Tomáš Berdych has beaten US opponent John Isner in three sets in Dusseldorf, Germany, to keep the Czech Republic in contention at the World Team Cup. The Czechs and Americans will now play a decisive doubles match for a spot in the final. Berdych on Friday won by a score of 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(4). The match took two hours and 16 minutes and was a turnaround for the world’s 17th-ranked player, who had begun the match poorly. A spot in the World Team Cup is expected to be decided by US players Bob and Mike Bryan against the Czech Republic’s Lukáš Dlouhý and Jan Hájek.
An unidentified 22-year-old foreign national fell ten metres to his death from a public Prague sculpture in Letná Park, the so-called Metronome, which overlooks the city. The incident took place at around 4 am; police are investigating whether the death was an accident, suicide or murder. Following the fall, a security camera on site captured images of a second man approaching the victim and robbing him of money from his back pocket. Police are searching for the man, who could face two years in prison for the theft and for the failure to call the emergency services. The incident at Letná Park is the second of its kind in recent days. In another incident, a man involved in a fight with a football fan, fell at the same spot. He remains unconscious and in critical condition at a Prague hospital.
The Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes has reported that the Social Democratic Party is preparing a back-up plan if the party wins the upcoming election but is unable to form a coalition government, due to opposition from potential coalition partners to party leader Jiří Paroubek. The Friday edition of the daily writes that it has information the party would be willing to drop Mr Paroubek as a candidate for prime minister if coalition partners pledged to support his bid for the presidency in three year’s time. Mr Paroubek has publically denied any such scenario. Although he has admitted an interest by the Social Democrats to form a coalition with smaller parties, he criticised two of them - TOP 09 and Public Affairs - saying their leaders needed to stop “fantasising about who should be the top Social Democrat”, the daily wrote. Polls have consistently put the Social Democrats on track to win next week’s election.
Officials have announced that the Czech Republic will host the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championship. The news was announced on Friday afternoon after a meeting of International Ice Hockey Federation representatives in Cologne, Germany. The 2015 championship will be split between Prague and Ostrava in the east of the country. The last time the Czech Republic hosted the tournament was in 2004, also in the Czech capital and the Moravian city. The Czechs finished outside of the medals that year, beaten in the quarterfinals by the USA.
The financial daily Hospodářské noviny has reported that Petr Dvořák, the director of TV Nova, the country’s largest commercial broadcaster, would be stepping down after seven years. But the information was quickly discounted by a spokeswoman. She confirmed that while Mr Dvořák had been promoted to vice president position for CME, the firm which owns the station, he would also stay on as general director. Mr Dvořák, who is 45, was first named to the post in 2003. The broadcaster, suffering a drop in advertising sales, is currently undergoing a number of key changes in management.
The spokesman for the Culture Ministry, Jan Cieslar, has revealed that the internationally respected conductor Oliver Dohnányi will be named the new director of the Prague State Opera, replacing Jaroslav Vocel whose mandate runs out at the end of June. The 55-year-old Dohnányi, who was born in Slovakia, was the head conductor of the Czech National Theatre Orchestra until 2007. In his early years, he studied conducting under Václav Neumann at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague and also studied in Vienna. He has been a guest conductor at numerous opera houses worldwide.
The clean up after the floods has started in most parts of Moravia in
spite of overnight rain. River levels stabilised and are expected to
continue falling on Saturday. The highest level of flood alert applied on
Friday at only one site in the south of the country. As flooding eased,
more than a dozen cases of subsidence have been registered with at least
three houses demolished as a result. Hundreds of people evacuated from
their homes have been allowed back in northern and central Moravia,
including the town of Troubky. It was the symbol of the devastating 1997
floods in Moravia.
Power companies have called off their state of emergency with supplies being connected again. The floods have claimed one victim to date, a 69-year-old woman who died in her garden when the River Olše burst its banks at Třinec last Sunday. The Ministry of Regional Development promised up to 30,000 crowns to households that suffered flooding and 150,000 crowns to those whose homes had been destroyed.
In hockey, Montreal defenceman Roman Hamrlík racked up two assists and provided plenty of muscle in Montreal’s own zone on Thursday, helping his team defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The game took place at Montreal’s Bell Centre, and was a must-win for the Canadiens who were down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series. The Habs clinched the game with a score of 5:1. Afterwards, Hamrlík a native of Zlín, was named the game’s first star. Montreal next play Philadelphia on Saturday and will be hoping to square the series.
The government on Monday will resume discussion over a planned trade for private property currently blocking the completion of the country’s D-11 highway to Hradec Králové. Although the government reached an agreement with property owner Ludmila Havránková earlier, ending a 16-year-long dispute, the situation was complicated after it emerged that 1,000 square metres of the land belonged to her sister. In the original agreement, the government agreed to exchange three hectares of land blocking completion of the motorway for land elsewhere, while also offering Mrs Havránková a long-term lease of 300 hectares for farming purposes. Currently the D-11 ends three kilometres short of Hradec Králové.
A trade magazine and survey agency have revealed a drop in sales for the five largest D-I-Y chains in the chains in the Czech republic last year, including OBI, Hornbach and others. Czech clients spent a reported 2 billion crowns less on tools and Do-It-Yourself goods year-on-year, for a total of 27.6 billion. D-I-Y, known as ‘hobbymarket’ in the Czech Republic, is popular in the country especially among cottage and home owners. According to the reports, the drop in sales was related to Czechs’ saving more in response to the economic crisis.
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