Czech customs officers found 15 young Syrians in the back of a Hungarian lorry during a routine check near the Rozvadov border crossing in West Bohemia. The Syrians were without proper papers and are believed to have been intercepted on their way to nearby Germany. They have all been detained by the police. The 15 were hidden in a space at the back of the lorry no bigger than 2 cubic metres.
Czech police stepped up checks on motorists during the Easter break with around 3,000 transport police and other officers drafted in for the now traditional clampdown. Police say Easter is one of the most dangerous periods of the year for road safety. The stepped up controls have paid off with the number of accidents down in recent years according to the police. Last year four people died on the roads over the Easter break, five years earlier in 2009 the total was 15. Around 50,000 checks were carried out last year with infringements found in around a quarter of cases.
The Czech national ice hockey team beat Norway 4:0 in the first of a series of preparatory matches ahead of the World Championships being hosted by Prague and Ostrava from the start of May. Norwegian goal tender Haugen kept a clean sheet in spite of heavy pressure until the 17th minute when Vladimír Svačina scored. Back Jan Kolár added a second in the 33rd with Vojtěch Mozík and Martin Zaťovič scoring in the final period. Norwegian pressure intensified in the final period. Czech assistant coach Ondřej Weissmann said he was well satisfied with the performance but pointed out that the players could be sharper in some of the attacks.
In ice hockey, Litvínov secured the first place in the Extra League finals after a 3:2 extra time win against Kometa Brno on Friday night. The win secured Litvínov an insurmountable 4:1 advantage in the best of seven series. The hero of the duel was Martin Ručinsky who scored the winning goal in the 68th minute. A minute earlier he blocked two clear strikes on an open goal by Kometa’s forward Petr Ton. It is the first final for Litvínov in 19 years. They will face the winner of the ongoing match between Sparta Prague and Třinec which currently stands at 2:2.
In tennis, Tomáš Berdych lost 4:6, 4:6 in the semi-final of the Miami Open against Scot Andy Murray. Berdych, who came into the match with a 6:5 advantage in matches against Murray, dropped his serve early in both sets and struggled to recover. The Czech said he was surprised by Murray’s attacking play. Berdych lost at the same stage of the Australian Open against Murray earlier in the year in four sets. Murray goes on to face Novak Djokovic in the final.
The Czech Republic has received a second warning from the European Commission about air pollution levels in some cities. The latest warning focuses on continued excess dust emissions in the air in the Ostrava and Ústí regions. The EU rules allow the limits to be exceeded 35 times a year but the number of times the limit has been passed this year is already approaching 100 in part of Ostrava and was passed 116 times at Věrňovice near the Polish border in the far east of the country. The Commission can take the Czech Republic to the European Court of Justice, which can impose sanctions, for breaking the rules. The Ministry of Environment says it is taking steps to tackle the urban pollution in the worst areas. The first warning over air pollution was delivered in 2013.
A court on Friday agreed to detain the former head auditor of Prague’s Na Homolce Hospital in police custody. The request from the state prosecutor was accepted on the grounds that Emilie Bialešová might try to influence witnesses who still have to give evidence if she was left free. Bialešová was one of six suspects who this week were revealed to be under police investigation for rigging tenders. The charges are linked to tenders for medical, legal, consultancy and accounting services held by the hospital with bribes allegedly sought for winning the orders. Separately, the head of the hospital, Vladimír Dbalý, was released on bail on condition after paying a caution of half a million crowns on Friday.
Prague is considering making improvements to a newly completed metro station serving airport passengers which was revealed to be missing an escalator. City Hall’s head of transport policy said that a new escalator or equipment for carrying baggage. Transport officials and planners were left embarrassed this week which it was revealed that there was no escalator at the new Veleslavímn station meaning that passengers getting off to get the airport bus were faced with a series of stairs. Prague airport suggested it could deploy special porters to deal with the problem. Prague councilman Petr Dolínek said that the changes could be made without endangering previous EU funding.
Two very poisonous black cobra snakes have been adopted by a special anti-corruption police unit. The two reptiles are currently located at the Dvůr Králové zoo and will in no case be joining their new patrons. The so-called Kobra tax unit is giving 18,000 crowns a year for the upkeep of the long living snakes who are estimated each to swallow their way through around 40 rodents a month. While the donations could be tax deductible the tax enforcers say they not likely to be making any claims. The KOBRA unit was created in mid-2014 and already reckoned to have save the state around 1.7 billion crowns.
Police are searching for a former manager of the Valtice castle in South Moravia on suspicions that he damaged 58 painting left in the castle’s care. The paintings were the works of 39 artists from six countries with their combined value estimated at 4.6 million crowns. The works had been left following an annual art show held every year at the castle. The manager initially called police to the castle after he told them the works had disappeared. They thought an organized gang had taken them but suspicion later switched to the manger himself after frames were found broken and partly burnt and the works missing.