Two Czechs held in Greece on spying charges are set to be released on bail, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday. Martin Pezlar and Ivan Buchta, who were arrested in September, are computer game developers. They maintain that they were only taking photographs near a Greek military base as part of work on a new project. Their lawyer said they should be released on bail in a couple of days, when they would be able to return to the Czech Republic. The Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, informed Czech leader Petr Nečas of the decision.
The Civic Democrats have endorsed Karel Schwarzenberg, chairman of the party’s coalition partner TOP 09, in the second round of an election to succeed Václav Klaus as president that takes place at the end of next week. The Civic Democrats’ own candidate, Přemsyl Sobotka, came second last in the nine-candidate first round at the weekend. He had already given his backing to Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg, who faces left-wing former prime minister Miloš Zeman in the runoff to become the third president of the Czech Republic.
Mr. Zeman’s campaign team plan to devote more attention to reaching voters on internet social networking sites; his success in targeting users of such sites is seen as one reason Mr. Schwarzenberg managed to come second in the first round at the expense of long-time opinion poll leader Jan Fischer. A spokesperson for Mr. Zeman’s team told the news website novinky.cz they wanted to show young people a “different Schwarzenberg” and to highlight his part in increases in the prices of foods and medicines and support for university fees.
An evening of free concerts will be held in support of Mr. Schwarzenberg on January 20 under the name Sunday Night with Karel. The events will be held in Prague and six other towns and cities and will feature several quite well-known musicians. The candidate appeared on stage at a show in Prague a few days before round one during a concert that attracted a number of big showbiz names.
The state attorney has decided to lodge a more serious charge against
influential businessman Roman Janoušek, Czech Radio reported. He was
arrested last year after, in a state of apparent inebriation, knocking down
another driver and speeding away. No details about the requalification of
the charge have been given, though Czech Radio said it appeared likely to
be attempted murder; that is because the case has been handed to the Prague
municipal state attorney’s office, which handles particularly serious
Janoušek had faced charges of intentional grievous bodily harm. The businessman, who is believed to have been close to former Prague mayor Pavel Bém and other politicians, could face up to 18 years in jail if found guilty of attempted murder.
The crime rate in the Czech Republic fell slightly last year. Some 304,528 recorded crimes were committed in 2012, which was 4 percent fewer than the number recorded in 2011, the president of the Czech Police, Martin Červíček, told journalists on Tuesday. Most were property crimes and violent crimes, he said, adding that the police had cleared up 44 percent of all cases reported.
Roman Smetana, a former bus driver found guilty of drawing antennae on politicians’ campaign posters, has received a suspended sentence from a court in Olomouc for avoiding serving a jail term. Mr. Smetana was sent to prison after refusing to carry out a community service sentence; while he at first evaded the authorities, he eventually served the 100-day term and was released before Christmas. He has become a folk hero to some and is the subject of forthcoming documentary created by the makers of Czech Dream and Czech Peace.
Sixteen Czechs have received wireless pacemakers, the head of the cardiology department of Prague’s Na Homolce hospital, Professor Petr Neužil, said on Tuesday. The patients are the first people in the world to have been fitted with the revolutionary new US-developed Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker technology, said the professor, who carried out the operations in conjunction with American experts. The devices contain a battery and a pacemaker in one and are implanted directly into the heart.
The former Czech international soccer player David Jarolím has joined the Czech top flight club Mladá Boleslav. The midfielder and former Hamburg captain, who is 33, has never previously played in the Czech league, having joined Bayern Munich as a 17-year-old. Jarolím’s father Karel was a Slavia Prague player and manager, while his brother Lukáš and cousin Marek are also professional players.
The Czech women’s tennis number one Petr Kvitová beat Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-4 2-6 6-2 in her opening match at the Australian Open on Tuesday. The one-time Wimbledon winner’s compatriot Lucie Šafářová also reached round two in Melbourne after beating the Croat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 7-6 6-4, while Lukáš Rosol did likewise by defeat Jamie Baker of the United Kingdom 7-6 7-5 6-2.