The new football season has gotten underway: the first match-up took place on Friday between clubs Sparta Prague and Teplice. Some 15,000 fans turned up in Teplice for the start of the season. The game saw careful tactics and numerous opportunities but ended scoreless. For Sparta the opener was a chance to get back in action ahead of its match on Tuesday against Greek side Panathinaikos in the third qualifying round of the Champions League.
Unknown assailants on Friday evening injured a child in Česká Třebová, near Pardubice east of Prague, when they threw rocks at a departing express train. Czech Railway spokesman Radek Joklík confirmed the incident but did not elaborate on details. The incident took place on Friday just before 8 pm. The case is being investigated by the police.
The Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes has reported that police are investigating money transfers across five countries in a case of suspected money-laundering involving businessman Roman Janoušek. Mr Janoušek is being investigated by the Swiss. Mladá fronta Dnes reported the transfers included Switzerland, Panama, Liechtenstein, Great Britain, and Cyprus – a system that had drawn suspicion. It was reported this week that earlier the Swiss had frozen Mr Janoušek's Geneva account in which he had a reported 13 million Swiss francs (the equivalent of around 12 million USD). Other sources said the account had since been unblocked. Experts are looking into the source of the funds and whether they could be related to Czech state commissions. Roman Janoušek is a close friend of Prague Mayor Pavel Bém. The connection has raised concern among some leading Civic Democrats, including party leader Mirek Topolánek. Mayor Bém said he would not comment on Mr Janoušek's activities, which he said had nothing to do with the city.
Czech cyclist Roman Kreuziger has moved up to 9th spot in the Tour de France – a day before the gruelling race wraps up. In the 20th stage on Saturday riders tackled a famous climb on Mont Ventoux; Kreuziger finished seventh on the day. US cycling legend Lance Armstrong was fifth, the stage was won by Juan Manuel Garate of Spain. The 23-year-old Kreuziger, who rides for Liquigas, stated at the beginning of this year’s Tour that he hoped to finish in the top ten. It is his second appearance in the famous race. The overall leader is Spain’s Alberto Contador.
A 16-year-old boy drowned in a kayaking accident on the Labe River in the Trutnov area on Saturday. He and a friend were thrown into the water when their kayak overturned as the two were attempting a sluice. The other boy was able to make it to shore. Fire fighters found the missing boy’s body some 700 metres downstream, after searching for over an hour.
Police have been investigating a shooting which took place in the early hours of Saturday on Prague’s Wenceslas Square - an incident which left one person injured. According to reports, a 60-year-old man on the square drew a firearm and shot after being accosted by a group of unknown assailants. The incident took place sometime around 1 am. The bullet struck no one but deflected off of the pavement, hitting a homeless man who had been sleeping nearby. He suffered only a slight injury. The attacking group immediately dispersed, leaving the 60-year-old shooter unharmed. Police have not said whether the man fired on purpose or whether it was an accident.
Only 17 percent of Czechs are convinced it is possible to live a quality life, with dignity, in old age, a new poll has suggested. The survey, conducted by Insoma, questioned more than 1,000 respondents over the age of 15. 12 percent viewed old age as a period of threat and risk; 45 percent said it was a regular part of life. Regarding fears, 78 percent said they worried most about illness in old age, while 55 percent worried they would be unable to get by financially. At the bottom end of the poll, 21 percent of respondents worried that as pensioners they would not have enough influence in society.
Around 70 left-wing radicals and anarchists demonstrated in Svitavy on Saturday in protest of growing right-wing extremism. The aim of the event was to commemorate victims of neo-Nazi violence in the country since 1989. Dozens of police monitored; there were no incidents. The march was meant to counter a planned neo-Nazi demonstration in August in support of a skinhead sentenced in 2003 to 17 years in prison. The man, Vlastimil Pechanec, murdered a Romany man in 2001, stabbing him twice in the stomach; the victim died in hospital.
The Czech ambassador to the EU, Milena Vicenová, has met with representatives of the European Commission, as well as her Canadian counterpart Ross Hornby, to discuss Canada’s recent decision to reinstate visas for Czech nationals. Canada took the decision on July 14 in reaction to the high number of Czechs, mostly from the Roma community, filing asylum applications. Mrs Vicenová said after the meeting that the EC had voiced support for the Czech Republic. The Czechs have asked Canada for changes, including the following: for its nationals to not have to travel to Vienna for visas or to fill-in more detailed paperwork than other EU members. The Czech Republic also asked that Canada provide a thorough explanation of its decision to reintroduce visas.
Members of the Social Democratic Party have charged that Czech President Václav Klaus, as well as a group of senators from the Civic Democratic Party preparing to challenge the Lisbon treaty, could threaten the post of Czech EU commissioner. At a press conference on Friday, Social Democrat MEP Jiří Havel warned that the Treaty of Nice would continue to be valid if Lisbon failed - meaning the Czechs could end up losing the post. On Friday Mr Havel made clear he favoured current Czech EU commissioner, Social Democrat Vladimír Špidla, continuing in the job, while deputy party leader Bohuslav Sobotka mentioned both Mr Špidla and the Czech-American economist Jan Švejnar as possible candidates. Czech politicians have so far been unable to agree on a joint candidate for EU commissioner. The country’s two largest parties – the Social and Civic Democrats – are expected to negotiate on a candidate after the election in October.
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