A sharp increase has been recorded in the number of cases of tick-borne encephalitis in the Czech Republic. Last year, 1029 people were infected with the disease, which was 400 more than the previous year. Experts predict there could be even more infections this year, as last year's warm winter mean that the incidence of ticks that carry the disease is much more widespread. This year they have even been found in city parks as well as in their traditional rural habitats. Czech daily Pravo also reports that there is a shortage of encephalitis vaccines in the country at the moment, with demand far exceeding supply.
Citizens in nine municipalities in the Pribram and Rokycany districts have overwhelmingly voted against the building of a proposed US radar base in the nearby military area of Brdy. In nine local referenda held on Saturday, voters were asked whether town representatives should take every legal measure possible to prevent the construction of the base, which America wants to build as part of its proposed missile defence system against so-called rogue states like Iran. Large majorities in all the polls were against the base. This latest round of referenda now means that 19 municipalities in the Central Bohemian and Pilsen regions have held polls that rejected the idea of building a radar facility in Brdy, but these plebiscites have no legal impact on the actions of the Czech government. Local inhabitants complain that they have not received sufficient information on the radar base and its possible impact on their health, environment and local administration.
The Czech Statistical Office has forecasted that the number of people in the country over 65 years of age should double by the 2050. There are currently 1.45 million people over 65 in the Czech Republic, which has a population of around 10 million. This is expected to rise to three million by the middle of this century because people are living longer thanks to modern medicine and lifestyle changes.
Czech police shot a youth dead on Litomericka Street in Prague on Sunday afternoon. According to the Czech Press Agency, a police officer tried to apprehend the youth after he attacked a woman. In the ensuing struggle, the young man, who has yet to be identified, grabbed the police officer's pistol prompting a group of policemen arriving on the scene as back-up to open fire on him. Two other people were injured in the incident.
The Czech justice minister Jiri Pospisil has said he has no information on
the whereabouts of controversial businessman Tomas Pitr, who disappeared
after failing to show up to start a five-year prison term for tax evasion.
Speaking on Czech television on Sunday, the minister said that there are
currently 5000 people in the Czech Republic who have avoided serving
prison sentences and that he was planning an amendment to the Penal Code
that would make avoiding prison as a crime and also deprive anyone that
did so of qualifying for parole once they began serving their sentence.
On Friday, a Prague court issued European and international warrants for Mr Pitr's arrest after he failed to show up to serve his sentence and police launched a nationwide search for the controversial entrepreneur. One of his aides later told Czech daily Mlada fronta Dnes that Mr Pitr had had a nervous breakdown and was in a psychiatric facility in north Bohemia. Mr Pitr has lodged an appeal against his sentence with the Supreme Court.
A demonstration by ultra-right activists passed without any major incident in the North Moravian town of Havirov. Several dozen protesters from the far-right "National Corporatism" group demonstrated in the town's main square on Saturday afternoon against the use of drugs. Police detained one man who was drunk and shouting offensive slogans.
President Vaclav Klaus has attended a ceremony to mark the 65th
anniversary of the razing of the Czech town of Lidice by the Nazis during
the Second World War. Speaking to the Czech Press Agency after the event,
President Klaus said that the Lidice tragedy made people aware of the
sheer madness of Nazi ideology, not just in the Czech lands but all around
the world. He also said that the event was one of the catalysts behind the
expulsion of Czechoslovakia's German population after the war.
On 10 June 1942, the town of Lidice was raised to the ground by the Nazis in retaliation for the assassination of Reichsprotektor Reinhard Heydrich by Czech resistance fighters. Every man in the town was shot dead while all women and children were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The site of the tragedy is now a national memorial.
Czech kayak competitor Kamil Mruzek has won his second medal at the wild-water canoeing World Cup in Lofer, Austria. He finished second in the men's classic race on Sunday behind the Italian Maximilian Benassi. Mruzek also won a bronze in the sprint event on Saturday behind fellow Czech Tomas Slovak and Slovenian canoeist Nejc Znidarcic.
The Supreme State Attorney Renata Vesecka has said the dismissal of Radim
Obst, the state attorney in charge of the corruption case taken against
Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek, was not politically motivated. Speaking
on Czech television on Sunday, Ms Vesecka said that the decision to remove
Mr Obst from the Cunek case was not taken by her personally, but by the
Supreme State Attorney's Office.
Mr Obst was replaced on Friday by another attorney over a procedural mistake. The move brought strong reaction from the opposition during a parliamentary session on Friday, which was interrupted after both Social Democrat and Communist MPs failed to push through a debate on the matter. The Social Democrats have accused the government of trying to manipulate proceedings and have said they may consider calling for a vote of no-confidence in the centre-right government. Mr Cunek has been under investigation for several months now over allegations that he accepted a bribe while mayor of the Moravian town of Vsetin five years ago.
The fire department in Zlin has had to cope with an unusually high number of bee swarms in the Moravian town. Over the past two weeks, the fire brigade has answered several dozen calls for help in dealing with bees that have been congregating in populated areas, including the city centre. Fire department workers have been busy using special vacuum devices to "liquidate" the swarms.