The Czech government on Wednesday authorized Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to voice objections to some of the planned new EU sanctions against Russia, Mr Sobotka told reporters. The government is planning to table reservations to the sanctions’ extension to goods with both civil and military applications in order to protect Czech machinery producers. Two members of the government for the Christian Democrat party abstained from the vote, the news agency ČTK reported, instead proposing an official declaration denouncing of what they described as Russian aggression.
Two Czech citizens have been killed while fighting in the ranks of pro-Russian forces in Ukraine, the website of a local Czech communist party organization in Frýdek-Místek reported quoting Russian sources. The reports says the men, whose names were given as Ivo Stejskal and Vojtěch Hlinka, were killed in combat on August 12 in the east of the country, and were buried on the spot. The Czech Foreign Ministry has said it has no knowledge of the Czech citizens’ deaths; the country’s intelligence services however believe around 30 Czechs have joined the ranks of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
The Czech government is sending two experts to the NATO Liaison Office in Kiev to advise the Ukrainian government on a reform of the security sector and on logistics, the news agency ČTK reported. The posting should last two years, the Czech defence and interior ministries said. An expert on information security from the Czech Interior Ministry is already operating in the Ukrainian capital.
The Czech police have cracked down on an international child pornography ring, a police spokeswoman said. Three Czech and Ukrainian nationals have been arrested and charged with producing and selling child pornography; another four people have been detained in Spain, France, Sweden and Canada. The police say the men, operating from a house in Červený Kostelec, east Bohemia, abused at least 70 children and minors aged between seven and 18 under the guise of shooting commercials; they then sold the material to paid online sites and private clients abroad. The police have also tracked down transactions amounting to 15 million crowns. If convicted, three of the men face up to 12 years in jail while the main organizer, a 57-year-old Czech, could land a 15-year term.
Prague’s Proton Therapy Centre announced on Wednesday it had received the medical documentation of UK cancer patient Ashya King from a UK hospital, and was now ready to treat him. The five-year-old English boy, who suffers from a brain tumour, was last week removed from a hospital in Southampton by his parents and taken to Spain. His parents had earlier applied for him to receive treatment at the Prague clinic which however said they could not start treating him without the medical notes.
Police in Rumburk, North Bohemia have ruled out the possibility that a nurse illegally euthanized an elderly cancer patient, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Wednesday. Investigators no longer believe that the patient wanted to die and are working on the assumption that the nurse acted out of antipathy towards patients, the newspaper said. Nurse “Věra M.” has herself denied that she was committing euthanasia when gave the patient an injection of potassium that caused her heart to stop. Detectives are looking into another 10 deaths at the hospital.
A court in Prague sentenced a physician to 7.5 years in prison for having induced opiate addiction to one of his former patients. The court said the doctor between March 2008 and November 2010 sold doses of opioid analgesic to his patient who suffered from painful anal injury, making him heavily addicted to the drug. The patient sold his business and other property to be able to afford the drug, and eventually died in a car accident while driving under the influence of opiates. The court also banned the man from practicing medicine for ten years, and ordered him to pay a fine of seven million crowns.
Three wolf cubs were born in a forest near Ralsko, in north Bohemia, this summer, the first such occurrence after more than a century, the news website idnes.cz reported on Wednesday. One of the cubs was captured by a camera trap, another two were noticed by forest workers, according to the report. The return of wolfs to the Czech Republic after over a hundred years was confirmed by a photo of the animal taken in north Bohemia in April.
The Nové divadlo (New Theatre) was officially opened in the West Bohemian city of Plzeň on Tuesday night. The modern structure with a capacity of just over 450 was built at a cost of CZK 880 million. Among those in attendance on Tuesday was actor and theatre director Tomáš Töpfer, who said it was an amazing thing that the country had received its first purpose-built theatre in over 50 years. The first performance at the Nové divadlo was of Bedřich Smetana’s opera The Bartered Bride. Plzeň will be a European Capital of Culture in 2015.
Czech men’s tennis number one Tomáš Berdych defeated Austria’s Dominic Thiem 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round of the US Open on Tuesday night to advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals. The sixth seed Berdych, the last Czech remaining at US Open, will play the Croat Marin Čilič, seeded 14th, on Thursday for a spot in the semifinals.