Railway transport in the north of the country was disrupted for most of Sunday morning after a train hit a fallen tree and derailed. No one was reported hurt in the incident. Czech Railways said train traffic between Liberec and Pardubice was fully restored by 11 am. The line between Železný Brod and Harrachov, was also closed for several hours as maintenance workers cleared fallen trees from the tracks. Czech Railways secured a replacement bus service for passengers.
Prague’s Masaryk Railway Station was closed for over two hours on Sunday due to a hoax bomb threat. Police evacuated the premises shortly after mid-day and explosives experts with sniffer dogs searched the grounds. Ten trains were delayed in consequence. Police are now searching for the hoax caller.
Two Czech artists - Roman Švejda and Lukas Gavlovský - are creating a heart-shaped wax sculpture in honour of the late president Vaclav Havel. The sculpture is being made from the thousands of candles that people lit in Vaclav Havel’s memory on the city’s main square. The sculpture is being made at the Trafačka cultural centre and many people have voluntarily turned up to help the artists. A heart is considered to be symbolic of the late president since he often added a small heart to his signature to illustrate his life-long motto "Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred."
The Vietnamese minority in the Czech Republic is celebrating the arrival of the Lunar New Year –the Year of the Dragon. The arrival of the New Year is traditionally celebrated as a family holiday in the privacy of people’s homes or Vietnamese restaurants. New Year’s Eve celebrations took place at the SAPA Vietnamese open air market in Prague on Saturday. With a population of over 17,000 the Vietnamese community is the country’s third largest minority.
Dozens of Czech cinemas may have to close down in 2013 because they are not ready for digitalization. As of 2013 films for cinema screenings will only be available in digital format and according to the Czech Statistical Office only a quarter of the country’s 470 cinemas are equipped with the respective technology. Many cinemas in the smaller towns and cities have not been modernized for financial reasons.
Police are questioning a 26-year-old man who on Saturday brutally murdered his mother and grandmother. The incident happened in a housing condominium in the town of Česká Lípa. Despite the fast arrival of emergency services both women, aged 60 and 80, succumbed to their injuries. Both had multiple knife wounds and were bleeding severely. The motive remains unclear.
Czech seventh seed Tomáš Berdych was booed off Hisense Arena on Sunday after a bad tempered fourth-round victory over Nicolas Almagro at the Australian Open. Berdych refused to shake hands with the Spaniard after he won the match 4-6 7-6 7-6 7-6 and set up a quarter-final with Rafa Nadal because he felt the 10th-seeded Almagro had deliberately blasted a return at his head during the fourth set.
Addressing an ideological conference of the Civic Democratic Party on Saturday party leader and Prime Minister Petr Necas outlined the party’s main economic priorities in the face of Europe’s economic downturn. Mr. Necas said the party’s main aim was to support the creation of new jobs and the introduction of job sharing schemes as well as reducing the administrative burden for businesses. He also stressed the need to continue cutting state expenditures in order to gradually lower the deficit in public spending to below 3 percent of GDP.
The Christian Democratic Party, which lost its seats in the lower house in the 2010 general elections, is seeking new impetus and emphasizing the party’s traditional values in preparation for the regional and senate elections this autumn. At the party’s weekend conference its leader Pavel Bělobrádek said the Christian Democrats had learned from their mistakes and were ready for a comeback. He said the party would draft a new policy programme based on the party’s traditional values and the society’s present needs. The Christian Democrat leader slammed the ruling parties for conducting what he called “cynical, unscrupulous and confrontational” politics.
Over 1300 Czechs have received a warning from the police regarding theft of their personal data by hackers. Commercial TV Nova, which aired the story on Friday evening, said the theft occurred in an attack on the US security firm Stratfor in late December and the stolen information allegedly includes people’s bank account numbers. People whom it concerns have been asked to contact their banks and not open suspicious-looking mails which could contain viruses. This is the first time ever that the police has contacted so many people on an individual basis rather than issuing a mass warning.