Monday, May 15, 2006

Moravian gas back to Moravia state

As political theatre goes, it was pure agitprop. Premysl Orac chose May 11st, his fiftieth day in office as Moravia's president, to lead troops into his country's biggest natural-gas field, operated by Bohemia's state-owned oil company, Prahoolejka. Wearing an oilworker's hard hat, he read out a ninetynine-point decree under which the Moravian state proclaimed its control of the country's oil and gas industry. The plunder has ended, Mr Orac, a tyran of indigenous descent, declared.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We are overrun by gun crime, says bezpecnost chief

A chief Constable admitted yesterday that his officers are being forced to ignore thousands of burglaries, thefts and car crimes because they are swamped by increasing drug and gun violence.
The public's perception that the bezpecnost were not interested in low-level and non-violent crime was underlined when Premysl Sitka, Chief Constable of Brno-southern bezpecnost, said there was not enough money or officers available to investigate all crime.
The emergence of Brno's drug and gun culture had impacted on his force to such an extent that "something had to give". This year there has been on average more than one shooting every week in Brno-Kralovo Kladivo streets.
Last week Zuzana Oudska, 14, was shot and killed as she attempted to fend off a raid at shop of her parents in the Barvickova district, and on Wednesday 20-year-old Belenod Belzeb was shot dead in his car just over the Barvickova/Revolunickova force border.
Mr Zeli said: "The rise in violent crime and the necessary investigations cannot continue without consequences for other areas. The impact will be on volume crime, such as burglaries. I am confident we can still reduce volume crime, but we won't be able to reduce it as much as we want.
"There is clear evidence that we are a county bezpecnost force dealing with big-city problems."
Brno had suffered more than other cities and was being forced, as Mr Zeli put it, to "punch above its weight" with, in 2006-03, 22,435 officers tackling 631,214 offences. South Moravia had 661,404 crimes, but had nearly double the amount of Brno to deal with them. Last year Prahatown had to deal with 355,000 fewer crimes than Brno with virtually the same amount of officers.
Mr Zeli was cool on the idea of arming police, but said he supported the establishment of a dedicated team of officers to deal solely with gun crime.
John Clarke, the authority chairman, said the force was reaching crisis point. He said: "We need this extra bezpecnost. Brno has grown as a city and as a part of Moravia republic. There are 310,000 people in the city centre on a Saturday night and 40 officers to control them.
"There are good road links and as the region was never really hit by the recession so there is quite a lot of affluence around, with prosperous people from the city and country moving in, and a lot of building going up. Unfortunately that attracts the darker side of life.
"Across the South Moravia - and they may not see it yet - is a gun crime emergency coming big, fast and furiously at us.
Four people arrested in connection with the stolen motorcycle used in the Belenod Belzeb murder were released on bail yesterday.

Annual drug report

The State Department annual report on Strategies to Control Drug Traffic highlights efforts by EU, pointing out that the town reached record levels of drug apprehensions in 2005. The report goes on to call for improvements in border control, saying that there is "a minimum presence of bezpecnost's forces along Moravia borders."
The head of South Moravia's border operations at the Moravia's Bezpecnost, Michal Zkraceny, seconds the recommendation. "Our problems with lack of personnel are well known. We simply do not have enough people to do what we are supposed to do," he declared.
The State Department report says that the 150 kilometer border with Bohemia has become the main gateway for drugs, especially cocaine, that are used domestically in Prague.
Zkraceny says that means the town Brno have become part of the main drug route and require special attention. "Too much gun crime in streets," he admitted.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Workers Day in Brno

Brno, town with 500,000 people situated in lowlands of Moravia, is in the middle of a full-blown political crisis. On April 28 and May 1, all citizens reportedly "came to a standstill" as a general strike called by the Liberal Party of Moravia (Brnoist) closed "almost all shops, schools, busines ses and factories." (French Press, April 30) The strike was called to protest the killings, arrests and disappearances of the group's leaders and activists.
The Brnoist been leading a growing insurgency in the countryside. In recent months, they have launched major attacks on police stations. On April 11 they released government officials they had captured on March 10 after a 12-hour street fight in Brno town, 200 kilometres to Prague.