News Civic Democrats losing members by the hundreds
The Civic Democratic Party which was forced into the opposition after its crushing defeat in October’s early elections is losing members by the hundreds, the internet news site Novinky.cz reports. Following the corruption scandal that led to the fall of the Civic Democrat-led government and the party's poor showing in the elections the party lost half its members going from 41 thousand to 21 thousand registered members. Its supporters have also turned their backs on the party which only go 7.7 percent of the vote in the last general elections. A complete overhaul of the party’s leadership and its new chairman Petr Fiala have so far failed to turn around the party’s ailing fortunes.
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The region of South Moravia so far this year has seen an increase in the number of road fatalities as well as a rise in the number of seriously injured. Since the beginning of the year, police in the region attended to 4,458 traffic accidents – up by 70. Up to the first of September, 53 people died on South Moravian roads (7 more than the same period last year) and 204 suffered serious injuries (up by 27 cases). The police charged that many motorists remained inattentive or drove dangerously, while some cyclists, who failed to wear helmets or rode after drinking, only deepened the problem.
Police stopping a driver for speeding in a VW Transporter uncovered more than 30 kilos of marijuana in large plastic bags in the back of the vehicle. The quantity of the drug has a reported street value of 1.6 million crowns. The suspect was charged with illegal production and possession of illicit and psychoactive drug. He is currently in custody. The motorist was tested for drugs but that proved negative.
The University of West Bohemia in Pilsen on Friday opened a new research and learning centre focussing on cybernetics, math, and physics. The university’s rector Illona Mauritzová said the centre, which cost 1.36 billion crowns, including equipment (the construction alone was 530 million) had the potential to rank among top European facilities for research and development. The bill for the centre was largely paid from European funds, almost 80 percent. The centre is one of four commissioned by the university. Two have been completed.
A new poll by STEM suggests that the two largest parties in government, the Social Democrats and ANO, made gains among potential voters over the summer months. The survey found that if a national election were held now, the ANO movement would secure 30 percent of the vote, while the Social Democrats would receive 21.3 percent – the latter seeing a two percent increase, the former, three. According to the poll, the Communists would stagnate at 13.5 percent. The rightest parties, TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats, would gain 7.6 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, while the upstart Dawn would not pass the five percent threshold, receiving just 3.9 percent of the vote. The survey was conducted between August 3 and September 10.
The police have learned that a 53-year-old Austrian national who caused a fatal head-on collision on the Czech Republic’s D1 highway in May, was suffering from dementia. The Austrian authorities confirmed the motorist, who drove in the wrong direction on the highway, into oncoming traffic, had been ill. His vehicle crashed head-on into the car of two Slovak women – a mother and daughter – near Brno on May 13th. All three died in the accident.
Dozens of Czech and Polish police are searching for a 60-year-old Czech national near the border in the Bruntál area, suspected of having committed a violent crime of grievous bodily harm. The suspect, whose name is Bedřich Špurny, is considered armed and dangerous and the police have appealed to civilians not to try and stop him themselves. Forty Czech police officers in the night and early morning hours tried to pinpoint the suspect’s location, also with the help of a helicopter and police dogs. Being so close to the border, they enlisted help from their Polish counterparts.
The Chamber of Deputies has extended a Czech fighter jet mission in Iceland from five to nine weeks, in response to the recent annexation of Crimea and the situation in Ukraine, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický revealed. The Czech Republic was asked to prolong the mission of monitoring Iceland’s airspace by NATO, the minister added. According to Mr Stropnický, Russia had increased activity by its air force not far from Iceland’s airspace. Four supersonic Gripen jets and 75 Czech military personnel are to take part in securing Iceland’s airspace from October to December. The cost of the mission will be around 33 million crowns. Earlier the Czech Republic took part in helping guard the airspace over the Baltic states.
Czech paleontologists revealed on Friday the details of the discovery of part of the skeleton of a Mesozoic Plesiosaurus dating back around 75 million years. The discovery was made in Antarctica. Zdeněk Venera, the director of the Czech Geological Survey confirmed the team also uncovered a number of fossils of new species of animals and plants. Over the course of several years, the scientists collected several thousand specimens. The CGS scientists have completed ten expeditions in terrain on the Antarctic Peninsula since 2003.
The unique CV-22B Osprey aircraft landed at the Mošnov international airport in Ostrava on Friday. The unique half-helicopter half-plane, used by the US Air Force special forces, will be displayed at the annual NATO Days and Czech Air Force Days air show, which will get underway in Ostrava on Saturday. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the two-day event.
The Czech Red Cross, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is sending 1600 tonnes of medical supplies to Ukraine. It is already the seventh delivery of humanitarian aid from the Czech Republic to Ukraine. Earlier this year, the Czech government approved 50 million crown in aid to Ukraine for projects aimed at reconstructing health, educational and social facilities as well as infrastructure projects across the country. Czech hospitals have also provided treatment to more than forty injured Ukrainians as part of the Medevac programme of evacuating Ukrainian citizens in need of medical treatment.