The Sokol /or Falcon/ athletics body -a physical exercise organization founded in 1862 during the Czech national revival - is holding its 14th all-Sokol meeting at Prague's Strahov stadium this week. Some 18 thousand gymnasts of all ages from all over the world are take part. The Sokol athletics body is one of the oldest organizations in the world. Its modern era began with its revival after the fall of communism but even during the dark period of Czech history ex-pats around the world kept its spirit alive. The all-Sokol meeting takes place once in six years.
The outgoing prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, told Czech TV that he would reconsider handing in his resignation on Monday, which would trigger the fall of his cabinet. Mr. Paroubek said that he had intended to open the way for a new administration but since President Klaus had made it clear that he would not accept the resignation at this stage it would be an empty gesture. The prime minister said he would leave the decision in the hands of his cabinet. The political stalemate following June's inconclusive general elections has complicated talks on a future government set-up.
The first same-sex marriages in Central Europe took place at registry offices across the Czech Republic over the weekend as gay and lesbian couples took advantage of a long awaited law on same-sex partnerships. The new law, which took effect on July 1st, gives gay and lesbian couples some of the advantages of a traditional marriage: inheritance rights, the right to be informed about the other's health and the right to raise children, although they cannot adopt them. It has taken seven years of lobbying to get this legislation approved and the Czech Republic is the first post-communist country to legalize gay marriage.
The 41st Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is underway in the west Bohemian spa town. A total of 230 films and documentaries will be presented at the festival, which opened on Friday night with the world premiere of Korean director Kim Ki-Duk's latest work, "Time." American actor Andy Garcia presented his first film as director at the Karlovy Vary Festival on Saturday. He said "Lost City" set in his homeland Cuba, was not a political manifesto but "a homage to Cuban music and culture". "I consider this film the work of my life" Garcia said after receiving the festival's Crystal Globe award during the opening ceremony.
The situation in most flooded areas of the country has now stabilized and clean-up operations are underway. Only a few villages along the river Dyje are threatened by rising water levels due to a dam having burst in neighbouring Austria. Close to a hundred people had to be evacuated from villages in the south-east of the country and there is damage to farm crops and roads. The full extent of the damage is not yet known.
There has been no progress in breaking the political stalemate following June's inconclusive general elections. The lower house - where the centre right and centre left now have 100 seats each - failed to elect a new leadership earlier this week, and the centre-right coalition of Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens has not managed to secure majority support. Social Democrat leader Jiri Paroubek, who announced his intention to resign on Monday, has shown no inclination to support a centre right government. He said on Friday that the centre-right coalition was dead and suggested holding talks only between the two strongest parties - the Civic and Social Democrats. President Klaus said that under the circumstances he will not accept the prime minister's resignation on Monday.
A Czech bus bound for Ukraine crashed in Slovakia on Saturday morning. A woman was killed in the accident, 14 others were reported injured. The driver had allegedly run out of petrol and was trying to park on the roadside when the bus toppled over into a 5 meter deep ravine. Earlier this week another Czech bus crashed in Slovakia, killing a 14 year old boy.
Close to a hundred people have been forced to flee their homes in local floods in the south east of the country where the river Dyje burst its banks on Friday. Following several days of torrential rain swollen rivers in the southern regions of Bohemia and Moravia are proving difficult to contain. A number of villages have been flooded, others are on high alert, erecting sand-barriers to try to protect their property. The army has been called in to help and firemen and emergency crews have been working around the clock evacuating people from their homes. In the vicinity of the Dyje river the floods have proved worse than those in 2002.
As of July 1st Czech homosexuals can enter in same sex registered partnerships. The new "gay marriage" law gives gay and lesbian couples some of the advantages of a traditional marriage: inheritance rights, the right to be informed about the other's health and the right to raise children, although they cannot adopt them. According to the CTK news agency several gay couples tied the knot on the very first day this was made possible. It has taken seven years of lobbying to get this legislation approved and the Czech Republic is the first post-communist country to legalize gay marriage.
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