The head of the Christian Democrats, Cyril Svoboda, has said that if his party fails to make it into the Chamber of Deputies in the national election this year, he will step down as party chairman. Mr Svoboda made the statement on private broadcaster TV Prima on Sunday, adding that he did not think a failure to get into the lower house was likely. He indicated that in the event it did happen, it would be difficult to imagine him staying on. Polls have suggested that voter support for the Christian Democrats is hovering at around 5 percent – which is the minimal threshold for any party to make it into the Chamber of Deputies.
In parts of Moravia, ice downing power lines meanwhile contributed to power outages that have left thousands without electricity. Crews are working around the clock to restore power. Inhabitants in some villages have complained of being snowed-under even after three days, saying routes in their area had not yet been cleared by snowploughs.
Czech tennis player Radek Štepánek has lost to the American Andy Roddick in the final of the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament. Štepánek fought a close match, clawing back from 4:0 in the second set, but a double-fault in the tie-break sealed his defeat. The final score was 7:6, 7:6. Štepánek had hoped to defend his title in the tournament from last year. Brisbane is considered final preparation for the first grand slam event of the season, the Australian Open.
Police have charged two women from the south Bohemian town of Tábor with the murder of a 54-year-old goldsmith in České Budějovice in December. The man was found dead in his home on December 15th; he had been stabbed repeatedly but the murder weapon was not recovered. It is thought that theft was the main motive, as a suitcase filled with money and gold disappeared from the man’s home, where he kept a professional workshop. The suspects – 38 and 43 years of age – will remain in custody ahead of trial; if found guilty they could face exceptional sentences for unusual brutality in the killing, the police said. Neither of the suspects has a previous criminal record.
A third straight day of heavy snow (more than 20 centimetres since
Saturday) combined with freezing rain and cold in parts of the Czech
complicated conditions on roads and seen continued power outages. Most
major roads were reportedly drivable, having been gritted with
chemicals, but motorists are being advised to proceed with caution. In the
region of Hradec Králové a number of smaller roads remain closed due to
snow drifts or icy conditions.
Elsewhere, motorists have suffered poor visibility due to continued
One driver, who exited his car near Příbram, was knocked unconscious by a tree falling under the weight of snow; he was taken to hospital and is reportedly in serious condition.
Sweden’s Oskar Svard has won the annual Jizerská padesátka, or
Jizerská 50, a gruelling 50 kilometre cross-country skiing race held in
the Jizerská mountains near Liberec, north of Prague. It is the third
the Swede has won the competition. He finished ahead of Norway’s Thomas
Alsgaard. The Czech Republic’s Stanislav Řezáč was third.
The women’s race, meanwhile, was won by Norway’s Sandra Hansson.
The number of eco farms in the Šumava area increased by 12 in 2009, bringing the number of ecological farms there to 95, a regional centre representative has told the ČTK news agency. 20,000 hectares are being used for eco farming purposes. The head of the PRO-BIO association described eco farms in Šumava as being small and family-run, sometimes integrated within local eco tourism. Eco farms shun the use chemicals in production, as well as artificial growth stimulation in animals. Some local eco-farmers told ČTK their products had been drawing marked interest from consumers, saying they were having difficulties to meet demand.
Over the course of Sunday, conditions in Moravia worsened, with freezing rain and 10 centimetres of new snow complicating traffic. Some parts of the D1 highway were reportedly only partly cleared by snowploughs. Also, the main train route from Moravia to neighbouring Slovakia was blocked for six hours.
In hockey, NHL goalie Tomáš Vokoun earned his 4th shutout of the season
on Saturday, allowing Florida to beat Ottawa by three unanswered goals.
Vokoun, who has been nominated to the Czech Olympic hockey team as its
starting goalie, stopped a total of 24 shots. All the same, he was not
named the first star in Saturday’s match: that honour went to fellow
Czech Rostislav Olesz who scored two goals - both in the 2nd period.
In other action, it was a poor night for Atlanta goalie Ondřej Pavelec against Washington. He was pulled after allowing four goals in 24 minutes. Washington won the game by a final score of 8:1. In net for Washington was another Czech, Michal Neuvirth, who blocked 38 out of 39 shots.
A park at the Kačina chateau, near Kutná Hora, some 90 kilometres from Prague, will be restored to its original 19th century splendour, organisers have said; the renovation project will cost 60 million crowns. Renovation will take place over several stages and is expected to take three years to completion. Some 20 million crowns will come from European funds, the head of the castle museum, confirmed. The English-style park was founded in 1789 by Jan Rudolf Chotek.
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