While river levels in Moravia continue to stabilise, meteorologists are forecasting heavy storms and hail for parts of the area. Rivers could rise in certain locations to the third-level emergency status. According to the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, the precipitation should not cause further flooding elsewhere than in cellars or lower-lying buildings. A storm during the night on Friday saw increased water levels in the regions of Šumperk and Jeseník, with the Branná river reaching the third-level. Roughly 30 landslides have occurred in other parts of Moravia as the water levels recede. Prime Minister Jan Fischer visited North Moravia on Saturday to inspect the damage.
Two young people were seriously injured on Sunday by a lightning strike near the north Bohemian town of Trutnov. One of the victims suffered major burns and was brought by rescuers to the burns centre of Prague’s Vinohrady Hospital by helicopter in a state of unconsciousness. The other victim of the accident was conscious and was taken to hospital in nearby Hradec Králové.
The new centre-right political party TOP 09 has spoken out against a rival campaign that suggests they would welcome a coalition with the Social Democratic Party. Referring to new posters put out by the Civic Democratic Party showing TOP 09 vice-chair Miroslav Kalousek shaking hands with the centre-left Social Democrat leader Jirí Paroubek, TOP 09’s Karel Schwarzenberg called a coalition between the parties unacceptable and guaranteed that as chairman he had the backing of the party to commit to that stance. In related news, Mr Paroubek told the daily Právo on Saturday that no cabinet or deputy ministerial position in a government of his party would be filled by any member of the Communist Party.
The Prague Zoo has announced that the baby gorilla born in its care roughly a month ago is a male. As gender cannot be determined by eye in gorilla young, it was found out by testing DNA taken from its droppings, a method that is not conclusive and must be conducted multiple times. It is now the second young male gorilla of three at the zoo. The animal is to be named on May 30 by its “godfather”, singer Karel Gott. So far the public has sent in 3000 suggestions for mostly Cezch and African names.
The Ministry of Finance has provided 55 million crowns for disaster relief in the three regions most affected by recent flooding in Moravia. 20 million will go to the regions of Moravia-Silesia and Zlín while another 15 million has been earmarked for the region of Olomouc. Officials said they expect the regions themselves to match the first round of financial aid provided by the federal government. Meanwhile, the Forum of Donors says that private donors have so far given more than seven million crowns in aid to humanitarian organisations for disaster relief. The Ministry of Agriculture has so far estimated that the floods have caused a billion crowns in damages to waterways and agriculture alone, with an additional 550 million in damages to road and rail infrastructure in the regions.
Tomáš Berdych has beaten US opponent John Isner in three sets in Dusseldorf, Germany, to keep the Czech Republic in contention at the World Team Cup. The Czechs and Americans will now play a decisive doubles match for a spot in the final. Berdych on Friday won by a score of 1-6, 6-1, 7-6(4). The match took two hours and 16 minutes and was a turnaround for the world’s 17th-ranked player, who had begun the match poorly. A spot in the World Team Cup is expected to be decided by US players Bob and Mike Bryan against the Czech Republic’s Lukáš Dlouhý and Jan Hájek.
An unidentified 22-year-old foreign national fell ten metres to his death from a public Prague sculpture in Letná Park, the so-called Metronome, which overlooks the city. The incident took place at around 4 am; police are investigating whether the death was an accident, suicide or murder. Following the fall, a security camera on site captured images of a second man approaching the victim and robbing him of money from his back pocket. Police are searching for the man, who could face two years in prison for the theft and for the failure to call the emergency services. The incident at Letná Park is the second of its kind in recent days. In another incident, a man involved in a fight with a football fan, fell at the same spot. He remains unconscious and in critical condition at a Prague hospital.
The Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes has reported that the Social Democratic Party is preparing a back-up plan if the party wins the upcoming election but is unable to form a coalition government, due to opposition from potential coalition partners to party leader Jiří Paroubek. The Friday edition of the daily writes that it has information the party would be willing to drop Mr Paroubek as a candidate for prime minister if coalition partners pledged to support his bid for the presidency in three year’s time. Mr Paroubek has publically denied any such scenario. Although he has admitted an interest by the Social Democrats to form a coalition with smaller parties, he criticised two of them - TOP 09 and Public Affairs - saying their leaders needed to stop “fantasising about who should be the top Social Democrat”, the daily wrote. Polls have consistently put the Social Democrats on track to win next week’s election.
Officials have announced that the Czech Republic will host the 2015 Ice Hockey World Championship. The news was announced on Friday afternoon after a meeting of International Ice Hockey Federation representatives in Cologne, Germany. The 2015 championship will be split between Prague and Ostrava in the east of the country. The last time the Czech Republic hosted the tournament was in 2004, also in the Czech capital and the Moravian city. The Czechs finished outside of the medals that year, beaten in the quarterfinals by the USA.
The financial daily Hospodářské noviny has reported that Petr Dvořák, the director of TV Nova, the country’s largest commercial broadcaster, would be stepping down after seven years. But the information was quickly discounted by a spokeswoman. She confirmed that while Mr Dvořák had been promoted to vice president position for CME, the firm which owns the station, he would also stay on as general director. Mr Dvořák, who is 45, was first named to the post in 2003. The broadcaster, suffering a drop in advertising sales, is currently undergoing a number of key changes in management.
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