The Czech rail state company has signalled it is pressing ahead with a project to construct the biggest railway tunnel in the Czech Republic by christening a new tunnel-boring machine on Friday. The Ejpovice tunnel on the line from Rokycany to Pilsen, consisting of two 4.5 km single-track tunnels, will shorten the original 20 kilometre stretch of line by more than six kilometres and will halve the running time taken by trains. Construction work is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
The Czech Republic risks losing out on 5.5 million litres of oil from its strategic reserve which it claims was stored in Germany. The insolvency administrator for Viktoriagruppe, a German company managing Czech oil reserves, has denied that the oil held at their German facility belongs to the Czech Republic. News of that rebuff was passed on by the chairman of the Administration of State Material Reserves, Pavel Švagr, on Friday. The state fuel reserve company ČEPRO has already transferred some of the reserves from Viktoriagruppe’s storage sites in the Czech Republic into facilities under its direct control.
The human rights NGO, the Czech Helsinki Committee, wants to file a complaint with international children rights organisations over the steps taken by the Norwegian authorities in the case of two Czech children who were taken from their parent’s care and each was placed with different foster parents. The Norwegian authorities took the step on suspicion the children were being sexually abused, although the case was later dropped by the police. The Czech Helsinki Committee argues that the decisions made were in violation of the children’s basic rights.
Fuel prices in the Czech Republic have continued to drop this week. The price of the country’s most popular petrol, Natural 95, has dropped below CZK 30 per litre for the first time since 2010, according to figures released by the Czech company CCS on Friday. The average price of petrol on Thursday reached CZK 29.97. The lowest price of petrol was recorded in 2008 and 2009, when it dropped below CZK 23 per litre.
Nearly 2,000 pigs have been killed in a fire at a farm in Kojetice in the Přerov region in east Moravia. Firefighters were called to the site at around 5 a.m. on Friday and took several hours to bring the blaze under control. The cause of the incident is being investigated. The damage to the building is estimated at over five million crowns.
The governor of the Czech National Bank, Miroslav Singer, has said that the crown could be held at or above the target rate of 27 crowns to the euro for longer than originally expected. Singer made the comments in an interview with the Slovak daily Hospodářskė Noviny, adding that it was difficult to see any call for more stringent economic measures in the future. The crown strengthened against the euro in the wake of the announcement by the European Central Bank Thursday that it would inject up to 1.2 billion euros into Eurozone economies. The 27 crown target was set in November 2013.
The crime rate in the Czech Republic fell significantly last year. Some 288,660 crimes were committed last year, which is over 11 percent fewer than the number recorded in 2013, the president of the Czech Police, Tomáš Tuhý, told journalists on Friday. The police had solved 49 percent of all cases reported, which is five percent more than in the previous year. The number of investigated cases dropped below 300,000 for the first time over the past ten years.
A court in Brno has cleared the publishers of Adolf Hitler’s speeches of charges of propagating Nazism. The regional court on Friday upheld the verdict of a court in Brno issued in September last year, which found no evidence that the collection of Hitler’s speeches promoted the Nazi ideology. Two co-owners of a Brno-based publishing house, Guidemedia, and an editor faced up to ten years in jail on charges of propagating Nazism. The book, which was released in 2012, consists of 18 addresses delivered by the Nazi dictator between 1939 and 1942.
Kim Pyong-il, son of Kim Il-sung, dictator and founder of the North Korean totalitarian regime, will be the new North Korean ambassador to the Czech Republic, the E15.cz news site reported. Kim Pyong-il will take office after handing his credentials to Czech President Milos Zeman. Kim Pyong-il has been an ambassador in several European countries since 1979, including Yugoslavia, Hungary, Finland and Poland.
Ester Ledecká took the women’s gold medal in parallel slalom at the Snowboard World Championship in Lachtal, Austria on Thursday. The youngest competitor in the women's event, 19-year-old Ledecká won the title after her final opponent, Olympic champion Julia Dujmovits of Austria, was disqualified for sliding off course.