Police in Prague last year recorded the second lowest rate of homicide since 1990. The metropolis saw 29 cases of murder in 2011, of which 26 were solved. Only the previous year, 2010, saw fewer homicides, when 22 cases were investigated. The total number of punishable offences however rose in 2011 by roughly 10%. The majority of cases, 57%, were committed by repeat offenders, while first-time offenders were responsible for only 5% of solved crimes. Police also recorded a rise in wilful property damage while other property crimes, such as car theft, were down. Crime in Prague accounted for nearly a fourth of criminality in the Czech Republic.
The opposition Social Democratic Party has proposed six bills aimed at decreasing the indebtedness of Czech households. The series of bills looks to limit contractual fines, introduce an obligation to ask a debtor to pay before filing a lawsuit, and integrate orders for property seizures. The government says it is willing to discuss the legislation and is already considering some of the measures. The party says that Czech households owe more than a billion crowns and often end up in debt traps, one of the reasons for which they believe are the harsh conditions of debt collection.
The Club for Old Prague and neighbours at Hradčany in Prague have filed a complaint with the zoning commission against the refurbishment of a historical building to become the Václav Havel Library. The contested modifications to the 16th century building include primarily the scope of the cellar under the courtyard, which they say is overdesigned, superfluous and could endanger the stability of even the surrounding buildings. Neighbours are also concerned that the construction could open underground water sources.
Members of the government, including Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra, have met in Prague with an Iraqi delegation including Iraq’s acting minister of defense Saadoun al-Dulaimi. On Monday they discussed the possible purchase of Czech-made L-159 fighter jets to Iraq, but said no final deal had been reached yet. Negotiations are to continue. The Iraqi minister confirmed his country’s, while Mr Vondra said he was “optimistic”. Mr al-Dulaimi also confirmed that Iraq was not only interested in older existing planes from Aero Vodochody, but also in commissioning new aircraft. Iraq is reportedly seeking to acquire around 20 planes for its military.
The district court for Prague 10 handed a doctor at Prague’s Royal Vinohrady Teaching Hospital an eight-month two-year suspended sentence and a two-year ban on working in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology. The ruling was in response to mistakes made during the birth of a baby in 2009 which left the newborn paralysed. The court said the doctor was present without proper attestation at what had been a complicated birth, stressing that he should have called in a colleague who had the required experience. According to commercial broadcaster TV Prima, the baby suffered brain damage as a result of the mistakes. The ruling has been appealed by the defendant.
University representatives have expressed surprise over the tone and reaction of Education Minister Josef Dobeš, who called in Charles University head Václav Hampl on Monday to explain last Thursday’s protest against the government’s planned reforms to the higher education system. According to news website idnes, Mr Hampl was criticised by the minister for allegedly encouraging the protest last week. That has drawn a sharp response from the Czech Rectors Conference, who defended Mr Hampl and called the education minister’s move “inappropriate”. Last Thursday, several hundred students and professors slammed the planned reforms in front of the seat of the government and held a protest happening at the Faculty of Law building. Demonstrators expressed opposition to plans they fear will limit academic freedoms and make it more difficult for students to pay off student loans.
Traffic on the D1 highway in the direction of Brno was blocked for roughly an hour on Monday morning after a deadly crash claimed one life and left another person in serious condition. The accident involved a Škoda Superb sedan and a transport truck. A woman in the passenger’s seat of the sedan was killed and the driver sustained heavy injuries which emergency services said were serious but not “life threatening”. The crash took place near Průhonice, just outside of Prague.
Last year’s national census has confirmed that Prague currently has more inhabitants than in any previous period in its history. According to the results, the current population is 1,272,690 people – 104,000 more than a decade ago. The information was revealed on Monday by the head of the census in Prague Eva Vojtová. According to the official, a rise in the number of foreign nationals moving to the city had contributed most to the numbers; foreign nationals, including Slovaks, Ukrainians and Russians, reportedly make up 14 percent of Prague’s residents. Out of the country’s 14 districts, the census revealed that Prague has the largest aging population.
Police in Trutnov, North Bohemia, have revealed that an explosive device uncovered at a small local hotel and restaurant in Mladé Buky last November was fully functional. Trutnov police are continuing to investigate key details in the case, including possible motives. In November 2011, the device was found and reported by the site’s owner. The site and nearby area had to be temporarily closed off when it was removed by specialists.
Police investigators have detained a 45-year-old man in the Brno area on suspicion of car theft; three BMW SUVs, believed to have been stolen in Vienna and worth seven million crowns, were found in his garage, South Moravian police chief Tomáš Kužel said. A BMW X5 and a Škoda Superb, which may also have been stolen in Austria, were also confiscated at the scene; if found guilty, the man could face up to eight years in prison.