The STAN party of mayors and independents agreed to continue their association with the TOP 09 group. At their congress in Prague on Friday, STAN delegates agreed to continue cooperating on the national level with the right-of-centre TOP 09 group until 2017. The STAN won three seats in the lower house on TOP 09 ballots. Friday’s STAN conference was addressed by President Miloš Zeman, who told party delegates he supported some of their priorities including the direct election of mayors.
Prague’s Václav Havel International Airport has cancelled 32 flights on Friday due to dense fog in the capital. Another dozen incoming flights have been diverted to airports in Brno, Ostrava and Dresden, Germany, a spokeswoman for the airport said. The cancelled flights include connections to Amsterdam, Berlin, Zurich, and other European destinations. More arriving flights could be cancelled later on Friday if dense fog persists.
A court in Ostrava on Friday sentenced a 39-year-old man to ten years in prison for killing a Romany man with a crossbow. The killing occurred in the north-eastern town of Chotěbuz last April when four Romany men searched for scrap metal outside the convicted man’s house. The man said he though they were thieves; he told them to leave and fired a bolt at them as they were getting in the car, hitting one of them in the head. The man later died in hospital. The court rejected the man’s claim he acted in self-defence and said the attacker was aware he could inflict severe injuries.
A court in Prague on Friday cleared two men of robbery charges. The men had been sentenced to 10 and 12 years in jail, respectively, for robbing 154 million crowns from a cash van in Prague in 2002; one of the men was tried in absentia. However, the trial was reopened last year after he was extradited from the Dominican Republic. On Friday, the court said there was no reliable evidence showing the men in fact took part in the crime.
Meteorologists have declared flood alert on several rivers mainly n in the north and west of the Czech Republic. Heavy rain has also swollen the Vltava in Prague where City Hall on Friday closed sections of the embankment. Up to 70 mm of precipitation is expected to fall in the borderland regions over the weekend.
The family of American national Kevin Dahlgren, who is suspected of murdering four relatives in the Czech Republic, has hired top US lawyer Theodore Simon to represent their son. Mr Simon was one of the lawyers instrumental in securing freedom for American student Amanda Knox and has handled celebrity cases. Last week, Kevin Dahlgren avoided arrest in the Czech Republic after the murders were discovered but was detained upon arrival back in the US. His lawyer has said a bail decision should be taken next week. The Czech Republic is preparing an extradition request, although the United States rarely extradites its citizens.
Representatives of the Prague branches of TOP 09 and the opposition Social Democrats have held talks but failed to agree on a potential coalition at City Hall. According to the Social Democrats, the two parties were unable to agree on a majority of conditions on Thursday; further talks were not officially ruled-out and the Social Democrats are expected at the weekend or on Monday to discuss their next step. The party’s Miroslav Poche was critical, accusing TOP 09 of not wanting to find real solutions or comprise on problems faced by the city. He went on to suggest that a new agreement between TOP 09 and members of the rightist Civic Democrats was at this point more likely.
The Czech Republic has become the world´s 29th country to gain the right to participate in decision-making about Antarctica, the Czech Foreign Ministry revealed in a press release. The decision to grant the country the privilege was taken at a meeting of parties to the Antarctic Treaty in Brussels; consultative status had not been granted to any state for almost a decade. The full-fledged position is given only to states that conduct substantial scientific research in Antarctica. The Czech Republic has its own polar research station on James Ross Island.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas has evaluated his four-day trip to Russia as successful, saying that the Czech delegation fulfilled all of their basic objectives. A group of Czech businesspeople travelling with the premier signed a number of lucrative contracts in different regions of the country worth billions of crowns. Mr Nečas is hoping that this trip will open the way for even more business opportunities for Czech companies in the future. At the end of the visit, he was also able to briefly meet with some members of Russian non-governmental organizations.
Around 500 people participated in an anti-Roma demonstration organized in the north-Bohemian town of Duchcov on Wednesday evening in response to a violent attack on a couple by a group of Romanies in the town a few days prior. The demonstration drew a number of potentially-violent right-wing extremists: during an inspection of vehicles entering the town, the police confiscated 22 weapons including baseball bats, machetes and other items. One man was detained during the demonstration itself for disorderly conduct.
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