge said on Friday that based on the new verdict, charges against the maternity ward’s head doctor might be raised again.
Prague transit authority sent out dozens of staffers to the streets of the capital on Friday to inform travellers of major changes to the transportation system, a day before they come into effect. The city-owned company will cut several tram and bus lines, move some transfer points and introduce cross-city bus lines. The authority plans to save up to 400 million crowns through the makeover which has however come under heavy criticism from the public and a number of NGOs.
The associations of Czech millers and bakers on Friday warned that this year’s poor wheat harvest would increase the prices of bread and other baked products. The wheat harvest is expected to be some 20 percent lower this year due to long periods of drought; that means that one ton will sell at 6,500 crowns, some 30 percent more than in the first half of this year. It’s not clear by how much the prices of bread will increase as bakers’ associations will hold talks with supermarket chains in the coming months; however, bakers say their costs have risen by 20 percent this year due to increased prices of fuel, energy and grain.
The biggest Czech beer producer Pilsner Urquell will raise prices of their world-famous brew on average by three percent, starting 1 October, the brewery announced Friday. The increase is due to the rising prices of ingredients. The price hikes will apply to a large part of the company’s portfolio, mainly bottled beer. However, it will exclude the 50-litre barrels of the popular Gambrinus and Radegast brands to boost dropping beer sales in pubs and bars. Other Czech breweries are reportedly not considering any immediate price hikes but said they could not rule out a similar move.
Police in Brno on Thursday night fined a man who was steering his car with his legs through the sun roof while sitting on top of the car. The 21-year-old man, accompanied by two friends, was driving his car on the parking lot outside one of the local supermarkets. When police arrived at the scene and flagged him down, the driver tried to get back into his seat but crashed into the police car in the process, a police spokeswoman said. The young man was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The police handed him a fine of 2,000 crowns, or around 100 US dollars, and instructed him about road traffic rules, the spokeswoman added.
In football, last season’s Czech runners-up Sparta Prague was drawn on Friday against Olympic Lyonnais of France, Spain’s Athletic Bilbao and the reigning Israeli champions Kiryat Shmona in Group I of Europa League. The other Czech club which reached the group stage of the competition, Viktoria Plzeň will play last year’s Europa League champions Atletico Madrid, the Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv and Academica Coimbra of Portugal in Group B. The first matches of the group stage are schedules for September 20.
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