Cardinal Miloslav Vlk held a mass marking the 'dusicky' tradition of honouring the dead at the church of SS Petr and Pavel at Prague's Vysehrad on Friday evening. The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church also conducted a service at the nearby Slavin, a pantheon containing the remains of some of the greatest figures in Czech cultural history. People around the Czech Republic honour departed relatives and friends every year on 'dusicky', November 2.
The Finance Ministry has launched an investigation into the purchase of new Tatra trucks by the Czech army, Lidove noviny reported. The supplier was selected directly, not through a tender, and critics say the trucks are both over-priced and fail to meet the army's requirements, the daily said. Inspectors and auditors from the Finance Ministry are investigating the CZK 2.6 billion deal signed by former defence minister Jiri Sedivy last December. At the time the government said it had selected Tatra as it was a Czech firm and provided thousands of jobs in the north Moravian region.
Slavia Prague are now six points clear at the top of the Czech football league after a 1:0 home win over second-placed Teplice on Saturday. The only goal of the biggest game of the first division's 12th round was scored by Ladislav Volasek in the 30th minute. Slavia take on Arsenal in the Champions League in Prague next Wednesday; in front of their home crowd, the Czech league leaders will be hoping to make some amends for their 7:0 away drubbing by the London club in their last Champions League outing.
A 20-year-old man has been sent to prison for 19 years for beating his girlfriend's mother to death with a hammer. His girlfriend, who is 17, got a 10-year sentence for urging him to commit the deed during an argument between the couple and the girl's mother in Chomutov, north Bohemia last December. Court experts described the girl as normal and clever, but said the man, Petr Jiskra, was unfeeling and had no compunctions about killing, a regional edition of Mlada fronta Dnes reported.
Meanwhile, the Social Democrats have called for a vote of no-confidence in the coalition government, if it does not resign. The biggest opposition party says the cabinet is in crisis following the announced resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek, who faces allegations of bribe-taking and welfare abuse.
World champion speed skater Martina Sablikova is in doubt for the start of World Cup speed skating in November. The skater suffered a fall in training, leading to a torn muscle in her shoulder. Sablikova fell at the speed of 50 km an hour, together with colleague Pavel Kulma, who suffered a slight fracture and is definitely out for the World Cup start in Salt Lake City.
President Vaclav Klaus has entrusted Deputy Prime Minister and head of the
Green Party Martin Bursik with the temporary running of the education
ministry. The news was made public by the president's spokesman on Friday.
Mr Bursik, who also holds the post of environment minister, will take the
interim job until a long-term candidate can be found. The Greens have
but so far been unsuccessful in finding a successor to former minister
Kuchtova, who stepped down in October.
Mr Bursik has admitted finding a successor had proven more complicated than expected; he said on Thursday that the education ministry should first be stabilised before a new minister is appointed.
Despite pressure growing within his own party for him to resign, Christian
Democrat leader Jiri Cunek has expressed a desire to stay on in his
top post. On Friday Mr Cunek reacted to criticism from a number of senior
figures as well as regional groups calling for his resignation, saying he
had always intended to see through reforms as well as to unify his party -
tasks he says he is still prepared to undertake.
Discontent with Mr Cunek's leadership has grown over the reopening of an investigation into alleged corruption from the time when he was the mayor of Vsetin, North Moravia, as well as over a fresh scandal which broke this week, in which it was alleged that Mr Cunek abused welfare benefits while a private citizen. Against the backdrop of the latest scandal, Mr Cunek said on Thursday he would give up the government posts of deputy prime minister, as well minister for regional development, next week.
Czech international footballer Milan Baros, who plays in France's Ligue 1, will face a court date and the possibility of a high fine, after he was caught speeding in France on Thursday. According to reports, Baros exceeded the speed limit on a highway between Lyon and Geneva by 141 kilometres per hour. The footballer was at the wheel of his Ferrari sports car when he was stopped. French police confiscated both Mr Baros' licence as well as his vehicle. In addition to a hefty fine, the 26-year-old striker will face the possibility of a driving ban of three years.
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