News New police president sets out priorities
Newly appointed Czech Police President Tomáš Tuhý said one of his main priorities will be to stabilize the police force after a period of change and uncertainty at the top in recent years. He said the police force would deal uncompromisingly with extremist groups on both right and left and violence at sports events. He added in a news conference Monday that his priorities will include the fight against drug abuse, tax fraud, and serious economic crime. Tuhý is expected to establish his top team within a month. Minister of the Interior Milan Chovanec said that one of the police president’s tasks will the creation of a special police unit, Kobra, to combat tax evasion.
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A Czech truck driver has been arrested in the UK after 28 illegal immigrants from Africa were found in a hidden compartment in the trailer of his vehicle. The driver, who is 61, was detained by police in Portsmouth before being released on bail, The Daily Telegraph reported. The arrest took place in an industrial zone around eight kilometres from the port in the city on England’s south coast. One of the migrants had to be taken to hospital with acute health problems. The driver could face a fine or jail term.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has appeared as a witness in a Prague court over a dispute involving the headquarters of the Social Democrats. Former notary Václav Halbich is demanding CZK 17 million from the president’s former party for legal services in their successful bid to get their HQ back in the 1990s. However, Mr. Zeman testified on Tuesday that the Social Democrats’ only partner in the matter was lawyer Zdeněk Altner. The president, who is known for his witticisms, said he had been familiar with their contract with Mr. Altner as he was not yet “suffering from dementia” at that time.
The 26th Prague Writers’ Festival will welcome the South African writer J.M. Coetzee and US novelist Chuck Palahniuk, organisers announced on Tuesday. The theme of this year’s festival, which takes place in October, is crime and punishment. Other scheduled guests include Egyptian poet Mohamed El-Baaly and Yan Lianke, a Chinese writer and recipient of the 2014 Franz Kafka Prize.
The Czech Republic will continue to play an active role in the defence of the airspace of the Baltic states, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Tuesday after a meeting in Prague with his Lithuanian counterpart, Algirdas Butkevicius. The two leaders discussed security in the Baltics in connection with a forthcoming NATO summit in Warsaw. They told reporters that the alliance should show unity and solidarity and beef up its presence in Eastern Europe. The defence ministers of the Visegrad Four are also due to discuss security in the Baltic states on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Nymburk have won their 13th Czech basketball league title in a row. The Central Bohemian club beat Děčín 102:53 in Monday evening’s third final to make it 3:0 on games, repeating the result from last year. Nymburk again dominated the NBL this season, losing only one match. The club’s Vojtěch Hruban was named most valuable player in the final.
Ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr will not join the Czech squad for the sport’s World Cup in September. The Florida forward, who is 44, informed the Czech Republic’s general manager Martin Ručinský of his decision at the weekend, the newspaper Sport reported on Tuesday. Though Jágr officially retired from international hockey last year Ručinský and new trainer Josef Jandač hoped to persuade him to take part in the tournament in Toronto.
Trains between Prague and Dresden, Germany, have been disrupted by a landslide just across the joint border in Germany. A goods which collided with the debris was partially derailed on Monday night. Nobody was injured. The landslide is believed to have been caused by heavy rain. Train services could be resumed on Tuesday. In the meantime, an emergency bus service will be in place.
Joint patrols of soldiers and police will end, the government decided on Monday. The joint patrols were introduced in the immediate aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks on March 22. Stepped up police surveillance will continue with the security alert remaining at the post-Brussels level of one, defense minister Martin Stropnický said. The joint patrols have come under fire from the centre-right opposition party, the Civic Democrats, as excessive. A video of how police and soldiers used excessive force on a Prague citizen who refused to hand over identity documents also stirred criticism of the patrols.
Czech tennis player Lukáš Rosol created a scare for reigning French Open singles champion Stan Wawrinka. Rosol took a two sets to one lead in the first round match on Monday before the Swiss player won the final two sets and the match in just over three hours. The final score was 4:6, 6:1, 3:6, 6:3, 5:4. Wawrinka is seeded three for this year’s French Open. Wawrinka and Rosol clashed four days ago in the semi-finals of the Geneva competition with the Swiss winning in three sets.
The Czech government is one of the creditors of struggling hard coal mining company OKD. Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said that employer’s social insurance payments to the tune of around 79 million crowns are owing. If the sum remains unpaid then the state could join a creditors’ committee and influence the restructuring of the company. OKD filed for insolvency at the start of May with overall debts estimated at 17 billion crowns. At a meeting between government representatives, the unions, and the Moravia-Silesia hejtman on Monday, the head of the Confederation of Czech Trades Union, Josef Středula, warned that it was not clear if OKD’s around 10,000-strong workforce would be paid for May. Protests would result if that was the case, he warned.