The Czech Republic are facing an uphill battle to reach the knock-out
stage at the football World Cup. After losing against Ghana on
Saturday, the Czechs need to at least draw with Italy on Thursday and
hope for a favourable outcome in a game between Ghana and the USA.
Defender Tomas Ujfalusi and forward Vratislav Lokvenc will be suspended for the Italy match, while first choice strikers Milan Baros and Jan Koller remain doubtful.
Fines for misusing, deliberately damaging or "grossly disparaging" Czech state symbols have tripled, under an amendment which has just come into effect. The new penalty for abusing the country's flag or state emblem is 10,000 crowns (around 450 US dollars). And institutions which do not raise the flag on national holidays can be fined up to 15,000 crowns.
Mr Paroubek, whose Social Democrats came second in recent elections,
said on Sunday he would not rule out supporting a government led by the
election's winners, the Civic Democrats. He said it depended on what
concessions the Civic Democrats would make; their plans for a flat tax
and the privatisation of public services are opposed by the Social
The Civic Democrats are trying to form a coalition with two smaller parties, but the three would be one seat short of a majority in the lower house.
The Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych has been beaten by world number one Roger Federer in the final of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. After losing the first set of Sunday's match 6-0, Berdych fought back to take the second in a tie-break, before losing the third and final set 6-2. Berdych recently lost to the Swiss star in the French Open.
The minister of defence, Karel Kuhnl, has visited Czech soldiers serving in the city of Kandahar in the south of Afghanistan. The Czech special forces are taking part in a large operation there against Taliban fighters. Earlier on Saturday Mr Kuhnl visited a group of Czech bomb disposal experts and meteorologists at Kabul international airport.
A memorial ceremony was held on Sunday in honour of the Czechoslovak
parachutists who lost their lives after taking part in an operation to
assassinate the Nazi governor of Bohemia and Moravia, Reinhard Heydrich.
Sergeants Jan Kubis and Josef Gabcik and other members of their group were
hiding in the crypt of Prague's Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius when
they were surrounded by German troops on June 18, 1942. They fought until
dawn, but the situation was hopeless and they chose to take their own
lives rather than surrender.
Sunday's memorial was attended by World War II resistance fighters and several politicians, including the prime minister, Jiri Paroubek.
The jazz singer Vlasta Pruchova has died at the age of 79. Known as the first lady of Czech jazz, she was actually born in Ruzomberok in Slovakia. In a career spanning over half a century, she appeared with many of the country's leading groups and orchestras. Her late husband Jan Hammer - a cardiologist by profession - also played jazz, while their son Jan Hammer is an internationally famous musician.
The Czech Republic have been beaten 2:0 by Ghana in their second group game at the football World Cup in Germany. The Czechs conceded the first goal within minutes of the kick-off, and were put under great pressure when defender Tomas Ufalujsi was sent off after 65 minutes. Despite a brilliant performance by goalkeeper Petr Cech, Ghana managed to seal their victory with a second goal ten minutes before the end. The Czech Republic's last group match is against Italy on Thursday.
Prague's museums are opening their doors to the public free of charge from 5pm to midnight on Saturday, as part of the annual "museum night". Twenty-one institutions are taking part in the event, which has been organised by the National Museum. Prague's transport authority is laying on extra buses for visitors.
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