Czech prime minister Petr Nečas is currently in Afghanistan visiting Czech troops serving in the ISAF mission. His schedule on Sunday was altered, however, due to security concerns, the Czech news agency reported. A day earlier, a suicide attack in Wardak province, in the form of a massive truck bomb near a Nato military base, claimed the lives of at least 12 people. No Nato personnel were killed, but two were injured. One Czech soldier was in the area at the time but was unhurt; some military equipment, including Czech-owned equipment, was damaged. The visit to Afghanistan by Petr Nečas is his first as prime minister; currently more than 500 Czech personnel are serving in the country.
A snake breeder, who was bitten by a poisonous cobra in the area of Bruntál, remains in serious condition in a hospital in Karviná. The patient, who remains in an induced coma, was bitten at around 11 am on Saturday while feeding the animal and transferred to hospital. He has since received four shots of antiserum and is responding as expected, a hospital spokeswoman said. The antiserum was delivered from Munich, Germany on Saturday evening, ČTK confirmed; the antiserum needed to be provided within 24 hours.
A pilot, a member of the Hoppers Flight Jet team, was killed in a crash at the Quad-City air show in Iowa on Saturday, operating a Czechoslovak-built L-39 training jet designed in the 1960s. The plane, which had been flying in formation shortly before the tragedy, crashed into a field near a busy interstate highway, said sources; there were no other deaths or injuries. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
Sunday is the last day for Czech citizens living abroad to register to vote in the upcoming Senate elections. Unlike elections to the Chamber of Deputies, voters casting their ballot for senators must do so on Czech soil. The first and second rounds will take place in October. Czech expats, unlike voters at home, can cast their ballot for whichever senator they prefer, from whichever region. An electronic system could replace the complicated method of expat voting within two years, per an Interior Ministry proposal.
Presidential hopeful Miloš Zeman, a former prime minister and former chairman of the Social Democratic Party, has heavily criticized the sacking of former police president Petr Lessy. Mr Lessy was fired on Wednesday after being charged with libel against a former colleague and abuse of public office. The move, unusually swift, preceded the naming of new police president Martin Červíček. According to Mr Zeman, the move to replace Lessy – who had been at odds with both the interior and finance ministers as well as Prime Minister Petr Nečas – would fuel speculation that investigations into serious corruption cases would be swept under the carpet. He called the move a “major political mistake”.
There were more than 825,000 diabetes patients in the Czech Republic last year; 2011 saw 19,000 new cases registered. The number of patients relying on proper diet alone dropped to 131,000, while the number requiring medication went up. In 2011, 23,290 people with diabetes died; in 2,378 cases, the disease was a factor behind cause of death. The chairman of the Czech Diabetes Association, Milan Kvapil, told the Czech news agency Type-2 diabetes sufferers - especially those ignoring the dangers of the illness - on average died ten years earlier than healthy individuals.
The Czech Rally Zlín, part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, was cancelled on Sunday after a spectator was killed and another injured after a crash on stage 13. Václav Kopáček and Tomáš Singer’s Subaru flew off the road and collided with the two viewers at the Halenkovice stage. Organisers said the two were in an off-limits zone. The deceased is a 54-year-old man; the other spectator, who survived with light injuries, is reoprtedly a Hungarian national. The incident is under investigation by the police.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová faces French player Marion Bartoli in
the fourth round at the US Open on Sunday; Kvitová is the only female
player in 2012 to reach at least the quarterfinal stage at three grand
slam events. On Friday, the left-handed player defeated another
player, Pauline Parmentier, 6:4, 6:4.
Earlier, RP reported that Kvitová was playing in the quarterfinals on Sunday. RP regrets the error.
September 1 sees broad changes in public transit routes in the Czech capital come into effect. Czech daily Lidové noviny points out two-thirds of tram and bus routes have seen modification: some routes have been cancelled altogether, while some stops as well as intervals between trams or busses have changed. According to the newspaper, the ‘revolution’ in transit (as it describes it) could be chaotic for commuters, not least for seniors used to relying on long-term routes. The changes by the Prague Transit Authority were introduced to save more than 400 million crowns.
Police statistics have revealed that 140 people died in road accidents
over the summer. The number is the same as last year - the lowest number
road fatalities in the country since 1990, ČTK reported.
In related news, the final summer fatality was a 14-year-old school girl - tragically struck by a car at a crossing in Prague on Friday. The vehicle was impacted in a crash and sent flying, hitting the teenage pedestrian. She died at the scene.
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