Three Communist Party deputies have prepared a bill aimed at protecting the Czech language. The lower house has refused to discuss similar bills in the past on the grounds that legislation defining Czech as the state's official language and a "cultural heritage" was unnecessary. Communist MP Ivana Leva, a former teacher of Czech, conceded that this latest attempt was also unlikely to get anywhere.
The number of Czechs spending weekends at their country cottages has fallen significantly, suggests a survey quoted in Lidove noviny. The poll found that while in 2001 19 percent spent weekends at their "chalupa", in 2007 the figure has fallen to less than 8 percent. A sociologist told the daily the reason for the drop was that young people today have less free time and either work or stay at home at weekends.
The Czech Republic's women's tennis team is drawing Spain with 1:1 after the first day of a Fed Cup tie between the two countries in Spain. Iveta Benesova was beaten in the opening rubber, but Lucie Safarova won her singles match to draw the two sides level in a best-of-five play-off for a place in the Fed Cup's elite World Group. The Czech women's number one Nicole Vaidisova was forced to pull out due to illness.
The Czech Foreign Ministry says it regrets Russia's decision to suspend application of a key arms control pact, the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. In a statement, the Czech Foreign Ministry said Russia's move could threaten security in Europe. Meanwhile, a Czech Defence Ministry spokesperson said Prague would react to Russia's decision as part of NATO, where intense negotiations on the matter can be expected. Moscow has been angered by US plans to build parts of an anti-missile defence shield in central Europe. Washington wants to build a radar base in the Czech Republic and to house missiles in Poland.
A wooden Orthodox church is to be built in the north Bohemian town of Most as a memorial to the 40,000 Romanian soldiers who died during the liberation of Czechoslovakia during World War II. The announcement was made in Prague by the metropolitan of the Orthodox church in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and the head of the Romanian Orthodox church. The church, dedicated to St Valentine, should open its doors for the first time in 2009.
The Czech authorities have asked Interpol to search for Barbora Skrlova, a woman in her 30s who attempted to become adopted in the guise of a 13-year-old girl. She was last heard of in Denmark. A representative of the Brno state attorney's office told Mlada fronta Dnes that the only way it could question Ms Skrlova was through the national authorities wherever she is, hence the request to Interpol. The bizarre story of her "adoption" emerged following an investigation into the abuse of a 7-year-old boy. The family involved are believed to have been members of a cult.
The section of the Vltava River running through the Czech capital is far cleaner than it used to be, the Prague Town Hall said. Evidence of improvement in the water quality is the return of eels and other fish. Prague councillor Petr Stepanek said the variety of fish in the Vltava was really high considering that the city has a million inhabitants.
Filling stations and car parks near Czech motorways were jammed with parked trucks on Friday evening, as a new law came into effect barring vehicles weighing 7.5 tonnes or more from motorways between 5 and 9pm on Fridays in July and August. However, the hauliers' group Cesmad Bohemia complained there were far too few parking spaces for heavy lorries; some drivers had to either park in inappropriate spots or continue driving and face possible fines, a Cesmad representative told TV Nova.
The Czech Republic's only ever winner of an Olympic medal in sailing now has only one chance to reach the 2008 games in Beijing. Lenka Smidova and her partner Veronika Fenclova finished a poor 36th in a regatta in Portugal which could have guaranteed them qualification. That means the pair, who began sailing together this year, must do well at next year's World Championships in Melbourne in order to take one of five remaining Olympic berths.
A train driver was killed when an express train crashed into his stationary local train at a station in Cercany, central Bohemia on Saturday morning. The driver of the express train is in a serious condition in hospital, while several of the train's passengers were injured, said a spokesperson for Czech Rail. The cause of the crash is as yet unclear.
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