- The presidents of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, meeting on the second day of a summit in Slovakia, have expressed differences in their stance on Ukraine.
- Presidential hopeful Přemysl Sobotka won his party’s opening primaries on Saturday.
- More than 750 people took part in the Prague Zombie Walk, celebrating the horror genre founded by American filmmaker George A. Romero.
- London football club Chelsea, together with star Czech goalie Petr Čech, has won the FA Cup.
- The Czech national hockey team was soundly beaten in its second outing at the World Ice Hockey Championships, losing 4:1 against Sweden.
Presidents express differences in stance on Ukraine
The presidents of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, meeting on the second day of a two-day Visegrad 4 summit in Slovakia’s High Tatras, have expressed differences in their stance on Ukraine regarding the case of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. According to the Czech news agency, all agreed not to boycott this summer’s Euro 2012 football championship (jointly-hosted by Ukraine and Poland) but, for example, Czech President Václav Klaus has chosen not to attend an upcoming summit in Yalta. More than ten statesmen have chosen to boycott the planned summit in protest over how Ukraine’s former prime minister is being treated behind bars.
Mr Klaus stressed there had been no change in his position, in the past having asked Ukraine’s president, Viktor Yanukovych, for assurances that Mrs. Tymoshenko’s trial was not a political one. Slovakia’s President Ivan Gasparovic and Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski, however, will attend; Mr. Klaus said he respected their decisions, not least because their countries, unlike the Czech Republic, both border Ukraine.
Trade union head confirms union reps will not return to negotiating table
Trade union representatives will not return to tripartite talks to discuss planned strike legislation, the head of the independent unions Bohumír Dufek said in a TV debate programme on Sunday. Union leaders said last week that they would return to the negotiating table with the government and employers only when there was a new cabinet or the current centre-right government put the brakes on planned reforms. The head of the trade union’s umbrella organisation ČMKOS, Jaroslav Zavadil, will reportedly arrive for talks to be held on May 10, but only to outline the unions’ demands.
Representatives are planning on organizing a number of protests – including a strike. The unions most recently called for the government to step down following the splintering of its smallest party, Public Affairs, into a new faction and following the departure of Public Affairs from government. As a result Prime Minister Petr Nečas called a vote of confidence that the government survived with 105 votes in the lower house.
Sobotka wins first Civic Democrat primaries
Presidential hopeful Přemysl Sobotka won his party’s opening primaries on Saturday, defeating lone party rival Evžen Tošenovský. The deputy speaker of the upper house received 404 votes, compared to the Euro MP’s 141 in Pardubice and Hradec Králové – two of the country’s 14 regions. Mr Sobotka said that while the contest in his party to elect a candidate was just beginning, he had received a boost into the next stages. The party primaries will continue through June, with the winner being officially announced on July 1.
Twenty-year-old parachutist killed in jump
A 20-year-old parachutist and foreign national was killed on Saturday during a jump at an airfield near Plzeň, the Czech news agency ČTK reports. The tragedy took place at around 5 pm; according to a police spokeswoman, the young man fell around 40 or 50 metres. Emergency workers were unable to resuscitate the jumper, whose injuries were too extensive. Police are investigating the cause of the accident, including the possibility that the parachutist somehow became unfastened from his chute.
Police evict squatters from Cibulka
Police evicted around 20 squatters from well-known Prague ruins of an estate known as Cibulka in Prague 5 on Sunday morning, a police spokeswoman has revealed. Officers during the night checked IDs from among 50 individuals who were allegedly disturbing the peace. Police also questioned the organiser of a screening at the site which ended at around 10 pm and was apparently unrelated. The history of Cibulka dates all the way back to the 14th century, news website ČTK pointed out; one of the squatters evicted admitted Saturday was not the first night she had spent at the run-down site.
Zombie walk attracts some 760 participants
Organisers had to settle for 762 would-be zombies at this year’s Prague Zombie Walk which took place on Saturday - short of a record 1,000 they had hoped to gather for a photo in front of Prague’s Rudolfinum. The annual event (inspired by similar happenings in other European as well as US cities) celebrates a genre founded by American filmmaker George A. Romero. His films The Night of the Living Dead and the 1978 horror classic Dawn of the Dead – earned popularity by showing the difficulty of survival under apocalyptic conditions. The genre has since inspired numerous comic and TV series (such as The Walking Dead). Zombies in Prague, as well as some of their ‘victims’, walked from Malá strana’s Kampa and across Charles Bridge to the Rudolfinum Concert Hall; the day also saw several additional events including a concert and after party.
Football: Chelsea, goalkeeper Čech, win FA Cup
London football club Chelsea, together with star Czech goalie Petr Čech, won the FA Cup on Saturday, defeating rivals Liverpool by a score of 2-1. It is the fourth time in six years that Chelsea clinched the championship and this year has marked a remarkable turn-around for the team, which has struggled to otherwise remain among the top five or so teams in the English Premier League. Later in May, the club will play Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League.
Hockey: national squad loses 4:1 against Sweden
The Czech national hockey team was soundly beaten in its second outing at the World Ice Hockey Championships. The Czechs were downed 4:1 by Sweden, with the Swedes winning each period. The Czechs were only able to get on the scoreboard in the 3rd. After the final whistle, Czech forward David Krejčí shrugged off the loss saying that the team had gelled better than in the opener, indicating it still had a chance to go far. ‘Powerhouse’ Sweden, meanwhile, is being regarded as one of the tournament favourites.
Overcast and rainy conditions are expected into the new week: daytime temperatures on Monday should reach highs of around 15 degrees Celsius.