Senator Jaroslav Kubera of the Civic Democratic Party has collected enough signatures among his colleagues from the upper chamber of parliament to be able to run for president, the news site idnes.cz reported on Thursday. Ten signatures were needed to support his candidacy, while he collected fifteen. Kubera, who has been a mayor of Teplice since 1994 and a senator since 2000, said he would leave his decision to run for the post until the very last moment.
Exports of arms and military material from the Czech Republic reached a record 18.2 billion crowns (around 690 million euros) last year, according to a report that will be debated by the government on Monday. In 2015 that figure stood at 15 billion crowns. Most of the military material, amounting to 1.66 billion crowns, went to Iraq, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Slovakia and Egypt. Last year, some 1,180 licenses were issued for the export of military material.
Some 500 people in Prague die prematurely every year due to air pollution, according to a new analysis released by the National Health Institute on Thursday. Dust particles, which are mostly produced by cars, lead to an increased occurrence of heart and respiratory diseases. According to Miroslav Šuta of the National Health Institute, the city’s limits for concentration of airborne dust particles are not as strict as those set by the World Health Organisation.
Czech police are hunting for a former top banker who is suspected of selling forged painting to a series of VIP clients. Police believe the former banker, who used to deal with VIP clients at Komerční Banka, has probably fled abroad. He is believed by police to have successfully sold modern paintings valued at at least 30 million crowns and was in the process of selling more, with a value of around 53 million, with another 40 million crowns of paintings in stock for later deals. Among those duped by the banker is the Czech actress Jiřina Bohdalová. Police say the suspected con man was last spotted in Istanbul with latest reports suggesting he might be in Fiji.
Czech cinemas attracted 7.5 million viewers in the first half of 2017, which is a seven percent increase compared to the same period last year. According to figures released by the Union of Film Distributors on Thursday, Czech cinema operators sold tickets worth 993 million crowns, nine percent more than the box office takings in the previous year. The film ‘Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ attracted the most visitors.
Czech painter and illustrator Karel Franta has died in Prague at the age of 89. Franta was known mainly for his illustrations of children’s books. He won many prizes for them, including the Grand Prix of UNICEF in Frankfurt am Main for the best illustration of 1986. In 1994, he was recognised internationally by being listed on the International Board of Books for Young People. An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Karel Franta is opening this weekend in the north Bohemian town of Lomnice nad Popelkou.
The administration of Krkonoše National Park has limited access to some areas of the park to protect it against an invasion of blueberry pickers. The measure, which will affect around 15 percent of the park’s protected area, was introduced on Thursday and will stay in force until October 15. Those who are caught breaking the ban face a fine of up to 10,000 crowns.
A trial centred on the alleged offering of bribes to politicians begins at the Prague 1 district court on Thursday. Petr Nečas, his now wife and former senior assistant Jana Nečasová and ex-deputy agriculture minister Roman Boček are accused of offering “jobs for the boys” to three then Civic Democrat MPs in exchange for their support of legislation in 2012, when Mr. Nečas was party leader and prime minister. The case helped lead to the fall of Mr. Nečas’s government the following year. Civic Democrats Marek Šnajdr, Ivan Fuksa and Petr Tluchoř resigned as MPs shortly after opposing their party on a crucial vote, allowing the government to survive. Two of them received lucrative posts at state companies soon afterwards.
Radovan Krejčíř was moved to South Africa’s most secure prison last month after the authorities uncovered an escape plot by the Czech mafia boss, the South African news website Times Live reported on Thursday. Krejčír is serving a 35-year jail term for attempted murder, kidnap and drug running. Last week he lodged a complaint against what he called inhuman conditions at the eBongweni C-Max prison. However, prison service officials said he had been transferred there after a security breach. Krejčír is reported to have planned prison escapes several times in the past. He fled investigation in the Czech Republic in 2005 and later became one of South Africa’s most notorious criminals.