In the NHL, Czech goalkeeper Dominik Hašek led his team the Detroit Red Wings to a 4:2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The win gives the Red Wings a 2:0 lead in this best-of-seven series against the Predators, in the first round of the NHL play offs. Hašek stopped 25 shots, while fellow Czech and team mate Jiří Hudler notched up one assist.
Over 100 people gathered in Prague on Sunday to march against racism and anti-Semitism. The march started on Franz Kafka Square in Prague’s Jewish quarter and ended up in the Senate’s Valdštejn Gardens, where the crowds were addressed by the head of the Senate Přemysl Sobotka. The march was organized as a protest against recent neo-Nazi marches to have taken place in Prague and Plzeň. Isreali and Czech flags were waved throughout the march, and traditional Jewish songs were sung. European commissioner for Education and Culture Ján Figel’ also addressed those present.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has called for greater cooperation between Czech and Brazilian investors during a visit to the Czech Republic largely aimed to promote trade. In a joint press conference with his Czech counterpart Václav Klaus on Saturday, Lula called upon Czech businessmen to visit Brazil more frequently, and said that Brazilian entrepreneurs should set out to familiarize themselves with the Czech economy. Brazil is Prague’s top Latin American trading partner, with Brazilian exports of mostly agricultural goods in 2007 totaling six billion crowns (380 million USD).
Tomáš Berdych was forced to retire with a leg injury in the first of the Czech Republic’s Davis Cup matches on Sunday, sending opponents Russia into the tournament’s semi-finals. Nikolay Davydenko recorded his seventh win over Berdych in as many matches and gave Russia an unassailable 3-1 advantage in the quarter-finals of the tournament, being held in Moscow. The Russians had gone 2-1 ahead yesterday when Davydenko and Igor Andreev beat Radek Štěpánek and Pavel Vízner in the men’s doubles. On Friday, the scores were one apiece with Russia’s Marat Safin battling from two sets down to get the better of Berdych, and Štěpánek experiencing few troubles beating Andreev in straight sets. Russia will now face either Sweden or Argentina in the semis.
The head of the Czech Confederation of Industry, Jaroslav Míl, has said that he thinks it is unrealistic to talk about the country’s entry in the European single currency before 2013 at the earliest. In an interview with Václav Moravec for Czech Television, Mr Míl said that the government should set a date for euro adoption, but stressed that adoption of the common currency would not be possible before overhauling further the healthcare and pensions systems. The Czech Finance Ministry planned to have the Czech Republic ready for euro-entry by 2012, but that date has been postponed indefinitely. Governor of the Czech National Bank, Zdeněk Tůma, has said that the country could feasibly adopt the single European currency as late as in 2019.
Czechs and Americans negotiating the terms on which US soldiers would be allowed to live on Czech soil did not reach an agreement on Friday as they had hoped. Delegates negotiating the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) were unable to agree on questions of income tax and the criminal jurisdiction of American troops on Czech soil. Czech prime minister Mirek Topolánek has said that the agreement will now have to be signed in early May, at the same time as a Czech-American treaty paving the way for a US radar base to be stationed on Czech soil.
Russian duo Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev battled from a set down to beat Czech pair Radek Štěpánek and Pavel Vízner to lift their side 2 -1 ahead in the Davis Cup quarter-final in Moscow on Saturday. The hosts won 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours 58 minutes to make it 2-1 in favour of Russia. On Friday, Marat Safin of Russia battled from two sets down to put his squad into the lead with a win over Tomáš Berdych of the Czech Republic. In the second singles’ clash Štěpánek experienced few troubles beating Andreev in straight sets to level the scores at 1-1. Reverse singles will complete the tie’s schedule on Sunday.
Leaders of the opposition Social Democrats told party deputies on Friday to get ready to bring a new vote of no confidence against the current government. Since the elections, the Social Democrats have tried on two separate occasions to topple the government through a vote of no confidence, both times without success. Head of the Social Democrats Jiří Paroubek said that there was every chance that this vote of no confidence would not succeed, but that it was the ‘role’ of the opposition to try anyway. According to Mr Paroubek, the opposition are unhappy with the current pensions system, the return of Christian Democrat Jiří Čunek into the cabinet, and the government’s stance on building a US anti-missile defence shield in the Czech Republic.
Fifty-nine percent of Czechs are satisfied with their physical condition, suggests a poll conducted by Unilever released on Saturday. Only 31 percent of respondents, however, said that they took regular exercise. The most popular forms of exercise in this country are cycling, swimming and walking, suggests the poll. Respondents of up to 44 years of age preferred sports that they could do in fitness centres, while older respondents in general preferred outdoor activity. Nearly half of those polled said that they were happy with the physical condition of their partner, while nearly as many respondents worried that their partner was not taking enough care of him/herself. Around 28 percent of Czechs polled said that they played sport with their partners.
Three people died, and 38 were injured, when two trams collided in the North Moravian town of Ostrava on Friday. The Czech rail inspectorate is calling the accident one of the worst in recent history. Police are investigating one of the drivers, who is thought to have ignored signposts and driven the wrong way down a one-way stretch of track. His tram collided head-on with a second. According to the rescue services, 15 of those injured are in a critical condition. All those trapped in the trams following on from the accident have now been rescued, though work continues at the scene.
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