The Czech government on Wednesday approved a bill that will raise the speed limit on some roads from 90 to 110 kilometres per hour, the news agency ČTK reported. The higher speed limit will apply to dual-carriageways classified as 1st class roads. Those will however have to undergo safety audits by the Transportation Ministry before the speed limit is raised. The new legislation approved by the cabinet will, among other things, allow municipalities to sell towed vehicles whose owners fail to recover them within six months.
Retired hockey defenceman Jaroslav Špaček is set to return to ice in Wednesday’s game five of the Czech playoffs finals, the news website isport.cz reported. The 39-year-old Olympic champion from the Nagano Games, who played 13 seasons in the NHL, retired last summer but will appear for his former club Plzeň against Zlín. A manager for the club said Plzeň missed several players and persuaded Špaček to come back. Plzeň and Zlín are tied 2:2 in the best-of-seven final series.
The Czech ombudsman, Pavel Varvařovský, said on Tuesday that his office had received one fifth more complaints in 2012 than the previous year. Mr. Varvařovský said the increase was due to the impact of government social reforms and austerity measures implemented in response to an ongoing recession in the Czech Republic. He also said Czechs had become more aware of their rights and more determined to seek justice. The Ombudsman’s Office, which is based in Brno, received nearly 8,650 complaints last year, with issues surrounding social security the most common.
Final preparations are underway for the 23rd Prague Writers’ Festival, which begins in the Czech capital on Wednesday. The biggest name at this year’s festival will be the Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, while other guests will include Mary Heimann, writer of the divisive Czechoslovakia: The State That Failed. The Prague authorities have said they will significantly reduce their financial support for the Prague Writers’ Festival next year.
Prague’s Nusle Bridge is to undergo major renovations in the next three or four years at a cost of around CZK 350 million, a representative of the city’s roads authority said on Tuesday. The renovation project will begin this summer, when the structure’s lights and drainage system will be overhauled. Traffic will be restricted to two of the three lanes going in either direction when that work is going on. There is also a metro tunnel inside Nusle Bridge, which links the city centre with the large Prague 4 district and was completed in 1973.
Czech President Miloš Zeman sent a telegram of condolence to the president of the United States, Barack Obama, saying Czech people’s thoughts were with Americans in the aftermath of the attack. He said that he regarded the fight against terrorism as one of his foreign policy priorities and that the Czech Republic was an active and reliable partner of the US.
The Czech tennis player Radek Štěpánek has lost his first singles match on the ATP circuit after taking three months out to undergo a neck operation. Štěpánek, who is 34, lost 3-6 3-6 to qualifier Albert Ramos of Spain at the Monte Carlo Masters on Tuesday. He had previously appeared for the Czech team in the doubles rubber of a Davis Cup tie against Kazakhstan in which he and Jan Hájek were beaten.
Czechs find Slovaks most “likable” and Romanies least “likable”, suggests an opinion poll released by the CVVM agency. More than four-fifths of Czechs questioned in last month’s survey said they found their Slovak neighbours and former federal partners “likable”, while around the same percentage expressed antipathy to Romanies. The results were in line with findings in a similar study last year of attitudes to 16 “national groups” living in the Czech Republic, the Czech News Agency reported.
The Social Democrats are still way out in front of their rivals in terms of voter support, suggests an opinion poll conducted this month by the STEM agency. The party would receive 27.7 percent support among those planning to vote, the survey indicates, followed by TOP 09 with 11.4 percent. Some 10.3 percent of respondents said they would cast their ballots for the Communists, while 8.9 percent said they would vote for the Civic Democrats.
The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, has condemned Monday’s bomb attack in Boston. Mr. Nečas said he firmly believed that such an “unacceptable and disgusting terrorist act” would be investigated and those responsible held to account, adding that there was no place for such barbaric and cruel behaviour. Three people were killed and over 170 injured in Monday’s attack, which took place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The Czech police have boosted security at the US Embassy in Prague and said they would take special measures ahead of next month’s Prague Marathon.
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