The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, has thanked the Czech national team
for their performance during the Ice Hockey World Championship in
Prague. The Czech Republic lost in the quarterfinals knockout stage 3-2
to Team USA on Wednesday night, leaving the team and its fans in shock.
The highly-favoured Czech team was unbeaten in six games but faced its
first real challenge in the Americans, who skated faster and kept the
pressure on throughout the game.
Even so, the Czechs took a 2-0 lead in the second period on goals from Martin Skoula and a beautiful wrap-around by Jaromir Jagr that just beat goalie Ty Conklin. The U.S. then got one back from NAME Park, and tied the game in the 3rd when Czech player Jan Hlavac deflected the puck into his own net. The goal was credited to NAME Westrum.
The game was set for overtime.
The extra period saw the Czechs bounce back into the game, turning on the pressure but unable to score. With time running out the game then went to penalty shoot-outs to decide the final outcome. In the shoot-outs the U.S. scored once, the Czechs not at all, though they hit the post twice. The winning U.S. goal came from defenseman Andy Roach who scored on a clever deke that beat Czech goalie Tomas Vokoun.
The U.S. win means that once again the host country will fail to win gold at the Ice Hockey World Championship, something which last happened in 1986 when the Soviet Union won in Moscow.
The Czech Republic's first EU Commissioner, Pavel Telicka, and his nine colleagues from the newcomer member states will take their seats around the EU executive's enlarged table for the first time on Friday, a week after the bloc's historic expansion. The head of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, has denied that the new commissioners, formally approved by the European Parliament on Wednesday, will be second class members even though they will not hold their own portfolios for the moment. The current Commission is due to stand down in October after a four-year term, and all commissioners in the next executive body will share equal responsibilities.
Another suspected case of BSE or mad cow disease has been reported in Zvonkova, near Cesky Krumlov, South Bohemia. The animal suspected of suffering from the condition is a four-year-old breeding bull. If confirmed, it would be the Czech Republic's eleventh case of the disease since 2001 and also the first bull found to suffer from BSE. The State Veterinary Authority said further tests would be carried out.
The Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, who is on a two-day visit to Cyprus, has met the Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos to discuss, among other issues, reunification plans for the divided island. After the meeting, President Klaus said the peoples of Cyprus must resolve the existing situation themselves, adding that a reunification plan cannot be imposed on Cyprus from outside. Cyprus has been divided into a Greek and Turkish part since 1974. The United Nations plan to unite the island failed last week when it was rejected by a majority of Greek Cypriots.
Fifty percent of Czechs admit they have no idea about how European Union bodies function, according to a poll released on Thursday. Only half of those polled said they had even a "vague concept" of the activities of the main European institutions, the survey by the STEM polling agency showed. Six out of 10 people in the Czech Republic said they knew at least "a little" about the functioning of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, while 57 percent said they knew how the European Court works.
According to Roma advisor Lydie Polackova, based in the east Moravian city of Ostrava, several dozen Roma have already left the Czech Republic in search of job opportunities in Great Britain, just days after the Czech Republic joined the European Union. On Wednesday Mrs Polackova told the Czech news agency CTK that she knew of ten families that had already departed for the UK. But, she added the actual number could be higher. As an advisor, Mrs Polackova said she explained to Roma departing for England or Ireland they would no longer be provided the safety net available before Czech accession, when Czech Romany citizens had applied for asylum.
Czechs around the country including World War II veterans, public officials, and the prime minister himself, have marked the 59th anniversary of the Prague Uprising. 59 years ago this day an estimated 30, 000 Czechs took up arms in organised resistance against their German occupiers; five days of battles left thousands dead. In a commemorative ceremony on Wednesday Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla laid a wreath outside the Czech Radio building in Prague, where dozens died during some of fiercest fighting in May 1945. Mr Spidla reminded those at the ceremony that the uprising had countered plans by the Nazis to destroy Prague, words echoed by Andela Dvorakova, of the Czech Freedom Fighters Union.
Locals in the town of Lany near Rakovnik, west Bohemia, suffered a
radiation scare on Wednesday after a driver accidentally damaged a
measuring device containing radioactive material. The device used in
construction work on the Lany motorway, had been cordoned off for
safety was struck nevertheless. Police then closed off a small area
around the zone, before an expert from the Bureau for Atomic Energy
Safety investigated the scene and found that only an electronic part of
the device had been damaged and that no radiation had leaked.
Earlier the president's office also expressed concerns over the incident, given that Lany is the location of the president's official summer retreat, the Lany Chateau.
On Wednesday evening the Czechs will face the United States in the
quarterfinals at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague. The other
quarterfinal match being played in Ostrava sees Sweden face off against
On Wednesday speculation surfaced the Czechs could recruit a final player from the NHL for the duration of the tournament, after several teams were eliminated in the NHL playoffs on Tuesday. The list of possible players includes Robert Lang and Robert Fischer of the Detroit Red Wings, Tomas Kaberle and Robert Reichel of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Milan Hejduk of the Colorado Avalanche. Czech coach Slavomir Lener has indicated he will give the issue further thought only after Wednesday's game.
Pavel Telicka was among ten new commissioners named to the European Commission by the European Parliament on Wednesday. The ceremony in Strasbourg followed the recent accession of ten new member states to the European Union. The new commissioners, including Mr Telicka, will now work with original members of the European Commission, Mr Telicka in the health and consumer protection sector, a post headed by David Byrne of Ireland.