The latest play by the playwright and former Czech President Václav Havel premiered in the Slovak National Theatre in the capital Bratislava on Saturday. The premiere of the drama “Leaving” was attended by several Slovak politicians; the head of the strongest opposition party, the Christian Democrats, and former Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda said politicians could recognize themselves in the play. Václav Havel, who was also present at the premiere, served as the last president of Czechoslovakia between 1989 and 1992. Slovakia is the third foreign country, after the UK and Poland, where Václav Havel’s latest play has been staged.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek told Czech TV on Sunday that his party would not form a coalition government with the communists after the next general elections. The Social Democrats scored a landslide victory in recent regional and senate elections; in 5 of the country’s 13 regions, they formed regional governments with direct or indirect involvement of the Communist Party. The opposition leader said however that his party was not going to cooperate with the communists on national level.
More than 14 billion crowns, or over 680 million US dollars, is needed to finish various water processing projects around the country, the Environment Ministry said on Sunday. The costs will have to be covered by public funds or commercial credits, as EU funding is no longer available for such purposes. The Union of Towns and Municipalities of the Czech Republic has criticized the government because the costs might increase the price of water. The Environment Ministry also warned that several large Czech cities including Prague could face serious water-processing problems.
Heavy snowfall and strong winds snarled traffic across the Czech Republic over the weekend. Most roads are covered with a layer of wet snow and slush; drivers also have to face strong winds, snowdrifts and subzero temperatures. Several accidents happened along the major D1 motorway between Prague and Brno on Saturday, causing delays. The authorities strongly advise drivers to use tire chains in the country’s mountainous regions in northern and eastern Bohemia. Bad weather is expected to last well into the coming week.
Czech centre Jiří Hudler scored a winning goal for the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday in their 5:2 win over Calgary. This was his fourth score in the last three games. Colorado’s Milan Hejduk opened the score in a game against Los Angeles, and he scored another goal at the shoot-out which secured the Avalanche’s victory of 4:3. In the Continental Hockey League, Jakub Klepiš scored all three goals for Russia’s Osmk in a win over Voskresensk.
President of Slovenia Danilo Türk is set to visit the Czech Republic in early December, according to the Czech president’s personal website klaus.cz. The Slovenian head of state is set to arrive on December 8, some three weeks before the Czech Republic assumes the presidency of the European Union. Slovenia was the first of the new EU member states to have held the rotating EU presidency.
Two miners died in a mining accident in northern Moravia on Saturday. The accident, which occurred shortly before midnight in a mine near the city of Ostrava, was caused by a tremor measuring 3.3 degrees on the Richter scale. The 39-year-old and 46-year-old Polish nationals were working together with another 19 miners more than 700 metres below the surface. All of the other miners were evacuated; three of them suffered minor injuries. This year, seven people have died in north Moravian mines.
An exhibition of nearly 400 nativity scenes opened in the south Moravian town of Hodonín on Sunday. Nativity scenes are a traditional part of Czech Christmas; they are usually made of wood, ceramics, corn or ginger bread. The largest scene on display is six metres tall; the exhibition also features a Romany nativity scene on loan from the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno.
Hundreds of police and customs officers and other officials raided the largest Vietnamese marketplace in Prague on Saturday. The authorities suspect that various kinds of criminal activities take place at the marketplace in Prague-Libuš, known as Little Hanoi. Officials were looking for counterfeits, illegal aliens and wanted persons. Foreigners’ police have detained more than 40 people since the start of the raid. Czech authorities claim that criminality within the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic is on the rise; the Czech foreign ministry recently suspended the issuing of long-term visas for Vietnamese citizens as a result.
Members of the Romany minority from northern Moravia have warned that mass Romany emigration might occur if the government does not deal with right-wing extremism in the country. In a letter addressed to PM Minister Mirek Topolánek on Friday, they said the many Romany families were already seriously considering leaving the country. Last week, a march of some 500 right-wing extremists took place in the northern Bohemian town of Litvínov, with a large Romany community. 16 people were injured in clashes with the police. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Jiří Čunek told the local authorities in Litvínov on Friday that the government was going to address the problem at its next session.