Meanwhile, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has sent a congratulatory telegram to the Czech president-elect, in which he expressed his hope to further develop a political dialogue with Mr Zeman. Mr Putin wrote that in Russia, Miloš Zeman is seen as a leader who will solidify Russian-Czech friendship.
The Czech tennis captain Petr Pála has nominated the winning team from last year’s Fed Cup final to the first round of this year’s tournament. Petra Kvitová, Lucie Šafářová, Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká will face the Australian team in Ostrava on February 9 and 10. The Australians are the second most successful team in the Fed Cup history, having won the championship seven times. But their last victory was in 1974.
President-elect Miloš Zeman has retired to his home in the village of Nové Veselí in the Vysočina region on Sunday. According to a friend, he is planning to recuperate from the stress of the presidential campaign until Thursday, when he will go back to Prague. Mr Zeman asked not to be disturbed and said he will not pick-up phone calls from friends. The police are still looking for the person who spray-painted a red star near Mr Zeman’s home in Nové Veselí on Saturday night in reference to the former communist regime.
Clean-up work has begun in the town of Pardubice near the mineral oil refinery Paramo on Monday. According to pyrotechnical experts there may be up to 180 unexploded bombs from Allied air attacks during World War II in the soil. In case the bombs are discovered local authorities are prepared to evacuate the area within two hours. As many as 10,000 people may have to be evacuated from their homes, and trains going through the town may have to be stopped and potentially re-routed.
At a press conference the German Foreign Ministry’s spokesman said on Monday that the government is expecting good relations with the Czech Republic to continue under Miloš Zeman as they had in the previous ten years. It has chosen not to react to the debate over the expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia that evolved during the last two weeks of the campaign. In the meantime, the leading German daily Die Welt published an article saying that the government should not invite Miloš Zeman to Berlin, because of the anti-German rhetoric that was used in his campaign. Some other German and Austrian media have expressed similar views.
During the second round of the presidential elections this weekend, a little over three thousand ballots were found to be invalid in the Czech capital. Apparently, some of them were made invalid on purpose. Some voters placed homemade ballots into designated envelopes, indicating their preference for the cartoon character Little Mole (Krtek), for example, or the fictional theatre character Jára Cimrman. One voter placed candy into the envelope instead of the ballot.
The Czech Constitutional Court is now a judge short with the 10-year term of Justice Jiří Mucha having come to an end on Monday. This leaves the court with 12 judges, the minimum number required for it to sit. A further six judges are set to leave the country’s highest court between now and the end of the year, and experts have warned that its case load could pile up which could lead to delays in rulings. President-elect Miloš Zeman has said he hopes to be able to find candidates that would be acceptable to the Senate within a couple of months of taking office in March.
In related news, Mr Zeman said he would approach political parties represented in the Czech Parliament for support for several issues including incentives and investments for the economy, new legislation on financial disclosures, and changes to the voting system in local elections. In an TV interview on Sunday, the president-elect said financial disclosure and the duty to prove the origin of property would be crucial for efforts to curb corruption; the voting system in local elections should enable people to choose candidates on different ballots, according to Mr Zeman.
Czech Davis Cu champion Radek Štěpánek is set to undergo operation to
treat persisting problems with his back, and will miss the first round of
the competition in which the Czech team faces Switzerland next weekend, the
team’s captain Jaroslav Navrátil said on Sunday. To replaced the injured
player, the captain nominated Ivo Minář, ranked 189th in the world, to
play alongside Tomáš Berdych, Lukáš Rosol and Jiří Veselý.
The start of the week should be mostly overcast with snow and daytime highs ranging between -5 and -1 degrees Celsius.
Air pollution in the northeastern Moravian-Silesian region has deteriorated, with dust exceeding the permitted levels at all measuring stations in the region, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute said on Sunday. Smog alert for the area, declared by meteorologists last week, continues to be in place. The conditions are expected to improve next week.
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