Two of the three young men whom the police charged with arson in connection with the fire that ravaged a historic wooden church in Guty, Silesia have been remanded in custody. A police investigator said the youths had set fire to the church intentionally and been planning other acts of violence. One of the three is a minor. If convicted they could face up to 15 years in prison. The church, dating back to 1563 was one of the best preserved wooden churches in the country. It was completely destroyed by the fire and the damage is estimated to be tens of millions of crowns. A public collection is underway to help finance the construction of a new church.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a travel warning for several provinces in Kenya in connection with growing violence ahead of next week’s general elections. Czech nationals are advised not to travel to the country and those already there should avoid public gatherings and demonstrations. People travelling to the country have also been advised to register with the ministry’s travel data base Drozd which will facilitate assistance in the event of problems.
Thousands of motorcycle fans have descended on the Moravian metropolis of Brno for the Czech Grand Prix weekend. Practice sessions got underway on Friday morning and the 22-lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 1400 CET on a circuit situated in the hilly woods around Brno. Marc Marquez is leading the Championship on 129 points. The organizers are expecting some 200 thousand visitors.
A bus carrying 40 Czech tourists crashed in northern Italy on Friday evening. The accident happened near the town of Bolzano where the bus unexpectedly swerved off the road and crashed in a field. The driver was killed on impact, 20 tourists were taken for treatment to nearby hospitals, some of them with serious injuries. The cause of the accident is being investigated. Preliminary reports suggest the vehicle’s brakes may have failed.
Brighton have signed Czech U21 right-back Aleš Matejů from Viktoria Plzen for 2.5 million euro. The 21-year-old has penned a three-year deal at the Amex Stadium and becomes Brighton's seventh signing of the summer. Matejů joined Plzen in 2015 and helped them win the Czech First League title during his first season at the club.
Cardinal Dominik Duka celebrated a mass at St. Vitus Cathedral on Friday evening in memory of the late Cardinal František Tomášek on the 25th anniversary of his death. Cardinal Tomasek was the 34th Archbishop of Prague. During his life-long service to the Catholic Church he openly opposed the Communist regime and fought for religious freedoms.
The shareholders of the leading Kyrgyz state-owned power company have approved a multi-million dollar contract with the Czech firm Liglass Trading on the construction and operation of two hydro-electric plants in Kyrgyzstan as well as series of smaller electricity-generating projects. The contract was approved by a strong majority of 97.6 percent shareowners despite speculation in the Czech and Kyrgyz media that the Czech company may be unreliable and warnings from Kyrgyz diplomats that Liglass Trading lacked credibility and that a sister company of the firm was on the brink of bankruptcy. The contract with Liglass was signed on July 10 at a ceremony in the office of the government at which Kyrgyz President Atambajev himself was present. Both Prague Castle and the Czech Trade Ministry lobbied for Liglass.
A bill on defence of the state drafted by the Czech Defence Ministry envisages military training of volunteers from the civilian population. If approved the Defence Ministry would spend hundreds of millions of crowns in preparing back-up units from the civilian population who would actively participate in the country’s defence in the event of war. Such a project would involve closer cooperation and financial aid to associations of amateur radio enthusiasts, shooting clubs and cynology experts. Running an administrative and coordination centre for such training would cost 60 million crowns annually.
Czech civil servants are arrogant, careless about the needs of the public and often unable to give advice in their given area of expertise, according to the outcome of an in-depth survey conducted by Brno’s Mendel University. Two thirds of respondents polled said they had bad experience with arrogant civil servants who were unwilling or unable to give them advice. Civil servants in the construction sector who deal with red tape linked to construction permits got the worst marks. People also complained that they need to go to several institutions in connection with a single request.