Viktoria Plzeň are still heading Czech soccer’s first division after a 2:1 home win over relegation-threatened Teplice on Sunday. Plzeň are only ahead of rivals Sparta Prague, who also have 47 points after 22 games played, thanks to a goal difference of two. Sparta beat Olomouc 3:0 away on Saturday.
The minister of labour and social affairs, Ludmila Müllerová, says her ministry will this year lack billions of crowns needed for social welfare payments. Speaking on a TV debate show on Sunday, she said she would ask the Ministry of Finance for increased funding. However, the minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek (who is also from the TOP 09 party), said he could find no extra money for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Mr. Kalousek said Ms. Müllerová would have to find the money needed within her own department, which receives the greatest amount for outlays of any ministry.
The Czech Republic have reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup after opening up an unassailable 3:1 lead over Kazakhstan in Astana. The Czech team – without the country’s men’s number one, Tomáš Berdych – won the first two singles rubbers on Friday before losing in Saturday’s doubles to allow the hosts back into the tie. However, Lukáš Rosol calmed Czech nerves by beating Evgeny Korolev 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-2 on Sunday. The Czech Republic are the defending Davis Cup champions after taking the trophy in Prague at the end of last year, while the country also holds the Fed Cup.
Around 500 people took part in an anti-government demonstration on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Sunday. The protest was organised by the south-Moravia based Holešovská výzva (Holešov Appeal), an umbrella group formed about a year ago that demands the resignation of the coalition government of Petr Nečas and other changes. They named their demonstration Twilight of the Godfathers, indicating their wish to see the end of alleged mafia involvement in Czech politics.
The Czech soccer captain Tomáš Rosický scored both goals for Arsenal in a 2:1 win over West Bromwich Albion in an English Premier League game on Saturday. They were his first league goals of the season. The midfielder, who is 32, had headed a shot of the line to prevent a West Brom lead when the score stood at 0:0. Rosický has said he will consider his future at Arsenal in the summer, after not being a regular starter this term.
A 56-year-old woman died from methanol poisoning in a hospital in Orlová, north Moravia on Friday. She was the 25th victim of methanol poisoning in the Moravia-Silesia Region, while over 40 people have died around the Czech Republic since the first such death last summer. The Ministry of Health imposed a ban on sales of all spirits for a two-week period in September in a bid to deal with a health crisis stemming from illegally-produced poisonous booze. Police are still warning against the consumption of old bottles of spirits and of alcohol of uncertain provenance lacking the correct stamps.
The Czech Republic are leading 2:1 on matches against Kazakhstan in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup. On Friday, the Czechs – who are without the country’s men’s number one, Tomáš Berdych – got off to a perfect start when Jan Hájek and Lukáš Rosol won their singles matches to open up a 2:0 lead. However, in Saturday’s doubles rubber Hájek and Radek Štěpánek were beaten 7-6 6-4 6-3 by Evgeny Korolev and Yuriy Schukin. The Czechs are the defending Davis Cup champions after taking the trophy in Prague at the end of last year.
The Ministry of Transport has played down a report in Mladá fronta Dnes suggesting that it is proposing the creation of central register of bicycles in a bid to reduce the number of thefts. A ministry official said on Saturday afternoon that the idea was only aimed at fostering debate on the issue of bicycle thefts. The prime minister, Petr Nečas, had said earlier in the day that a register of that type, which would cost around CZK 20 million, would only increase bureaucracy. Last year nearly 8,000 bicycles were stolen in the Czech Republic, where the total number of bikes is around 4 million, Mladá fronta Dnes said.
Around 12,000 people took part in the Prague Half Marathon on Saturday. The race was won by Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea in a time of 1:00:10, meaning organisers’ hopes of a world record in the 15th edition of the race were dashed. The fastest of the women was Kenya’s Gladys Cheron, who set an event record of 1:06:47. The full Prague Marathon takes place on May 12.
Saturday marks the 135th anniversary of the foundation of the Social Democratic Party, which is today the Czech Republic’s largest left-wing grouping. The party was established at the Kaštan house of culture in the Prague district of Břevnov on April 7 1878 as part of the Austrian Social Democrats. Present-day leaders laid a wreath at the still-functioning Kaštan on Friday, while on Saturday an anniversary ball is being held at the National House in Prague’s Vinohrady district.
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