Record temperatures for July 28 were seen at over 110 weather stations around the Czech Republic on Sunday, which forecasters said could turn out to be the hottest day of the year. Among the places where records were broken was Prague’s Karlov, which registered 37.5 degrees Celsius. Some 15 people were treated in the capital after collapsing due to the heat. There were long queues at outdoor swimming pools around the country, with some pools registering record attendance, the Czech News Agency reported. Forecasters say the current extreme heat will continue in the eastern part of the Czech Republic until Monday evening. A wave of storms bringing strong winds, hail and heavy rain showers is expected to cross the country from west to east in the course of Monday.
The minister of finance, Jan Fischer, says he is considering removing former MPs from the supervisory boards of state-controlled companies. Speaking on a TV debate show on Sunday, Mr. Fischer said that ex-Civic Democrat deputies Marek Šnajdr, Ivan Fuksa, Alexandr Vondr and Zdeněk Zajíček were not, in his view, experts. Mr. Šnajdr and Mr. Fuksa were among three former Civic Democrat MPs who were offered lucrative positions at semi-state companies soon after quitting the Chamber of Deputies, so allowing the government to survive late last year. The state prosecutor asserted that the alleged exchange constituted bribery, an allegation that contributed to the fall of the cabinet of Petr Nečas in June; however, charges against the three have been dropped.
The number two man in the Social Democrats, Michal Hašek, is the MP who missed the most votes in the Czech lower house in the first six months of this year, according to research published by the group KohoVolit.eu. One Communist deputy made fewer votes, although she had a baby at the start of the year, while MPs Roman Pekárek and David Rath are in jail, with the latter on remand. KohoVolit.eu said Mr. Hašek has had a poor record of participation in votes for some time.
The Office for the Protection of Personal Data has fined Czech Post for monitoring the routes of postal delivery workers using devices equipped with GPS technology, Czech Television has reported. While the fine was a token CZK 80,000, the country’s postal service operator has changed its practices, no longer employing blanket monitoring of employees in the field and processing the data acquired differently, Czech TV said. Czech Post said it had introduced the system so as to be able to investigate complaints from clients who said delivery staff had not rung at their door when attempting to deliver a parcel. A spokesperson for Czech Post said it now used a system under which they can monitor whether deliverers reached a certain point a certain time.
Police in Prague are searching for the parents of a small girl who was abandoned in the centre of the city on Saturday night. The father of the child, who is believed to be around two years old, left her with some homeless people on the city’s main thoroughfare, Wenceslas Square, saying he would come back in five minutes. However, he did not return. The homeless group gave her to a passer-by, who called the police. Officers have appealed for information but also said they had a good idea of the identity of the father.
Czechs and Slovaks have held an annual celebration of brotherhood on Mount Velká Javořina, which is on the border of the two states. Hot weather attracted several thousand people from both sides of the frontier to Sunday’s event, which was the 21st in succession, honouring the two nations’ shared past. One Slovak man told the Czech News Agency that he had run into two former colleagues that he had not seen since the peaceful split of Czechoslovakia at the beginning of 1993.
The ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr, who is 41, has said he may play for the Czech Republic at next year’s Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi. However, the website iSport.cz quoted Jágr as saying he would only go to the Games if the coach wants him and he feels that he ranks among the best Czech players; he said he did not want anybody to believe he was only called up because of his name. The right wing, who was part of the Czech team that won Olympic gold at Nagano in 1998, recently joined the NHL club the New Jersey Devils.
Around 150 students of the Czech language from around the world have gathered in Prague for the Summer School of Slavonic Studies. The course, which is being held for the 57th time this year, is organised by the Institute of Czech Studies at the Arts Faculty of Charles University. Alongside language classes, it includes cultural events and day trips. An accompanying symposium entitled The Czech Language in the World and the World in the Czech Language will be attended by around four dozen leading Czech studies experts from around the globe.
The hot weather which the Czech Republic has experienced since last week is set to continue. According to a monthly forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday, temperatures in the period between July 29 and August 25 should be above average, while the coming week will almost certain see above thermometers recording relatively high values for the time of year. The forecasters say that rainfall levels will be average or below average in the next month.
Supreme State Attorney Pavel Zeman on Friday halted the prosecution of three former MPs charged with bribe taking. The three former Civic Democrat deputies were accused of having agreed to quit their seats in the lower house in return for posts in state-run firms. Last month, they were taken into custody in a police operation that led to the fall of the government. But last week, the Supreme Court ruled their alleged offences were covered by their parliamentary immunity. The case now returns to prosecutors who should decide on further action. The prosecution of the ex-prime minister Nečas’s chief of staff, and of another former official, charged in the same case, can go ahead after minor modifications, according the Supreme State Attorney.