The Czech Republic’s Roman Kreuziger has come ninth in the Tour de France for the second year in a row, reaffirming his position as one of the world’s top cyclists. Kreuziger, who is 24, was junior world champion in 2006 and has to date won the Tour de Romandie, the Tour de Suisse and the Tour of Sardinia, making him one of the most successful Czech cyclists of all time.
Police in Prague have arrested a 44-year-old man on suspicion of setting fire to a prefabricated container-like building in which a woman died. The body was discovered in the Prague 8 district on Friday night. A post-mortem confirmed that the victim, who was 40 and not Czech, had burnt to death. Police thanked members of the public who had come forward with information about the incident.
Two police cars collided in Prague on Saturday evening, the news website idnes.cz reported. The vehicles, both using their sirens, were in pursuit of another car when they crashed into one another at a crossroads in the district of Holešovice. Although one of the police cars came to a halt on its roof, there were no injuries. The driver they were pursuing, who had sped off when challenged to pull over for a roadside control, managed to escape.
An annual festival aimed at drawing attention to Mikulov’s tradition of cultural diversity and tolerance is being held in the south Moravian town. Visitors to the three-day event, taking place this year for the 11th time, have been sampling various kinds of food from around the region and beyond. One of the organisers told the Czech News Agency that a noble family which ruled Mikulov for five centuries, the Dietrichsteins, had tolerated 13 different religious faiths. The town, which is near Vienna, was home to one of Moravia’s biggest Jewish communities.
The wife of former Czech prime minister Jiří Paroubek has sparked a row with comments she made about female members of parties in the recently formed coalition government. Petra Paroubková suggested the women had slept their way into high office in an SMS message she sent to reporters after losing a court case. Kristýna Kočí of Public Affairs said for her part she had gotten into politics thanks to the voters of her constituency. Public Affairs’ Kateřina Klasnová, who is deputy speaker of the lower house, recently married the party’s main financial backer, Vít Bárta, who is minister of transport. Both women appeared with female party colleagues in a “glamorous” calendar that has made international news. Regarding Petra Paroubková’s suggestion, Communist MP Miloslava Vostrá said if she was to reply in the same tone, then the former knew what she was talking about.
The Czech football goalkeeper Petr Čech has called for a change in the rules to allow substitute goalies to receive medals if they play any part in a league competition. Currently all players have to have made at least 10 appearances during a Premier League season to receive a medal if their club win the title. But in an interview for the Observer newspaper the Chelsea star said it never happens that a second choice goalkeeper makes that many appearances in a league campaign. Čech said the current regulation was “ridiculous” and should be amended to take into account the different situation of back-up keepers.
Around 1,000 people held a protest in Moravský Krumlov on Sunday over the moving of Alphonse Mucha’s Slav Epic to Prague. The series of 20 paintings has been housed in Moravský Krumlov castle for over 50 years and is the town’s main attraction. However its owner, the city of Prague, will on Monday begin moving it to the capital, where it will be displayed at the Veletržni Palác modern art gallery. Mucha’s heirs are also opposed to such a move, which they regard as merely temporary. The Art Nouveau pioneer gave the Slav Epic to Prague, on the condition that the authorities built a dedicated home for his late masterpiece, a condition that remains unfulfilled. Saturday was the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alphonse Mucha in the Moravian town of Ivančice.
Around 2,000 carp died in a fishpond in the village of Luženice in west Bohemia, novinky.cz reported. Fire officers arrived at the scene on Saturday and the cause of what the news website referred to as an environmental disaster will now be determined by laboratory tests. Several possible causes have been advanced, including chemicals running off from nearby fields and a lack of oxygen in the water.
Though Serbia is not in the European Union, Czech tourists can enter the country with a Czech state ID card and need not show a passport, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced on its website. However, several other European states that are not members of the EU have already extended this advantage to Czechs; they include Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.
US President Barack Obama wrote a thank you note to Jan Fischer when he stood down recently as Czech prime minister. Mr Obama congratulated the former Czech leader on his achievements and thanked him for exceptional hospitality during a summit in Prague in April at which the American president signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev. In the letter, made public by a former Czech government spokesperson, he also wrote that during Mr Fischer’s tenure as the head of an interim government relations between Prague and Washington had deepened. Last September Mr Obama announced that his government was dropping a plan created by the previous US administration for an anti-missile shield that would have had bases in the Czech Republic and Poland.