A Czech soldier was injured in a rocket attack on an allied forces military base in the Iraqi city of Basra on Thursday, the news website Novinky.cz reported. The soldier, whose hand was hit by shell splinter, underwent an operation at a British field hospital. His condition is stable and his life is not in danger. The chief of staff of the Czech Army, Vlastimil Picek, said the injured man would be brought home.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, made an unannounced visit to Czech soldiers in Afghanistan on Thursday. His visit came a week after a soldier from the Czech Republic became the country’s second combat casualty in Afghanistan. Mr Topolánek first stopped at a field hospital at Kabul airport, before travelling to the province of Logar, where a Czech provincial reconstruction team is operating. The PM told Czech soldiers they were mostly the same age as his oldest child and when one of them was killed or injured it felt as if it had happened to his own child. By coincidence, the second Czech to die in combat in Afghanistan was killed hours after the Czech Parliament approved the sending of 100 extra soldiers to the war-torn country.
A goal by Czech footballer Karel Poborský at the European Championship in 1996 has been voted the greatest individual goal in the history of the competition in a poll on its official website. Poborský cleverly lifted the ball over the Portuguese goalkeeper in the quarter-finals of Euro 96. That lob proved valuable: soon afterwards the midfielder was signed by Manchester United, before going on to a more successful engagement at Benfica. He made a record 118 appearances for the Czech national team.
A new section of Prague’s Metro system was officially opened on Thursday. The C or red line has been extended by three stations, and 4.6 km, from Ládví to Letňany. It will now serve 50,000 more residents of the Czech capital. Speaking at Thursday’s opening ceremony, Prague’s mayor Pavel Bém said extension work would not stop there: nine new stations are to be added to the A or green line, including one at Prague Airport, and a whole new D line is to be built.
The 63rd anniversary of the end of World War II was marked by a number of events in the Czech Republic on Thursday. Czech President Václav Klaus laid a wreath at a monument to Czech soldiers who lost their lives in the service of other countries’ armies in a ceremony attended by veterans and other senior politicians. Mr Klaus also appointed three new generals to the Czech Army. The Chamber of Deputies, the Senate and the prime minister’s residence were opened to the public, on what was a state holiday.
The wife of the former Czech president Václav Havel Dagmar Havlová will
not star in the premiere of his new play “Leaving” (Odcházení) which
is to premiere in Prague’s Archa Theatre on May 22. Mr. Havel originally
wrote the leading female role for his wife Dagmar and insisted on her
getting the part, but a spokeswoman for the theatre said the former first
lady was severely overworked and was forced to cut back on her activities.
“Leaving” has been dogged by problems ever since it was published. It was originally to be staged by the National Theatre but negotiations failed after the theatre refused to cast Dagmar Havlová in the lead role. The project was also turned down by Divadlo Na Vinohradech due to a lack of money. The first foreign premiere of Leaving will take place in London’s Orange Theatre on September 19.
Foreigners staying in the Czech Republic will face fewer restrictions when marrying a Czech national, under an amendment passed by the lower chamber of Czech parliament on Wednesday. Foreigners facing expulsion or registered as persona non grata will be able to enter into marriage or registered partnership in case they submit a police certificate justifying their stay in the country. The legislation is yet to be discussed by the Senate.
Slavia’s new football stadium in Prague’s district of Vršovice opens on Wednesday with an exhibition match between Slavia Praha and Oxford University AFC. The construction of the stadium cost 1 billion crowns (approximately 60 million US dollars); it has 21,000 seats and also includes a hotel and a bank.