The Czech Republic has taken a 2: 1 lead on the second day of the Davis Cup quarterfinal tie against Argentina in Ostrava. In the doubles tie, a rested Radek Štěpánek and Tomáš Berdych beat the surprise combination of José Acasuso and Leonardo Mayer in straight sets. The score was 6:1, 6:4, 6:3. On the first day, Berdych beat Juan Monaco, but only after five sets: 6:4, 2:6, 2:6, 6:3, 6:2. In the second match, Ivo Minář succumbed to Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets: 1:6, 3:6, 3:6.
The 44th Karlovy Vary Film Festival ends on Saturday. The 10-day festival will conclude in the evening with the awards ceremony. This includes the announcement of the winner of the crystal globe for best feature film. Insiders say there is no clear favourite for the award. American actor, director and producer John Malkovich is also due to receive an award for his lifetime contribution to cinema at the closing ceremony.
Czech foreign police have broken up an operation under which fictive Czech fathers illegally helped Chinese woman stay in the country, the daily Pravo reported on Saturday. Police have arrested the Chinese ringleader of the operation, his main Czech accomplice and three of the fictive fathers, the paper said. So far, police have established that the fictive fathers helped 20 Chinese women stay in the country long-term and their children get Czech citizenship. The women paid around 100,000 crowns for the service. Most of the false fathers came from around Tachov and Domažlice in the west of the country.
The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes and Security Services Archive have unveiled plans to make the Communist secret police files and other material available electronically rather than in paper form. The first step will allow researchers access to already digitalised archives at two Prague archive centres and one near Brno. This should be up and running on Monday. Over the next year, the institute will work at allowing Internet access to digital files using a password. Questions have been raised by the Czech media over how much material has already been digitalised and how long it will take to copy the total 280 million pages of archives. The state institutions have come under recent attack for their alleged failure to publish material.
Veteran Czech footballer Pavel Nedvěd has rejected an offer to return to top flight football from Italian club Inter Milan, the player’s lawyer told the ČTK agency. The 36-year-old former European footballer of the year gave his decision to Inter Milan coach José Mourinho. Inter had reportedly offered 85 million crowns a year for the Czech midfielder. Nedvěd announced his retirement at the end of the last season with Juventus.
Czech Roma who have sought asylum in Canada are beginning to return home, the daily Dnes reported on Saturday. The newspaper said that some had overestimated their ability to overcome the language barrier, were unhappy with the hand-outs received from the state and that conditions in hostels had deteriorated with many now full. The Czech Roma association Dženo told the paper that several dozen Roma had returned. The reported return could be a factor in persuading Canada not to re-impose visa requirements on Czech travelling to the country. A final decision on whether to re-impose visas – abolished in 2007 – because of a surge in Roma asylum demands is expected early next week.
First signs are that attendances at this year’s film festival will at least match those for 2008. More than 12,000 filmgoers had registered at the film festival by the last day - around 1,200 more than last year – according to organisers. The number of tickets sold with one day and 39 projections remaining came to 130,711 compared with around 144,000 in 2008.
South Korean car giant Hyundai is considering the Czech Republic as one possible site for launching production of its i20 model in Europe, the daily Pravo reported on Saturday. Other contenders for production of the small car currently produced in India are Slovakia and Turkey. Hyundai wants to launch European production to cut transport costs to its main markets in Britain, Germany, France and Italy. The company already produces cars at its Nošovice plant in eastern Moravia.
Czech police say that an amnesty for illegal weapons has already broken previous records with three weeks to go before it concludes. So far around 5,370 weapons have been return since the nationwide amnesty was launched on February 1. It should conclude at the end of July. This compares with 3,000 when similar operations were held in 1996 and 2003. The returned weapons include a pre WWII heavy machine gun and anti-tank grenade.
A group of Czech senators could file a constitutional complaint against the Lisbon treaty – the EU’s reform document – as soon as the first half of August. On Friday, Civic Democrat Senator Jiří Oberfalzer confirmed the move, telling Czech Radio the challenge had the support of 17 senators. If it goes ahead, it will be the second time a complaint has been filed against the treaty in the Czech Republic. Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic’s parliaments have all approved the document but ‘Lisbon’ has not been signed by those countries’ heads of state. President Václav Klaus, who opposes the treaty, has made clear he could be the last to put his signature to paper. The Lisbon treaty must be ratified by all 27 EU states in order to come into effect.
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