A man of 75 died on Saturday after being shot during a hunt near the Moravian town of Třebíč. Police are investigating which of the other members of the hunting party shot the man. The shooter could face a charge of killing by negligence, which carries a sentence of three years. Elsewhere a 19-year-old shot and slightly injured a 59-year-old man during a hunt near Přerov, which is also in Moravia.
The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, has described an anti-government protest by trade unions on Saturday, which was the Czech Republic’s national day of the fight for freedom and democracy and the anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution, as shameless. Mr. Kalousek made the comment on a television debate programme on Sunday. He said the demonstration had been legitimate but that the government was not willing to implement a socialist programme. On a different TV show the chairman of the Senate Milan Štěch, who is a former trade unions leader, said the sentiments expressed in the protest, which was held beneath a banner reading Stop the Government, were shared by most Czechs.
Two new documentary films on the great Czech composer Bedřich Smetana by director Pavel P. Ries are being premiered at Prague’s Světozor cinema on Sunday evening. The first, which features acted sequences, looks at the life of the writer of My Country, while the second is focused on improvements made to his tomb at Prague’s Vyšehrad; it was renovated in the 1980s and there are currently plans to repair it again.
CEZ has complied with the ruling of a court in the Albanian capital Tirana to reconnect electricity supplies to the country’s state-owned water utilities, which owe the Czech power giant 38 million euros, a spokesperson said. The company had disconnected the water utilities on Friday after negotiations had failed to retrieve the debt. The move had put some petrol stations out of action and led to a cut in the supply of water to households and firms. Albanian police on Saturday forced CEZ employees to reconnect the power supply. CEZ has not ruled out taking the issue to a court of arbitration if the debt is not settled.
The Czech men’s tennis team have achieved an historic sporting success after beating Spain 3:2 on matches in a dramatic Davis Cup final in front of 13,000 fans at a sold-out O2 Arena in Prague. The Czechs secured victory when veteran Radek Štěpánek beat Nicolas Almagro 6-4 7-6 3-6 6-3 in the final singles rubber of the weekend. The Czech Republic had only won the competition once in the past, while still part of Czechoslovakia in 1980. The Czech women’s team won the Fed Cup in the same venue two weeks ago and it is the first time that the country has held the two prestigious team titles simultaneously.
Around 100 families in the Czech Republic had lunch with the families of immigrants on Sunday as part of a nationwide project named Family Next Door, which was being held for the ninth time. Organisers say they try to match families according to categories like age, education or profession and the age of their children. A spokesperson for the project said that around three fifths of the people who have taken part in the past are still meeting even some years after their initial lunch together.
The Ministry of Finance has presented the government with a new draft budget for next year. Because of a worsening of the macroeconomic outlook the budget figures with incomes and expenditures that are CZK 4.1 billion lower than originally planned. The new version projects a deficit of CZK 100 billion and the deficit is expected to remain at 2.9 percent of gross domestic project. The government will present the budget for approval by the Chamber of Deputies on November 23.
Thousands of people gathered on Prague’s Wenceslas Sq. for an anti-government demonstration held by trade unions and other groups on Saturday. Organisers said 20,000 to 25,000 people had turned out for the protest, though the police put the figure at around 10,000. Speaking under a “Stop the Government” banner, the chairman of the country’s confederation of trade unions, Jaroslav Zavadil, told the crowd that they did not deserve the current government of “corrupt” ministers. Mr. Zavadil said people were currently too afraid to launch a general strike, but said he hoped the nation would wake up a bit more. Other demonstrations were also held in the centre of the capital.
Events have been held in the Czech Republic to mark the country’s day of the fight for freedom and democracy, which is a state holiday. On Saturday morning the Czech president, Václav Klaus, the prime minister, Petr Nečas, and other senior state officials took part in a ceremony at a Prague hall of residence where there is a memorial to student victims of Nazi persecution in 1939. A march commemorating those students sparked the beginning of the Velvet Revolution on November 17 1989 and people on Saturday also gathered and lit candles at a memorial at the spot where riot police attacked participants on Prague’s Národní St.
A number of Slovak rock bands are playing a concert at Prague’s Rock Café on Saturday night to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution and the upcoming 20th anniversary of the split of Czechoslovakia. The groups Polemic, Billy Barman and Živé kvety will perform at the downtown venue, which is located only metres away from the Velvet Revolution memorial on Národní St. A spokesperson for the organisers said the Czech foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg would appear, as would the former Slovak prime minister, Iveta Radičová, who now heads the Slovak Institute in Prague.
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