The funeral has taken place of a Czech soldier who died in Afghanistan last week. The soldier was killed in a road-side bomb attack in the province of Logar, where he was serving with a Czech provincial reconstruction team. The Czech defence minister, Vlasta Parkanová, army chief of staff Vlastimil Picek and Chamber of Deputies chairman Miloslav Vlček were among around 500 people who attended the funeral in Uherské Hradiště. The soldier who died was the second Czech soldier to be killed in action in Afghanistan: a Czech military policeman died in a suicide bombing in Helmand province in March.
The Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek withdrew with injury from a semi-final match at the Rome Masters on Saturday. Štěpánek was trailing Serbia’s Novak Djokovic 0-6 1-0 when he pulled out, complaining of a wrist problem. The Czech had beaten world number one Roger Federer in the previous round in Rome.
Meanwhile, special temporary offices set up at Sparta’s stadium dealt with cases of hooliganism on the spot during the Sparta-Baník match on Saturday afternoon. Two Baník fans were found guilty of committing a misdemeanour after being arrested for fighting in the ground, while another man also came before a Prague 7 misdemeanours commission. A temporary court was also in place but did not sit as the offences were not deemed sufficiently serious. A court official said the measure, being tried out for the first time, had proved effective in deterring trouble. There has been violence between the two clubs’ fans several times in recent years.
Former political prisoners have held an annual memorial to the victims of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. The ceremony at Prague’s Motol crematorium culminated with the laying of a wreath at a nearby graveyard. The communist authorities refused to hand over the ashes of those they executed to their families, interring them at unknown and unmarked locations; deputy chairman of the Confederation of Political Prisoners František Šedivý said research suggested the cemetery was probably where many of the victims’ ashes had ended up.
The business manager of the Czech national football team says it is unlikely that former international Pavel Nedvěd will return for the European Championship which begins next month in Switzerland and Austria. The announcement on Friday by Czech captain Tomáš Rosický that surgery would rule him out of Euro 2008 has led to increased speculation over a possible comeback by Nedvěd. However, national team business manager Vlastimil Košťál told the daily Sport that his information was that the veteran midfielder would not make himself available for selection. The Czech squad for the European Championship will be named on Wednesday.
A fan of Baník Ostrava football club died after falling from a special train taking supporters to a game against Sparta Prague in the Czech capital on Saturday. The accident occurred between the Bezpráví and Brandýs nad Orlicí stations in east Bohemia. The man, who was 30, is believed to have died after falling out a train door he opened while smoking a cigarette.
Runners from around the world are gathering in the Czech capital ahead of the Prague International Marathon. Up to 5,000 runners are set to take part in the 14th Prague marathon, which gets underway on the city’s Old Town Square at 9am. Unlike during a half-marathon earlier this year, participants will cross Charles Bridge, which is currently undergoing extensive reconstruction. A number of tram lines will be diverted and traffic restrictions will be in place.
Baník Ostrava beat Sparta 2:1 in that game, denting the reigning champions’ chances of retaining the Czech league title. With one game remaining Sparta are two points behind Slavia Prague, who beat Mladá Boleslav 2:0 away. The last round of the season takes place next Saturday: Slavia play host to Jablonec at their new stadium, while Sparta travel to Liberec.
Czech President Václav Klaus has vetoed an amendment to the country’s conflict of interest law which would see politicians having to declare the value of the properties they own. According to Mr Klaus, the amendment is ‘unsystematic, ill-conceived and chaotic’ and infringes upon an individual’s right to privacy. The president said he was unhappy with the fact that, under the new legislation, head teachers of both primary and secondary schools would have to, in theory, make public their property assets as well. The amendment can still be passed in spite of Mr Klaus’s veto if a majority of deputies in the Czech lower house vote to overrule the president’s decision.
The Czech Republic beat Switzerland 5:0 at the World Ice Hockey Championships in Quebec on Thursday. The Czechs killed the game off when they scored three goals in the last five minutes of the second period. That result leaves them at the top of Group E on seven points. The Czech Republic’s next game is against Belarus on Saturday.
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