Czech markswoman Kateřina Emmons snatched the gold medal in the women’s 10-metre air rifle and equaled the world record of 504.9 points in the World Cup in Beijing on Saturday. Emmons, a bronze medalist at the Athens Olympics, was followed by German Sonja Pfeilschifter who collected 502.4 points. Emmons’ form looks good going into the Olympics, but she remained cool-headed about the victory. “Just because I won here today doesn’t mean I can win an Olympic medal”, she said after the competition.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva started a two-day official visit to the Czech Republic on Saturday by meeting his counterpart Václav Klaus at Prague Castle. In the course of his visit, he is expected to meet other senior Czech politicians, as well as visiting tourist attractions in the capital, such as Strahov Monastery. On the agenda will be issues pertaining to trade – Brazil is the Czech Republic’s biggest trading partner in Latin America – and energy-related matters.
Czechs and Americans negotiating the terms on which US soldiers would be allowed to live on Czech soil did not reach an agreement on Friday as they had hoped. Delegates negotiating the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) were unable to agree on questions of income tax and the criminal jurisdiction of American troops on Czech soil. Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek has said that the agreement will now have to be signed in early May, at the same time as a Czech-American treaty paving the way for a US radar base to be stationed on Czech soil.
Russian duo Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev battled from a set down to beat Czech pair Radek Štěpánek and Pavel Vízner to lift their side 2 -1 ahead in the Davis Cup quarter-final in Moscow on Saturday. The hosts won 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours 58 minutes to make it 2-1 in favour of Russia. On Friday, Marat Safin of Russia battled from two sets down to put his squad into the lead with a win over Tomáš Berdych of the Czech Republic. In the second singles’ clash Štěpánek experienced few troubles beating Andreev in straight sets to level the scores at 1-1. Reverse singles will complete the tie’s schedule on Sunday.
Leaders of the opposition Social Democrats told party deputies on Friday to get ready to bring a new vote of no confidence against the current government. Since the elections, the Social Democrats have tried on two separate occasions to topple the government through a vote of no confidence, both times without success. Head of the Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek said that there was every chance that this vote of no confidence would not succeed, but that it was the ‘role’ of the opposition to try anyway. According to Mr Paroubek, the opposition are unhappy with the current pensions system, the return of Christian Democrat Jiří Čunek into the cabinet, and the government’s stance on building a US anti-missile defence shield in the Czech Republic.
Fifty-nine percent of Czechs are satisfied with their physical condition, suggests a poll conducted by Unilever released on Saturday. Only 31 percent of respondents, however, said that they took regular exercise. The most popular forms of exercise in this country are cycling, swimming and walking, suggests the poll. Respondents of up to 44 years of age preferred sports that they could do in fitness centres, while older respondents in general preferred outdoor activity. Nearly half of those polled said that they were happy with the physical condition of their partner, while nearly as many respondents worried that their partner was not taking enough care of him/herself. Around 28 percent of Czechs polled said that they played sport with their partners.
Three people died, and 38 were injured, when two trams collided in the North Moravian town of Ostrava on Friday. The Czech rail inspectorate is calling the accident one of the worst in recent history. Police are investigating one of the drivers, who is thought to have ignored signposts and driven the wrong way down a one-way stretch of track. His tram collided head-on with a second. According to the rescue services, 15 of those injured are in a critical condition. All those trapped in the trams following on from the accident have now been rescued, though work continues at the scene.
In the NHL on Thursday the Detroit Red Wings with goalie Dominik Hašek
got off to a winning start in their best-of-seven series against the
Nashville Predators. Hašek stopped 19 shots on the night, while Jiří
Hudler scored the Red Wings’ opener. The final score was 3-1.
In other action in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens downed traditional rivals the Boston Bruins 4-1 in the first game of their series. Tomáš Plekanec notched up one assist on the night.
The Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes has reported that former prime minister Stanislav Gross and his wife Šárka Grossová have bought a luxury flat in the US state of Florida. The paper reported on Friday that the couple paid 13 million crowns (the equivalent of roughly 800,000 US dollars) for an apartment in a residential complex known as Hidden Bay. The paper speculates that the former prime minister bought the flat from proceeds from a controversial sale of shares in the power company Moravia Energo. Mr Gross made an estimated 80 million crowns in the deal. In April three years ago Mr Gross was forced to step down as prime minister following a scandal related to his personal finances.
Customs officers have revealed they uncovered around 3 million crowns worth of fake brand cigarettes on a shipment from China to the Czech Republic. The discovery was made during a random check on a transport truck from Hamburg, one of the biggest busts this year. The load is said to represent roughly 25 million crowns in unpaid taxes. Two people driving the transport vehicle as well as an addressee in the Czech Republic were arrested; if found guilty in the case each could face up to 12 years in prison.
Prague transit stops start of massive project for US student
Political scientist: Prague has become a hub for Russian operations in broader Central Europe
Growing concern over plight of leading Chinese investor in the Czech Republic
President Zeman’s Chinese advisor arrested
Jan Masaryk’s mysterious death – a “last nail” in the coffin of democracy in 1948