Dozens of cyclists set on a 1500-kilometre journey from Olomouc to the Vatican on Wednesday after receiving a blessing from Archbishop Jan Graubner. The participants of the ‘Tour de Franz’ want to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by parents of mentally or physically disabled children. Members of the peloton will be received by Pope Francis in the Vatican. The journey is expected to take 21 days.
Czech and Swedish police have apprehended seven people suspected of being involved in large-scale production of amphetamines, the head of the anti-drug squad of the Czech police Jakub Frydrych announced on Wednesday. Four people have been arrested in the Prague and Liberec regions and three people, including the boss, in Sweden. During the raid, the police uncovered a first laboratory in the Czech Republic to produce this type of drug. According to experts, it has produced at least 3.5 tonnes of amphetamines over the past five years, which could be sold for nearly one billion crowns in Sweden. If convicted of drugs smuggling and illegal sale of narcotics, the group’s members could each face up to 18 years in jail.
Czech poker player Vojtěch Růžička has advanced to the finals at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Czech Radio reported on Wednesday. The 30-year-old professional player will be among nine finalists to compete for prize money of eight million US dollars or nearly 200 million crowns. Over 6,700 players from 79 countries around the world have taken part in the series this year. The finals are set to take place at the turn of October and November.
Czech tennis player Nicole Vaidišová, who once ranked No.7 in the world, has announced the definitive end of her career due to long-term injuries. She made the announcement on Wednesday on her Instagram account. The 27-year- old player, who reached two Grand Slam semi-finals in 2007 and clinched 6 WTA titles, quit playing already once in 2010 after she tumbled down the world rankings. She returned to professional tennis in 2014 after a four-year pause, but hasn’t had any major success.
One-hundred and six athletes from the Czech Republic have registered for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which get under way next month. The National Olympic Committee has already sent the list to Brazil. The committee last week approved 105 nominees, who were later joined by wrestler Adéla Hanzlíčková, hammer thrower Lukáš Melich and yacht sailor Karel Lavický. On the other hand, tennis players Tomáš Berdych and Karolína Plíšková have pulled out because of concerns about the Zika virus. The Czech Olympic team will be the smallest in the history of the Czech Republic.
The energy giant ČEZ applied on Wednesday for an assessment of the environmental impact at the Dukovany nuclear power plant in case new reactors are constructed there. The analysis, known as an EIA, is necessary for reaching a decision whether or not the new blocks can be permitted and built. According to Dukovany spokesman, Jiří Bezděk, the step is part of the country’s National Action Plan for the Development of the Nuclear Energy Sector, which calls for at least one reactor to be built at Dukovany by 2037 to take over from the ageing reactors currently operating at the site.
Conservationists will not approve the plan of Prague district 5 to install a giant wheel on the embankment of the Vltava River, the head of the Prague City Hall Heritage Department Jiří Skalický told the Czech News Agency on Wednesday. Prague 5 councillors plan to install a 60 metre wheel by the river in the Smíchov district and have already signed a deal with the investor to rent the proposed site. However, as part of the UNESCO world heritage list, Prague needs to get approval from conservationist to install such a huge construction in the city centre.
A man in Ostrava’s Hrabůvka district was killed by the police on Wednesday morning during a forced eviction, the deputy of regional police chief, Radim Witta, told the Czech News Agency. The police shot the man, allegedly a former police officer, after he had fired at the bailiff and a woman assisting at the eviction. It is not yet clear how seriously they were injured.
The regional court in Brno has sentenced US citizen Kevin Dahlgren to life in prison for the murder of four people in the city in 2013. Delivering the verdict on Wednesday, judge Michal Zámečník said that the 24-year-old had seen his victims as “representatives of a frustrating world”, adding that Dahlgren’s personality disorders meant there was a high risk he could kill again. After murdering four relatives of his in the Brno district of Ivanovice the American immediately fled to the US; last year he became the first citizen of his country to be extradited to the Czech Republic. Mr Dahlgren has appealed the verdict.
Average mortgage rates in the Czech Republic reached an all-time low of 1.87 percent in June, according to consultants Fincentrum, who have been monitoring the market since 2003. The average rate last month was down slightly on the 1.89 percent recorded in May. Fincentrum’s Josef Rajdl told the Czech News Agency that lenders had agreed a record number of new mortgages – over 12,000 – in the pre-holidays month of June.