Another victim of methanol poisoning in Prague
A Prague hospital has admitted a second person for methanol poisoning on Sunday. The fifty-eight year old man is conscious and admitted to drinking whiskey or cognac with a man who was hospitalized on Friday evening. More than 30 people have been hospitalised and are being treated in different parts of the country, but most victims are from Moravia. A sixty-three year-old man died on Sunday in the town of Přerov in the Olomouc region. The man was believed to have died from methanol poisoning, which would have brought the death rate up to 20, but later hospital staff announced the cause of death was excessive amounts of ethanol.
Police charged another four people on Sunday
The Czech police have brought charges against 23 people in connection to the methanol poisoning around the country, which has claimed the lives of 19 people so far. Four people were charged on Sunday. Members of the emergency task force announced on Saturday that excessive amounts of methyl alcohol were found in 36 samples of hard liquor. Some had more than 26 times the legal amount. More than 30,000 inspections in bars, restaurants and street stalls were carried out by the police since Friday evening, when a ban on the sale of all liquor with more than 20 percent alcohol content was announced. The police is focusing not only on the producers and distributors of the laced alcohol, but now also on the suppliers of the raw methanol. There may actually be a single source of the methanol used in the bootleg liquor, according to the police. Police president Martin Červíček said on Saturday that the investigation has made significant progress especially in the Zlín, Olomouc and Silesian regions. Yet, Mr Červíček underscored that the laced alcohol is not coming from a single source, and that the investigation is still in progress.
Health Minister says alcohol ban may be localised in the future.
The Czech Health Minister Leoš Heger said on a Czech Television talk show on Sunday that he will try to adjust the ban on hard liquor as quickly as possible, but that right now the blanket ban that was insituted on Friday night is a necessity. As soon as the police find all the sources of the alcohol with poisonous levels of methanol, and the number of vicitims begins to decrease, Minister Heger said he can imagine restricting the ban to certain localities or products. He hopes that ban will be lifted in less than a month, but did not rule the possibility that it may take longer.
Workers' Party stages another rally in Varnsdorf
Around 250 people attended a nationalist anti-Roma rally in the northern Bohemian town of Varnsdorf on Saturday. The far-right Workers’ Party of Social Justice (DSSS) organised the rally as part of its election campaign. The rally passed near apartment blocks with mostly Romani residents that were at the center of clashes last year. Rally participants chanted nationalist and racist slogans, but no open confrontations between the Romani inhabitants and the demonstrators were reported by the police. In 2011, Varnsdorf and other towns in the area saw anti-Roma protests over a number of weeks, some with up to 2,000 participants.
Culture minister to limit power of deputy Sankot
Culture Minister Alena Hanáková said on Czech Television on Sunday that she will limiting the scope of authority of her financial deputy Martin Sankot, but will not remove him from his post. After unexpectedly sacking the director of the Czech National Theatre Ondřej Černý, Ms Hanáková replaced him with Mr Sankot last week. But following intense criticism from the theatre staff, she named the technical director of the Naitonal Theatre Václav Pelouch as the interim chief on Friday. Ms Hanáková said she will meet with representatives of the theatre in the upcoming days to discuss the selection process for the new director.
Hradecká moves to Quebec final while Czechs advance in the Davis Cup
Lucie Hradecká will play in the final of the WTA Bell Challenge Tournament in Quebec City against Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, after beating France’s Kristina Mladenovic on Saturday evening. And the Czech team is one victory away from entering the Davis cup finals, after the Czech men’s duo Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek beat the Argentinean Carlos Berlocq and Eduardo Schwank on Saturday in Buenos Aires. Carlos Berlocq will replace his teammate Juan Martin del Potro, who pulled out due to injury, in the reverse singles on Sunday. Tomáš Berdych is expected to have an easy win against the less experienced Berlocq, which will secure a place for the Czechs team in the Davis Cup finals in November.
The weekend will be sunny or partly cloudy, with scattered showers in parts of the country. Daytime highs should range between 15 and 21 degrees Celsius.