- Czechs mark the 94th anniversary of the foundation of independent Czechoslovakia.
- Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will not attend the evening’s memorial ceremony at Prague Castle.
- Wet weather and freezing temperatures continue to cause problems in many parts of the country.
- The police have arrested a man and a woman suspected of murdering a Vietnamese shop owner.
- In football, Sparta Prague have beaten reigning champions Liberec in the highlight of Gambrinus liga’s 12th round.
Czechs mark Czechoslovakia’s 94th anniversary
Czechs on Sunday mark the 94th anniversary of the foundation of independent Czechoslovakia, observed as a national holiday. Several events commemorate the establishment of the precursor of modern-day Czech Republic; a ceremony with a military oath was held at the National Memorial at Vítkov; another ceremony was hosted by the National Museum in Prague. The celebrations conclude with a ceremony at Prague Castle hosted by President Václav Klaus.
Top government officials to miss Prague Castle ceremony
Prime Minister Petr Nečas and Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg will miss the evening’s ceremony at Prague Castle where President Václav Klaus, for the last time as head of state, presents state honours and decorations to distinguished personalities. A spokesman for the prime minister said Mr Nečas could not attend the event for health reasons while Mr Schwarzenberg told the news website lidovky.cz he was out of Prague for the day, adding it didn’t really matter whether politicians attended the ceremony.
TOP 09’s Kalousek: party will only participate in govt’ led by PM Nečas
A leader of the coalition TOP 09 party, Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, said his group would only participate in a government led by the current prime minister, Petr Nečas. Speaking on a Czech TV channel, Prima, on Sunday, Mr Kalousek said his party would also leave the coalition if the lower house of Parliament next week makes changes to the government’s tax legislation.
Mr Kalousek’s statement comes at a time when Mr Nečas finds himself under pressure from within his party, the Civic Democrats, and a week before he runs for re-election as party chair. Some Civic Democrat MPs, who have refused to back the government’s plant to raise VAT rates, have called for Petr Nečas to step down as party leader.
Wet weather, freezing temperatures cause problems
Wet weather combined with freezing temperatures continue to cause problems in many parts of the country on Sunday. Meteorologists have warned of ice that will be forming on roads and pavements. The authorities advise motorists to drive with extra caution, particularly in mountainous regions where roads are still covered with snow. Several roads and train lines are still closed due to snow and fallen trees. Freezing weather has also claimed its first victim this season; a 45-year-old man who was found lying in the street in the southern town of Tábor on Saturday night, died in hospital of hypothermia.
Police arrest Prague murder suspects
The police have arrested a man and a woman suspected of murdering a Vietnamese shop owner, a police spokeswoman said on Sunday. The police believe the pair entered a food shop in the Prague district of Horní Měcholupy on Thursday night shortly before 4 PM. The woman pointed a gun at the shop owner and demanded cash; when he refused, the woman’s accomplice stabbed him and both of them ran away. The Vietnamese shop owner died of his injuries while being transported to a hospital. If convicted, the suspects face up to 20 years in prison.
Zlín court sends three methanol suspects into custody
A court in Zlín, in the east of the country, has ruled that two men suspected of distributing methanol-laced bootleg liquor. According to media reports, one of the men ran a firm which supplied untaxed spirit to bootleg liquor producers; the other was allegedly involved in distributing illegal alcohol. At least 30 people have died in the country after drinking bootleg alcohol contaminated with methanol. Last month, the police arrested two men who face charges for having produced the deadly beverage and released it into distribution.
Football: Sparta beats Liberec to move to top
Sparta Prague defeated reigning Czech champions Liberec 2:1 in the highlight of the 12th round of Gambrinus liga on Sunday. Sparta went ahead in the 32nd minute when Jiří Jarošík found the net after a corner kick, and the hosts added another strike half an hour later when Sparta’s Ondřej Švehlík scored after another corner. In the 75th minute Liberec’s Jan Blažek set the final score at 2:1. Sparta is ranked second with 23 points, behind Jablonec in first place on goal difference. Liberec remains seventh.
The cold spell is set to continue for several days to come, with snow, sleet and daytime highs of around 5 degrees Celsius.