The Czech Republic are leading France 2:1 in a Davis Cup World Group first round tie. After a win for Tomáš Berdych and defeat for Radek Štěpánek on Friday, the two overcame Richard Gasquet and Michael Llodra 6-3 1-6 6-4 6-2 in the doubles. One more win from the two singles rubbers on Sunday would see the Czech Republic advance to the second round. France has not lost at this stage of the Davis Cup since 2000.
Four rebel members of the Greens could be expelled at a meeting of the party’s national council on Sunday, a representative said. MPs Olga Zubová and Věra Jakubová and former education minister Dana Kuchtová are among those who could be thrown out of the smallest party in the governing coalition, after setting up a fraction named Democratic Appeal in opposition to chairman Martin Bursík. Party officials said the rebels had overstepped the mark by appearing in public, using the party emblem and setting up their own website.
One third of Czechs say they and their families are feeling the effects of the financial crisis, according to a new opinion poll by the Median agency quoted in the newspaper Mladá fronta Dnes. Respondents around the age of 50 with lower levels of education were more likely to say they were feeling the pinch. Three quarters of university graduates said the crisis had not affected them.
The documentary René by Helena Třeštíková opened a festival of Czech films entitled Made in Prague that got underway in London on Friday night. Made in Prague is set to visit 13 British cities in the next two months. Among the feature films inlcuded in the festival are O rodičích a dětech (Of Parents and Children) by Vladimír Michálek and Medvídek (Teddy Bear) by Jan Hřebejk.
The Czech ambassador to Kenya, Margita Fuchsová, has signed on behalf of the European Union a deal with Kenya on the transfer to Kenya of suspected Somali pirates detained as part of an EU anti-piracy naval mission. AFP reported that Ms Fuchsová and Kenya’s foreign minister, Moses Wetangula, signed the agreement in Nairobi on Friday. The Czech Republic currently holds the rotation presidency of the EU.
The Czech president, Václav Klaus, has said government intervention cannot be a cure for climate change. Speaking at a conference entitled ECO:nomics in Santa Barbara, California, Mr Klaus said it was necessary strictly to separate legitimate care for the environment from climate alarmism, which he said could lead to the limitation of freedom and societal development. The Czech president reportedly accepted an invitation to speak at the conference as he expected to debate with former US vice-president Al Gore. However, Mr Gore spoke a day earlier and the two did not meet. Václav Klaus has repeatedly stated that it is a fallacy to believe the behaviour of mankind is responsible for global warming, and has compared environmentalism to communism.
The Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková has won the final race of the long track World Cup. The 21-year-old had already won the overall World Cup competition for the season before Friday’s 3000 m in Salt Lake City, her third such title in a row. Sáblíková will be hoping to take her fine form into the single distances World Championships, which begin in Vancouver next week.
The film director Juraj Herz is to receive a prize for lifetime contribution to Czech film at the Czech Lion awards on Saturday night. A Slovak-born Holocaust survivor, Herz was an assistant director on Oscar-winning Obchod na Korze (The Shop on Main Street) before making his debut as director in 1965 with the 30-minute Sběrné surovosti (The Junk Shop), based on a short story by Bohumil Hrabal. Three years later he helmed the great Spalovač Mrtvol (The Creator).
The highest level of flood alert is no longer in place on any of the Czech Republic’s rivers. There had been fears that rivers including the Sázava, Dyje, and Jihlava would burst their banks; however, thanks to a drop in both precipitation and temperature water levels have begun to fall. Heavy flooding in the Czech Republic in 1997 and 2002 led to deaths and significant material damage.
With further rain expected, three rivers broke their banks at points on Friday, increasing concern over the threat of large-scale flooding in parts of the country. As water levels pass critical points on the Sázava, Dyje, and Jihlava Rivers, authorities in Prague have closed floodgates as a preventative measure, though the capital is not presently expected to be at serious risk of flooding. Above-average water levels were reported in places on Friday, however no risk to life or property was reported and by evening the levels of some rivers were falling. The Czech Republic was hit by devastating floods in 2002 which wreaked hundreds of millions of crowns in damages.
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