President Miloš Zeman enjoys the support of 54 percent of Czechs, according to the outcome of a poll conducted by the STEM agency in mid-November. Forty-one percent of respondents said they would like to see him elected for a second term in office. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they mistrusted Zeman and hoped to see a strong candidate beat him in the next elections.
Three people were killed and one seriously injured when a passenger car was hit by an oncoming train at a rail-crossing in the Pardubice region. The train ploughed into the vehicle dragging it for 200 metres before it ground to a halt. It is not clear why the car ignored the red light. The only passenger who survived the crash is in critical condition. The death toll at Czech rail-crossings is exceedingly high in spite of repeated warnings for drivers to be careful. This year alone thirty people died at rail-crossings.
Czech Communist Party MEP Miloslav Ransdorf has been arrested in Switzerland. The arrest was confirmed by the Swiss police who said the Czech MEP and three other men from Slovakia had been detained at a bank in Zurich after trying to withdraw a large sum of money on false IDs. The Czech police is cooperating with the Swiss authorities on the case.
Michal Murín is likely to be appointed head of the police’s internal affairs unit GIBS. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Friday expressed support for the fifty-three year old Murín, who has served in the force for 30 years, and as deputy head of GIBS took over its management on a temporary basis following the resignation of its former head Ivan Bílek. Bílek resigned in November in connection with an extensive anti-corruption investigation in which the police charged four people, including two high ranking police officers with bribery and abuse of office.
Czech Catholic priest Tomáš Halík was on Thursday appointed vice-president of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy in Washington, which associates philosophers and researchers in social sciences from around the world, the daily Lidové noviny reports. Halík, 67, also won the prestigious Templeton Prize, dubbed the "Nobel Prize for Theology," in 2014. Halík, whose books have been translated into 12 languages, has participated in the Council´s research project Faith in Secular Times since 2012.
A fire at a company manufacturing spare car parts in Trutnov, north Bohemia has claimed its second victim after one of the critically injured employees died in hospital overnight. The fire broke out early on Thursday shortly after the work day started; one person died in the blaze, five were airlifted to hospital with serious injuries. Five firefighters units and two helicopters fought to contain the blaze for most of the day and remained on site throughout the night cooling the debris. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Friday ends her four day visit to the Czech Republic. Her talks with top officials, including the president and prime minister, were dominated by economic cooperation. On Thursday the two countries signed a two-year action plan on cooperation in the fields of cybersecurity, the defense and nuclear industries as well as a number of memorandums paving the ground for cooperation between universities and institution in the field of research and development. The visiting South Korean president also attended a summit of the Višegrad Four states in Prague.
Three miners were injured in tremors that hit the Karvian mine in the night hours, a spokesman for the OKD company told the ctk newsagency. All three miners are hospitalized, but are reported to be out of danger. The tremors from mining activity reportedly caused a landslide in part of the mine. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
The average monthly salary in the Czech Republic in the third quarter of 2015 rose by 944 crowns, compared to the same period last year, according to the figures released by the Czech Statistics Office on Friday. Accounting for inflation, real growth was 3.4 percent. The average monthly pay is currently 26,072 crowns (around 960 euros). The results exceeded the expectations of analysts, who anticipated a wage hike of up to three percent.
The non-profit organisation Post Bellum and the Scientists against Fear and Apathy initiative have published a call warning against growing hatred, intolerance and pro-fascist sentiments in Czech society. The so-called Advent Call, published on Facebook, warns against abusing fears of the migrant crisis and the situation in Russia, and against the division of Czech society. It has been signed by over 5,000 people, including Czech Catholic priest and academic Tomáš Halík, former dissident and historian Petr Placák and singer-songwriter Vladimír Merta.
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