Seven passengers were injured near Ostrava on Saturday evening – one of them seriously – when their train derailed. None of the injuries are life-threatening. The accident took place at around 7:30 pm near Český Těšín; overall, some 50 people were on board at the time. Emergency workers faced difficulties in getting to the scene. The Railway Inspectorate, investigating the incident, suspects the train driver may be responsible for the accident, but are reviewing a number of possible scenarios; the damage has been estimated at more than 10 million crowns. The police concluded work at the scene on Sunday morning.
Police in the east of the country, are investigating an accident at a home in Ostrava on Saturday when a six-year-old girl fell five metres from an apartment window. The child landed on the pavement, suffering internal injuries including possible brain damage. According to a police spokeswoman, the accident took place during a visit to the home by several mothers with children. Police are investigating the accident as a case of possible negligence resulting in bodily harm.
More than 200 police officers monitored a meeting of right-wing extremists in Rakovník, west of Prague on Saturday, where radicals gathered to honour a colleague murdered in the town three years ago. The person was killed in an incident at a local discotheque and fellow extremists have gathered annually since. Around 60 of them met on a local square at around 7 pm, but the meeting lasted only several minutes. The police registered no incidents.
Hockey goalie Tomáš Vokoun is on a roll as his Washington Capitals remain undefeated this season. Vokoun notched his sixth win in a row on Saturday as his team downed the Detroit Red Wings. The goalie, who joined Washington this year, stopped 32 shots and allowed just one goal. Washington crushed Detroit 7:1. In other action, Ottawa’s Milan Michálek, also on a streak, scored the winner against Columbus at 59:55 of the 3rd period. Ottawa took the game 4:3.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has accepted his party’s nomination for the Czech presidency. TOP 09, which is holding a convention this weekend, is thus the first party to select a candidate for the post, which will be filled in early 2013 either by direct or indirect election. Though consistently ranked one of the most popular politicians in the Czech Republic, Mr Schwarzenberg will likely face an uphill battle for the presidency as left-wing parties are likely to dominate the Senate. It was for precisely this reason, he said, that he had decided to join the fray, despite stating previously that he would only participate in direct elections. His candidacy, he hopes, will show the party as a strong alternative and unwilling to back down under averse circumstances. The 73-year-old nobleman also addressed his age, saying he had taken it into consideration, but has proven robust in his travels as foreign minister.
Civic Democrat chairman and Prime Minister Petr Nečas has received an extended mandate to lead his party until the end of next year. The concurrent convention of the senior government party voted according to expectations, with 439 delegates for and 24 against. Mr Nečas took the opportunity to praise the results of the government thus far, which he said meet 80% of the Civic Democrats’ platform. He also called for policy and media cohesion within the party and the government. The next vote on the leadership of the Civic Democratic Party will likely be in the autumn of next year after regional and senatorial elections.
Three Czechs are being charged with espionage in Zambia. According to the local press, they were arrested in the capital, Lusaka, for making sketches of an air force base and barracks. They were released on bail on Friday, but their passports were taken to prevent them from leaving the country. A relative of one of the suspects told the Czech Press Agency they had come to the country as tourists after a business trip to South Africa, and had been casually photographing buildings in the city. The Czech ambassador in Zimbabwe is attending to their case.
A demonstration is being held in Prague on Saturday to protest government reforms. Some three thousand people gathered at Prague’s Náměstí Republiky in the early afternoon, calling for the resignation of the premier and his cabinet. They then began a march across Old Town to Malostránské Náměstí to attend speeches by politicians and activists. The demonstration is organised by the left-wing ProAlt initiative, trade unions and other organisations.
Education Minister Josef Dobeš says next year’s 1.2 billion crown budget cut for colleges will be compensated from EU funds. Responding to criticism from academics that the cut will damage the quality of schooling, Mr Dobeš said that up to 40 billion crowns in EU funding would be available over the next three years for science and education. Prague however, as a wealthy region, will not be eligible for the funding. The education minister said it was unfortunate that the economic situation in the Czech Republic could not allow the ministry to have the money it needs and deserves. While the total budget for college funding will be lower, the number of students is steadily increasing, nearly doubling in ten years.
Senator Veronika Vrecionová of the Civic Democratic Party has released a statement saying that Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra is the father of her 19-year-old son. Mr Vondra confirmed the statement, and both told the news website Týden.cz that the admission was in response to an attempt to discredit them ahead of the Civic Democrat convention this weekend. Both politicians have families of their own, which they say are aware of the situation.