President Václav Klaus has announced Friday May 28 and Saturday May 29 as the dates for general elections in the Czech Republic. That weekend was the last possible time elections could have been held as the Chamber of Deputies is due to be dissolved on June 3. Some political parties had pushed for the polls to be held two weeks earlier, saying it would give the next cabinet more time to prepare the 2011 budget. The Social Democrats head opinion polls, though no party is expected to win an outright majority.
There was an improvement in the air quality in the Moravia-Silesia region on Saturday following several days of extremely poor air. However, airborne dust levels were still above the maximum permitted 50 microgrammes per cubic metre in some places. The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute recently announced a smog alert in the region; it was the first time it had declared such an alert since being given that power in November.
The football associations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia are holding discussions over the possibility of setting up a joint league, which would recreate the situation before the two countries split in 1993. The idea was first put forward by the Slovak FA, the newspaper Sport reported. The deputy chairman of the Czech FA Miroslav Kříž said after talks in Bratislava that the matter was in its early stages and its very feasibility was currently being examined. European football’s governing body UEFA has never agreed to the establishment of a joint league in two countries, and there have been suggestions in the Czech media that it would be unlikely to make an exception in this case.
Prince Charles will visit Prague in the second half of next month, the website euro.cz reported. It said the heir to the British throne would be accompanied by his wife Camilla and would probably meet Czech President Václav Klaus and his spouse Livia. However, the visit has not been officially confirmed. Prince Charles has a long association with Prague. In 1991 he was involved in the establishment with then Czechoslovak president Václav Havel of a fund dedicated to preserving historic buildings in the city. Since that time he has twice been to the Czech capital to visit sites renovated by the fund.
Nominations for the Český lev or Czech Lion national film awards will be made at Prague’s Lucerna cinema on Saturday night. The event, which will be shown live on public broadcaster Czech Television, precedes the actual awards ceremony, which takes place in exactly a month’s time. However, prizes will be given on Saturday for best foreign film and the critics’ choice of best Czech feature film and documentary.
A measure aimed at reducing the number of heavy trucks on Czech motorways on busy Friday evenings has seen its first results. Operators of an electronic tolling system on the motorway network said there had been a fall of 13 percent in truck numbers on Friday, following a price increase. From the start of this month lorries carrying 12 tonnes or more have to pay 50 percent more than the usual rate if they use motorways between 3 and 9 pm on Fridays.
The Czech women’s team are drawing 1:1 with Germany in the first round of the World Group in tennis’s Fed Cup in the Moravian capital Brno. Lucie Šafářová, who had been running a fever earlier this week, was easily beaten 6-2 6-2 by Anna-Lena Groenefeld in the first singles rubber on Saturday afternoon. Later, however, Petra Kvitová beat Andrea Petkovic 6-4 6-4 to even the score. The best-of-five series will continue on Sunday with two more singles matches, followed by a doubles rubber.
Work has been completed on an extensive new library at the humanities faculty of Prague’s Charles University. The new, three-floor library, which is located beneath the university building on náměstí Jana Palacha by Staroměstská metro station, has the capacity to hold a quarter of a million books. Students will be able to make use of it from April.
Jaromír Jágr was taken off injured after only the first period of his club Omsk’s second last game before the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. There have been reports in the Russian media that Jágr strained his groin in Friday’s match, though the seriousness of the injury is not clear. The 37-year-old, regarded as one of the greatest Czech players of all time, is the only man in the current squad who was in the side that took gold at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan’s Nagano.