Second seed Petra Kvitova blasted into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday when Russian Maria Kirilenko retired with a leg injury after the first game of the second set of their third round match, having lost the first 6-0. Kvitova had torn through the first set in 34 minutes and then broke Kirilenko in the first game of the second before the 29th seeded Russian walked to the net and shook hands with the Czech. Kvitova will next play either former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic or Vania King in the last 16.
Over 1300 Czechs have received a warning from the police regarding theft of their personal data by hackers. Commercial TV Nova, which aired the story on Friday evening, said the theft occurred in an attack on the US security firm Stratfor in late December and the stolen information allegedly includes people’s bank account numbers. People whom it concerns have been asked to contact their banks and not open suspicious-looking mails which could contain viruses. This is the first time ever that the police has contacted so many people on an individual basis rather than issuing a mass warning.
A fire is reported to have destroyed large parts of St. Sebastian Hotel in the Chomutov region. The fire was reported at around 11 am on Saturday and although six fire brigades fought and eventually contained the blaze most of the roof and the upper floor were completely destroyed. There were only six guests in the building at the time of the fire and all were evacuated in time. No injuries are reported. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.
The Christian Democratic Party, which lost its seats in the lower house in the 2010 general elections, is seeking new impetus and emphasizing the party’s traditional values in preparation for the regional and senate elections this autumn. At the party’s weekend conference its leader Pavel Bělobrádek said the Christian Democrats had learned from their mistakes and were ready for a comeback. He said the party would draft a new policy programme based on the party’s traditional values and the society’s present needs. The Christian Democrat leader slammed the ruling parties for conducting what he called “cynical, unscrupulous and confrontational” politics.
Meteorologists warn that the weather could bring serious complications in different parts of the country over the weekend. Some of the smaller rivers in southern Bohemia are swollen after several days of rain and a number of towns are on second-degree flood alert. Meanwhile heavy snow and strong winds in the higher altitudes are expected to worsen the situation on many Czech roads. Meteorologists expect between 10 and 30 centimeters of fresh snow in the next 24 hours. Maintenance crews are reportedly working around the clock to keep the main roads clear. Drivers have been warned not to set out for the mountains without winter gear.
Police are searching for a hit and run driver who killed a 72-year-old cyclist in the early hours of Saturday. The incident happened near the town of Třebon and the police believe the cyclist was hit by a pick-up which was damaged in the collision. The cyclist was left lying on the road where he succumbed to his injuries. The police have asked possible eyewitnesses to come forward.
Addressing an ideological conference of the Civic Democratic Party on Saturday party leader and Prime Minister Petr Necas outlined the party’s main economic priorities in the face of Europe’s economic downturn. Mr. Necas said the party’s main aim was to support the creation of new jobs and the introduction of job sharing schemes as well as reducing the administrative burden for businesses. He also stressed the need to continue cutting state expenditures in order to gradually lower the deficit in public spending to below 3 percent of GDP.
A court in Hradec Králové has served five to ten year sentences to six youths who in May of 2010 brutally beat up two homeless men in the town of Pardubice. After punching and kicking them in turn the youths left the two men severely injured, bleeding and unconscious on the ground. When they returned to the spot an hour later the men were still lying there and the boys resorted to fresh violence, urinating on their bodies before walking away. One of the men later died of his injuries.
President Vaclav Klaus has slammed the government for failing to accept political responsibility for a decision on whether the country should join the EU’s fiscal union. In an interview for Friday’s daily Lidové noviny Mr. Klaus said the government should make a clear decision one way or another and not hide behind a referendum. He was alluding to Wednesday’s government vote which provisionally endorsed a national referendum on the issue. However not all coalition parties voted in favour of leaving the decision in the hands of the electorate. TOP 09 said the matter was “too complex” to be decided by the public, arguing in favour of its ratification in Parliament. The President also addressed the question of whether the government would need his authorization to sign up to the international treaty. Mr. Klaus said that the prime minister was empowered to sign treaties of this type, but that his signature was not tantamount to a ratification by the head of state, which he was determined to withhold.
Heavy snow and icy roads are complicating traffic in many parts of the country. The Liberec and Vysočina regions are the worst affected, with some roads off limits, and others passable only with extreme caution. Meteorologists have issued another warning regarding icy roads and pavements in the early morning hours of Saturday and Sunday. Traffic police are dealing with a heightened number of accidents around the country.
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