Czech orienteer Michal Smola received the main award of the Czech Fair Play Club for 2009 on Friday. Smola, a member of the Czech national orienteering team, helped save the life of a French competitor who suffered serious injury at a World Championship race in Hungary last year. The Czech Fair Play Club also awarded rower Václav Chalupa and hockey player Josef Černý for their sense of fair play demonstrated throughout their sporting careers.
Czechs MPs supported a motion on Friday to legally sanction the Czech capital of Prague as a single voting district in local elections. The bill will now go to parliamentary committees for further debate. If approved by the lower house of Parliament, the new law would thwart plans by the right-of-centre Civic Democrats who want to divide the capital into several voting districts to eliminate smaller political groups. During the last local elections in 2006, Prague was a single voting district while in the previous elections four years earlier, the capital was divided into five constituencies.
The quality of air in northern Moravia has again worsened, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute said on Friday. Most measuring stations in the region registered values twice exceeding emission standards of dust. The regional authorities have asked the biggest polluters in the area, including the steel producer Arcelor Mittal, to say how they are going to limit emissions. The lower house of Parliament also called on the Czech government on Friday to come up with concrete measures to improve the situation.
Czech double Olympic champion Martina Sáblíková won her fourth consecutive World Cup in long distance speed skating after triumphing in the cup’s final 3,000 metre event in Heerenveen, Netherlands on Friday. The 22-year-old Sáblíková was 20 points ahead of Germany’s Stephanie Beckert, who could still secure overall victory. But the Czech beat her by 1.32 seconds in the final run to clinch the title.
The head of the right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party Mirek Topolánek
has called on Interior Minister Martin Pecina to resign from the
caretaker cabinet if he opts to run for the Social Democrats in the
upcoming election. The right-wing politician was reacting to apparent
confirmation by the Social Democrats’ Petr Hulinský on Thursday, that
Pecina would head the candidates list in Prague. Interior Minister Pecina
was nominated to the current caretaker government by the Social Democrats,
after Mirek Topolánek’s government fell in a vote of no confidence
roughly one year ago. Mr Topolánek has charged that if the interior
minister runs, all his remaining actions in office will fall under the
Reacting to the development on Thursday, Interim Prime Minister Jan Fischer said he was not prepared to recall the minister from his post if he decided to take part in the election but stressed he expected him to be apolitical and neutral while in office, staying outside of the election campaign. He also made clear that such a move on the part of the minister would not strengthen the position of the caretaker government.
Two passenger wagons of a “City Elefant” train were damaged by fire on Wednesday evening at a station in the suburbs of the Czech capital. The train was headed from the town of Beroun to Prague, with about 40 passengers aboard. All managed to safely exit the train and no one was hurt in the incident a spokeswoman for Czech Railways confirmed. Fire fighters from nearby units – professional and voluntary – intervened. It is thought that the fire – which caused more than 1 million crowns damage to the vehicle – was caused by a malfunction in the heating system.
The Social Democrats have taken down snapshots of opponents at their
political rallies that were posted on the party’s website, awaiting a
decision by the Office for Personal Data Protection. The party posted the
photos, it said earlier, to determine whether protestors appeared at
different rallies across the country – an indication they might be
professionally organised by a rival political party. In posting the
the Social Democrats, however, may have breached individuals’ right to
privacy; the chairman of the Office for Private Data Protection, Igor
Němec, said that no political party could post such pictures without
individuals’ consent. An official decision on the case is expected to be
reached by his bureau within a week.
Meanwhile, critics of the Social Democrats have hit back with a Face Book campaign, showing pictures of themselves with their middle finger raised. Last year on several occasions Social Democrat representatives at rallies were pelted with eggs.
Police from the country’s national anti-drug centre say they arrested a group of four individuals in February suspected of the illegal manufacture and sale of marijuana and cocaine. Defence Ministry spokeswoman Lucie Kubovičová said that one of the four suspects is a member of the Prague Castle guard. If found guilty, each of the suspects could spend up to ten years in prison; three of the people are Czech nationals, one is from the Netherlands. Police monitored the group over several months, determining it operated in Prague and Central Bohemia. Detectives moved in during an attempted sale of half a kilo of cocaine and three kilos of marijuana in Prague’s Letňany. Drugs seized at the suspects’ homes were estimated as being worth around 1.5 million crowns.
In the NHL on Wednesday, Czech hockey player Tomáš Fleischmann scored
the overtime winner for the Washington capitals over Carolina. The goal
came in the 64th minute and the final score was 4:3. The goal was
Fleischmann’s 19th so far this season. The player, who was one of the
more effective on the national team at the recent Winter Olympics, was
benched the last game for Washington; after the match he expressed hope
that the goal would help his place on the roster.
In other action, Radim Vrbata scored a penalty shot that helped Phoenix down Vancouver 4:3. The win is Phoenix’s 40th this season, a record the team has matched only once before, in the 2001/2002 season.
An unknown perpetrator brandishing a firearm held up a bank on Prague’s Vinohradská Street on Thursday morning, shortly before ten am. He forced a teller to give him an undisclosed amount of funds before escaping the scene. No one was seriously hurt in the incident but the teller in the hold-up was attended to by emergency services. The perpetrator is believed to be a young man of darker complexion, about one metre 70 in height. During the hold-up, he wore a long black jacket and large sunglasses. According to reports, he spoke Czech poorly.
Czech Ambassador to Ethiopia Pavel Mikeš: ‘If you wait long enough, an egg will walk on two legs’
New debate erupts over use of -ová suffix in Czech female surnames
Archaeologists find unique grave of Roman era warlord in Uherský Brod
The Czechoslovak occultist plot to kill Hitler by magic
Josef Becher – the man behind Czech Republic’s iconic liqueur