Some disappointment has been expressed over the first NHL ice hockey game ever held in the Czech Republic. New York Rangers beat Tampa Bay Lightning 2:1 in a curtain-raiser for the new NHL season at Prague’s O2 Arena in front of almost 17,000 fans on Saturday evening. However, Czech media outlets reported that there was little atmosphere at the game and, with a number of new players on each team, the standard of hockey was not particularly high. Tampa’s Czech forward Václav Prospal said afterwards that fans at NHL games normally did not cheer on their teams as much as supporters in the Czech Extraliga; Prospal said he himself was not disappointed with the atmosphere, and had not expected two sets of hard-core fans. The second game in the two-match series takes place on Sunday evening.
A government appointed commission on energy policy envisages the life of the Czech Republic’s two nuclear power plants being extended for several decades, the website ekonom.cz reported. The recommendation is included in the commission’s final report, which has been posted on the internet to allow for opposing arguments to be submitted. The commission, led by renowned scientist Václav Pačes, says if their lives are extended, the Temelín nuclear station could serve until 2062 and the Dukovany plant until 2045.
Preparations are being made to change the antenna on the Žižkov television tower in Prague on Monday. Streets around the city’s tallest and most futuristic building will be closed off, and while a helicopter is overhead local residents will be barred from leaving their homes. The helicopter to be used is a Russian Kamov Ka 32 capable of carrying heavy loads and described as a kind of flying crane. It will carry out the operation in three or four flights. The antenna on the 216-m high tower needs to be replaced to improve reception of digital television signals. The Žižkov TV tower, completed in 1992, also serves as a transmitter for FM radio and mobile communications.
Police in Ostrava have arrested an American man wanted in Austria in connection with jewel robbery, a spokesperson said on Sunday. The man, who is 33, is suspected of being behind two robberies in Salzburg this year involving jewellery worth nearly EUR 4.5 million. He was arrested on Wednesday, a day after police in Ostrava received a request from a court in Salzburg for assistance in looking for him.
The Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych has won the Japan Open in Tokyo. Berdych, seeded ninth, beat Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina 6-1 6-4 in Sunday’s final to take the fourth ATP title of his career, and his first since Halle in June last year. Berdych, who stunned second seed Andy Roddick in the semi-finals, picked up USD 135,000 for the win.
In a poll released just a fortnight before regional elections, 48 percent of respondents said they would like to see fundamental changes in regional leadership. Nearly two thirds of those surveyed in the STEM poll said their attitude to politics at the national level would influence their vote in regional elections on October 17 and 18. The largest party in the coalition government, the Civic Democrats, hold 12 of the country’s 13 regional governorships. The Czech Republic introduced the current system of regional administration in the year 2000.
The interior minister, Ivan Langer, says Czech police did not have sufficient advance information about hooligan fans of the Croatian football club Dinamo Zagreb who rioted in Prague on Thursday. Reacting to criticism that Czech police did not handle the situation well, Mr Langer said the violence ahead of a game between Dinamo and Sparta Prague showed the need for greater co-ordination with police in other countries. He said co-operation was harder in the case of Croatia because it is not part of the Schengen border-free zone. Mr Langer said the Czech police had adopted the correct tactic of trying to contain the trouble-makers and not intervening directly. Around 200 Dinamo fans threw bottles and cobblestones and made the Hitler salute on Prague’s Old Town Square, before later attacking police who were monitoring their route to Sparta’s stadium.
A new opinion poll suggests two thirds of Czechs are against the planned construction of a United States radar base in central Bohemia. Sixty-seven percent of respondents in a poll carried out by the CVVM agency in September said they were opposed to the radar, a figure in line with a number of earlier surveys on the issue. The Czech Republic has reached agreement with the US on the base, with the Czech Parliament due to vote on the matter later this year.
The Bulgarian-born philosopher Julia Kristeva will receive the Vision 97 Foundation Prize in Prague on Sunday. The foundation, which was established by former Czech president Václav Havel and his wife Dagmar, presents its award every year to one person who has broadened mankind’s horizons. Ms Kristeva, also known for her work in linguistics and psychoanalysis, said accepting the prize was a way of expressing her respect for Mr Havel, who she said combined experience of language and experience of politics in one person. Previous recipients of the Vision 97 Foundation Prize include the writer Umberto Eco and the psychologists Stanislav Grof and Philip G. Zimbardo.
The number of people from other European Union states working in the Czech Republic is double the number of Czechs working elsewhere in the EU, the Czech labour minister, Petr Nečas, told reporters. He said this meant it was therefore unnecessary for Germany and Austria to bar workers from the Czech Republic and other new EU members until the end of a transition period in 2011. At the end of last year, 144,000 citizens of other EU states were employed in the Czech Republic, compared to 71,000 Czechs working elsewhere in the union. Over 100,000 of the former category were from Slovakia, though Mr Nečas said 40,000 other EU citizens represented a significant figure.