News

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Police step up search for missing girl

Police have intensified their search for the sister of an 8-year-old boy who was severely abused by his mother, and are now looking for her around the whole of the Czech Republic. The girl, who is 13, is believed to have run away from a children's home in Brno on Thursday night. However, the website Novinky reported that the case is now being investigated as kidnap. There is some confusion about the girl's past, with reports that the authorities have no record of her existence.

Earlier this week the children's mother was arrested after a neighbour discovered the girl's brother, named Ondrej, was being kept naked and bound in the dark in a storage room. Klara Mauerova, who was studying to be a teacher, has been remanded in custody and could face a jail term of eight years.

Roma remembrance service interrupted by far right group

A service on Sunday to commemorate Roma victims of the Holocaust was interrupted by a far right group. Police removed members of the National Party after they held signs paying tribute to guards who died of typhus at the Lety concentration camp for Romanies. Around 300 Romanies died at the south Bohemian camp, while others were transported to Auschwitz. Plans by the previous Czech government to have a pig farm on site removed have been dropped by the current cabinet.

Portuguese runner first European to win Prague marathon

Helder Ornelas from Portugal has become the first European to win the Prague Marathon; since the event began in 1995 it had been dominated by African runners. Ornelas, who is 33, won the race in a time of 2:11:49. Second was Luka Chelimo from Kenya, with another Portuguese, Paulo Gomes, in third. Sixty-nine streets and bridges in the Czech capital were closed off for the race, which this year took a new route. Nineteen of the city's 26 trams were rerouted for the marathon, which was started by President Vaclav Klaus.

Fire at dump full of German rubbish in north Bohemia

An illegal dump full of rubbish from Germany has been on fire since Saturday evening. Fire fighters have been trying to put out the fire in the north Bohemian town of Dolni Rasnice. They say it is not clear whether the fire was started deliberately. In the last 18 months there have been other cases of German waste being illegally imported and burned in the Czech Republic.

Missing files on fugitive Krejcir found in street

A briefcase containing files relating to the case of fugitive Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir has been found on the street in Brno. The documents had been stolen from a car owned by an attorney from the Supreme State Attorney's Office last week, the news website Aktualne.cz reported. Mr Krejcir, who is wanted on charges of fraud and murder, is currently in custody in South Africa, from where the Czech Republic is seeking his extradition.

Piano manufacturer Petrof threatened with liquidation over debt claim

The world renowned piano manufacturer Petrof could face liquidation because of a legal dispute with the company's exclusive distributor in the United States, TV Nova reported. Earl Matzkin says the Hradec Kralove based firm owes him money; Petrof, meanwhile, says it owes Mr Matzkin nothing and accuses him of wanting to produce pianos under the Petrof brand in Asia. A court in Hradec Kralove is due to rule on the matter on Tuesday. The company was founded in 1864 and produces 7,000 pianos a year.

Prague Spring music festival underway

The 62nd Prague Spring international music festival has got underway in the Czech capital. It will feature around 50 concerts and around a dozen theatre performances between now and June 3. Around 50,000 tickets are sold during the festival, which originally grew out of celebrations marking the end of World War II. Since 1952 the Prague Spring has opened on May 12, the anniversary of the death of Bedrich Smetana, with his cycle of symphonic poems Ma vlast. This year it was performed by the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Zdenek Macal.

Bell tower destroyed by fire

One of the most valuable sites in the town of Zelezny Brod, a wooden bell tower, was destroyed by fire on Saturday night. A spokesperson for the local fire brigade said it was too early to say whether the fire had been started deliberately. As well as destroying the tower, the fire melted a bell dating from 1496. Little damage was done to the rest of the church.

Oldest Czech man dies

The funeral has taken place of the Czech Republic's oldest man, Stanislav Vecera from Brezi nad Oslavou, who was 106. His grandson said Mr Vecera, who was born on November 6 1900, had managed to live so long because of his sober lifestyle and his work in the outdoors as a wood cutter. There are 400 people over the age of 100 in the country.

Weather

It is expected to reach up to 30 degrees Celsius at the start of the week. Forecasters have warned of rain and hail storms and strong winds.