The Polish police and border guards have been put on alert over a three-week-old baby girl who was kidnapped in the Czech city of Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday, Czech TV reported on Saturday quoting Polish media. The girl was snatched from a carriage in front of her mother by a man who reportedly spoke German and drove off in a VW car towards Germany. The Czech police alerted their colleagues in Germany and Poland and asked them for cooperation. Polish media report the kidnappers might be heading towards Belarus.
Several Czech Romany groups on Saturday called for a boycott of Monday’s official ceremony in commemoration of Romany victims of the Holocaust. Prime Minister Petr Nečas and other officials are to attend the event held at the site of a former concentration camp in Lety, in southern Bohemia; however, some Romany representatives said the government should first remove a large pig farm built on the site of the camp after the war. The farm’s existence has been a controversial issue in the Czech society for years; attempts by several Czech governments to remove failed due to high relocation costs demanded by the farm’s owners.
Meteorologists on Saturday warned against strong thunderstorms that will hit the north of the country later in the day. Up to 70 mm of precipitation is expected to fall in the region which could swell local rivers as the soil is already soaked by previous rain. Storms, heavy rain and strong winds have been causing problems in the Czech Republic over past several days. Fallen trees block roads and railway lines in many parts of the country and dozens of people were rescued from their flooded homes.
The Czech military has lost capacity to perform tasks arising from its international commitments and treaties, the army’s new chief of staff, Petr Pavel told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Saturday. General Pavel said either the army will have to restructure, get more funds from the state budget or re-define its role. The new chief of staff also said that under his command, the army would be more open in expressing its views and recommendations. Lieutenant General Petr Pavel assumed the post of the army’s chief of staff last month when he replaced Vlastimil Picek. He served in the UN peace-keeping force in the Balkans and commanded a Czech special operations unit before becoming deputy chief of staff in 2011.
The 47th edition of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival concludes on Saturday with an awards ceremony at the Thermal Hotel. The Crystal Globe awards will be handed to the creators of the winning film and the winners of individual categories. US actress Susan Sarandon is set to receive an award for her contribution to world cinema. More then 11,000 people attended the festival which offered over 200 movies, 23 of them in world premieres. The news agency ČTK reported on Saturday many critics and guests at the festival were disappointed with the main competition this year which included films with brutal and naturalist scenes better suited for an independent film event.
Prague authorities are planning to re-examine all taxi drivers in their knowledge of the capital next year, the ČTK news agency reported on Saturday quoting draft legislation. Cab drivers with valid licenses will also have to pass the tests as the validity of their certification will be cut short by the bill. The planed move has been criticized by the city’s taxi drivers association which says the new legislation will do nothing to limit the numbers of illegal drivers.
A 56-year-old man shot a 45-year-old woman and her 26-year old son in Třinec, in the northeast of the country, on Friday night, a spokesman for the regional police force said. The wounded man died in hospital while the attacker committed suicide. The police said it was not clear what triggered the incident; the 56-year-old shooter reportedly entered an apartment and opened fire at his victims, chasing them into the street where he later shot himself.
Fire fighters rescued 39 people from homes flooded by heavy rain on Thursday night and saved 30 lives across the country, a spokeswoman for the service said. Storms with rain and strong winds hit the Czech Republic on Thursday; hundreds of homes have been left without power in many parts of Bohemia. Firefighters responded nearly 850 times during the night, five times the usual number of operations. The storms also disrupted traffic in several parts of the Czech Republic, mainly in northern and southern Bohemia and in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. The storm also disrupted one of the country’s biggest music festivals, Rock for People in Hradec Králové in eastern Bohemia.
Czech police continue their search for a newborn baby who was kidnapped in Ústí nad Labem, in the north of the country, on Wednesday. The police said a man who spoke with a strong German accent snatched the baby from her carriage, took her into his car and drove off towards the German border. The investigators asked German police for cooperation, and on Friday, they again searched the surroundings of the motorway connecting Ústí with the German border. They are also reviewing camera records from the Czech and German part of the motorway.
July 6 is a Czech public holiday commemorating the execution of the mediaeval church reformer Jan Hus who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1415. Dozens of people gathers in Prague’s Wenceslas Square to mark the anniversary, and to protests against the current government. At a service in Prague, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, which acknowledges Jan Hus as its predecessor, has declared the tree years before the 600th anniversary “the Hussite Triennium” to highlight Hus’ significance. Religious services were also held at Jan Hus’ birthplace in Husinec, in southern Bohemia.