The Supreme Audit Office is planning to look into the Environment Ministry’s selling of carbon dioxide emission rights. The audit will focus on how funds from the sales are used. A spokeswoman for the ministry said that this year, nineteen billion Czech crowns worth of emission rights have been sold. Most of them went to Japan and the company Mitsui. Since 2008, following a change in law, the Environment Ministry is authorized to sell surplus emission rights. In accordance with the conditions of the Kyoto protocol, proceeds from those sales can only go to the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic and have to be used towards measures that help cut overall carbon dioxide emissions.
Five people were killed in a car accident on a motorway near Copenhagen early on Saturday morning. Four of the passengers were Czechs working in Denmark; the nationality of the fifth victim is yet unknown. A spokeswoman for the Czech embassy in Copenhagen confirmed the information but says no further details regarding the identity of the victims are available at the moment. The car was travelling above the speed limit when it hit a crash barrier on the side of the road, a witness told the press. Police say that three of the passengers were sitting in the back of the vehicle, which had no seats or seat belts. According to a local paper, this accident is one of the worst to happen near the Danish capital in several years.
Pavel Imriš, a member of the Social Democrats, is suing the party over the state of its accounts, Mladá fronta dnes reported on Saturday. Mr Imriš says he believes that the leadership of the party should no longer have the right to dispose of the party’s assets. He argues that the actual expenses for the election campaign differ hugely from published estimates, and opposes plans of the party to make a mortgage deal with the credit bank Fio on buildings adjacent to its Prague headquarters. He considers this step financially unwise and believes that such decisions have to be approved of by the whole party at its party summit.
A team of experts from the Ministry of Health has found that a blood alcohol concentration of 0.24 pro mille and below does not affect the performance or judgment of drivers. In its Saturday edition, the daily Lidové noviny reported that the ministry has instructed traffic police to no longer pursue cases of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.24 pro mille or below. Previously, any alcohol consumption prior to driving was illegal in the Czech Republic. Many other European countries are considering the introduction of 0.00 pro mille limits.
The NGO People in Need’s Plzeň branch has published a guide for foreigners living in the Czech Republic. It is meant to help immigrants navigate the country’s various government offices and relevant not-for-profit organizations. The guide, titled Welcome to the CZungle, is available in Czech, Vietnamese and Mongolian. It provides an overview of where to file for work permits and visas, along with listing important phone numbers for foreigners. In addition, the guide features instructions on how to proceed in nine situations that immigrants may need information on dealing with, such as illness, debt or pregnancy.
Prague animal rescue workers have saved 400 animals this year, a spokesman for the Czech Union for Nature Conversation told the Czech News Agency on Saturday. Most often, workers rescued injured animals or abandoned offspring, among them hedgehogs, pigeons, rabbits and swifts. Some of the more unusual animals that they encountered this year were mouflons, wild boar and badgers. Since July, the organization has to depend solely on donations to operate because of budget cuts and the loss of some sponsors due to the economic downturn.
A bank in the South Moravian town of Mikulov was robbed on Friday afternoon. Police are now searching for the bank robber, who left the scene of the crime on his bicycle, according to witnesses who saw him escape. An employee of the bank said that the man was armed but did not use his weapon during the hold-up. The exact amount of money he has stolen is unknown at this point.
Residents of a tower block building in the city of Brno had to evacuate their homes due to a house fire on the night from Friday to Saturday. Building materials in front of the tower block went ablaze; its facade subsequently caught fire. Fire fighters and police cleared the building, attempts to remove remaining pieces of burning isolation material failed. Eventually, they were able to get the fire under control and residents were able to return to their apartments.
The Czech fisherman Jakub Vágner appeared on the popular American television show The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Friday night. His appearance came ahead of the US premiere of a new National Geographic series, Fish Warrior, in which he travels to South America and Africa to catch huge species of fish. The hardcore fisherman, who is the son of well-known musician Karl Vágner, told TV host Jay Leno that he did not know who he was prior to being invited to appear on the show. Jay Leno’s program has an average four million nightly viewers in the US.
There was disappointment for Petr Svoboda in the men’s 110 meters hurdles at the European Athletics Championships in Barcelona, after the Czech medal hopeful tripped at the seventh hurdle and ended up finishing sixth in Friday’s final. Meanwhile, Zuzana Hejnová missed out on a bronze medal at the finish of the women’s 400 meters hurdles. Of the other Czechs in action on Friday, pole vaulter Jiřina Ptáčníková came fifth, as did Denisa Rosolová in the 400 meters, while Lenka Masná came sixth in the 800 meters.