Tuesday News Briefing
Police discover explosives stash in apartment; Czech economy shrinks 1.2 percent in 2012
Posted: March 12, 2013
Nicholas Winton with filmmaker Matej Mináč at the Prague premiere of a film depicting his work
Czech police uncovered an unspecified amount of pentrit, a strong explosive, on the fifth floor of a prefabricated home in Velké Hamry, north Bohemia March 12, according to Security Forces General Inspection (GIBS) spokeswoman Radka Sandorová. Pentrit, also known as Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PENT, is an extremely strong white, crystalline explosive used to make fuses and detonators as well as small bombs. The GIBS found it after rushing into the home to arrest a local resident, a policeman suspected of crime. Firefighters then evacuated 30 people from the seven-floor house and sealed off its surroundings. The evacuated residents, mainly elderly people, may be allowed to return to the house later in the afternoon.
Czech students have launched a fresh bid to get Nobel Prize recognition for Nicholas Winton, a Briton who saved hundreds of Czechoslovak Jewish kids on WW2's eve. In 1939, Winton organized the departures via trains of 669 Jewish children from the then Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia to Britain, thereby saving their lives. Czech students from the Open Gate private secondary school in Ricany near Prague have launched a petition that already bears nearly 174,000 signatures to award Sir Winton, now 103, with the Nobel Prize. The students aim to promote his story abroad with a new website, by directly addressing foreign schools, and by preparing a video spot presenting Winton's story. "We need support of as many people as possible, so that Winton's story spreads as far as possible," said student Karin Paštiková.
Revised figures show the Czech economy shrank 1.2 percent in 2012, the daily Právo reported. The statistics, released by the Czech Statistical Office (CSU) included a 1.7 percent fall, on a year-on-year basis, for the fourth quarter of last year, which was 0.3 percentage points lower than an earlier estimate. In the EU, the Czech economy was the eighth worst performing last year. A key factor behind the poor performance was a decline in consumer spending. This fell by 3.5 percent in real terms last year as householders tightened their belt amid economic uncertainty.
New Czech President Miloš Zeman has promised to promote Czech businesses on his foreign trips. When meeting foreign diplomats, Zeman said he would take delegations of businesspeople with him overseas. "I can assure you that these will be only successful businesspeople, not those close to bankruptcy," he said. Among the emerging economies Zeman hopes to visit are China, Russia, India and Brazil. He is also looking to attract foreign investment to the Czech Republic, continuing a trend that has been key to the country's growth. "As you know the Czech Republic has a highly skilled, but unfortunately cheap manpower," Zeman said
News Desk can be reached at