The Social Democrats and ANO have agreed on two key positions as part of ongoing talks on forming a coalition government with the Christian Democrats. After a meeting at Průhonice near Prague on Saturday, negotiators said ANO would fill the post of minister of finance, while the Social Democrats would get the position of speaker of the Chamber of Deputies. The chairman of the Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, says Jan Hamáček is in the frame for the latter post, though ANO have not indicated who their choice is for finance minister. Party leaders said they had also made headway on the divisive issue of taxation. The Social Democrats got 20.45 percent of the vote in elections four weeks ago, with ANO coming second on 18.65 percent.
The minister of labour of social affairs in the interim government in resignation, František Koníček, has filed four criminal complaints in connection with projects implemented by his predecessors, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. Three of the projects involved Jaromír Drábek, who was minister from July 2010 to October last year, and his then deputy Vladimír Šiška, the newspaper said. One of the complaints concerns a contract to supply IT systems for social welfare payments, which was allegedly agreed without a public tender. Mr. Šiška already faced different charges over a disputed CZK 1 billion deal for a system intended to increase the efficiency of social welfare payments.
Police in South Africa have arrested the Czech fugitive Radovan Krejčíř on suspicion of attempted murder and kidnapping. At a news conference on Saturday, the head of the country’s police force said they would not reveal where Mr. Krejčíř, who will be arraigned in court on Monday, was being held. Mr. Krejčíř has been found guilty of tax evasion and embezzlement in the Czech Republic and fled the country after escaping during a police search of his home. He has been linked to a number of serious crimes in South Africa in the last six years and has been arrested several times.
The oldest woman in the Czech Republic, Greek-born Evangelia Čarasová, died on Friday at the age of 109. She had been living in Osoblažsko in the very east of the country for over six decades. Born in February 1904, she was one of over 10,000 Greeks who were admitted to Czechoslovakia after fleeing the civil war in Greece at the end of the 1940s. Though she understood Czech, she only spoke Greek.
Despite the fact he will turn 42 during the Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi in February, the ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr says he does not rule out also representing the Czech Republic in the following Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. Jágr told the Star-Ledger newspaper that people had laughed when he said he would play at the World Championships in Prague in 2015, but that was now just a year away. The Kladno-born legend has just scored his 690th NHL goal, tying with the great Mario Lemieux on the league’s all-time scoring list.
Former Czech national team manager Karel Brückner has turned down the chance of taking the helm at the club Viktoria Plzeň. Brückner who recently turned 74 led a Czech team featuring the likes of Pavel Nedved and Karel Poborsky to the semi-finals of Euro 2004 but has not worked since 2009. Plzeň offered him the job following the news that Pavel Vrba, who has led the club to unprecedented success, will become national team boss in January.
Daytime temperatures in the next four weeks should hover around 0 degrees Celsius, which is normal for the time of year, the Czech Hyrdro-Meteorological Institute said in a monthly forecast issued on Saturday. However, the next week should see above average temperatures around 3 degrees Celsius, the forecasters said, adding that rainfall would also be relatively low.
The police on Friday arrested a suspect in Plzeň allegedly behind an anonymous bomb threat. The 34-year-old man, who reportedly is suffering from psychiatric problems, called Czech Airlines on Friday morning, stating that terrorists armed with a bomb were on board a flight from Frankfurt to Prague’s Václav Havel airport. The Foreigners’ police as well as emergency crews and pyrotechnics experts were called to the scene. The plane landed at around 10:40 am; the identities of all 144 passengers were checked and investigators have conducted a search of the aircraft. The running of the airport was otherwise unaffected.
The police in Zlín have concluded an investigation into a methanol poisoning case dating back to September 2012. Bootleg liquor containing the deadly chemical methanol claimed the lives of 47 people. Thirty-one suspects in the region have been charged, seven of whom face charges of having endangered the public, a crime which carries a 20-year sentence. The police believe three people were behind the production of bootleg liquor: a man who produced the deadly mix and his accomplice, both of whom were based in central Bohemia, and the main distributor who operated from Zlín. In total, more than 70 people are charged in the case.
Prague’s Municipal Court sentenced a 59-year-old man (charged with killing his ex-wife using methanol he poured into a bottle of vodka) to 11 years in prison on Friday. Although the couple were divorced, they lived in the same home. The suspect claimed he never intended to hurt anyone but had mixed in the methanol out of curiosity. The prosecution maintained he committed the murder, which took place in March, hoping it would be linked to methanol poisoning which claimed more than 40 lives in the Czech Republic last year. The suspect has appealed the decision.
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