Sparta Prague became Gambrinus football league champions for the 2013-2014 season with their second chance over the weekend. Sparta missed out on their first chance on Saturday when they lost away to Teplice 1:3. But they could gain the title without kicking a ball if second placed Viktoria Plzeň dropped points again Jablonec. Plzeň, trailing Sparta by 10 points in the league, did just that with a 2:2 draw on Sunday. Sparta’s league title is the first since 2010 and the 36th in the club’s history.
In ice hockey, the Czech team lost 0:2 on shootouts against Finland in their Euro Hockey Tour match in Sweden on Sunday. The sides drew 1:1 at the end of the third period with no goals added in extra time. The match restored some price to the Czech team after their 0:6 drubbing against Russia on Saturday. The game against Finland is the last official match before the world championships start in Belarus from May 9.
Prague fireman were called Sunday morning to an around 300 ‘oil slick’ on the Vltava river just under the Štefánkův brigdge near the centre of the city. They quickly constructed a protective barrier around it but a specialized company to clear up the slick must be called out by city authorities. The origins of the slick are as yet unknown.
ANO has strengthened its lead in public support according to a separate poll released by the TNS AISA agency. Support for the party led by Andrej Babiš has climbed to 28.5 percent compared with the 18.5 percent of voting intention for the Social Democrats of prime minister Bohulsav Sobotka. The communists were placed third at 11.5 percent of support, TOP 09 fourth at 9.5 percent with the Christian Democrats, Dawn party, and Civic Democrats all passing the 5.0 threshold to enter parliament with 7.0 percent, 6.5 percent, and 6.0 percent of voting intentions respectively. ANO came a surprise second in October 2013’s general elections with 18.7 percent of the vote.
A poll released Sunday showed that 42 percent of respondents are happy with the progress of the current Czech coalition government after 100 days in office and 50% are not. The poll by the TNS AISA agency was conducted for public broadcaster Czech Television. It found the biggest satisfaction over the government’s reset of relations with the European Union and international institutions. Least satisfaction stemmed from its dealing with public finances. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said that key financial proposals on reform of VAT and property declarations are still being drawn up in the finance ministry but should be laid before the government in June. The poll was taken between April 22 and 27 with 1200 respondents questioned.
German president Joachim Gauck will arrive in Prague Sunday for the start of a three day state visit on Monday. The visit will include meetings with Czech counterpart Miloš Zeman and prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka as well as a visit to the fortress town of Terezín, used as assembly camp for Jews during WWII, and car maker Škoda Auto’s plant at Mladá Boleslav. Škoda Auto is part of the Volkswagen Group and is the biggest industrial exporter in the Czech Republic.
The Czech military observer who was held hostage as part of a team from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine is back in the Czech Republic. A special military flight took 41-year-old Josef Přerovský from Berlin on Saturday night after the release earlier in the day. He was accompanied on the flight by defence minister Martin Stropnický. The lieutenant-colonel said that he and other OSCE hostages had thought at times about trying to escape from their captors after being seized on April 25. Minister Stropnický admitted that at some stages there was no fresh news of the hostages and any outcome seemed possible.
In football, Sparta Prague failed to take the opportunity to become league champions on Saturday after succumbing to a 1:3 defeat against Teplice. Sparta failed to claw back any points in the second half after going in 1:3 down at half time. Sparta, who have a 10 point lead over second placed Viktoria Plzeň, can still win the title on Sunday if Plzeň drop any points in their evening match away at Jablonec.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has warned Russia that he holds the country responsible for the foreign observers being held in eastern Ukraine by separatist groups. One of the seven members of a team of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is a Czech soldier. Sobotka told the Czech News Agency that Russia had clear cut responsibility in the case and had taken part in the decision to deploy the OSCE mission. Moscow should now use its influence with the separatists to get them freed, he added. Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told Czech Television Friday that negotiations were continuing daily to free the hostages.
Mayors from 18 local councils in the north of the Czech Republic bordering Germany have sent a letter to the prime minister drawing his attention to the tinder box situation in the area, the daily Lidové Noviny reported on Monday. The deprived Šluknov area was the scene of demonstrations by extreme right wing groups and ethnic tensions with the local Roma community three years ago. Since then, mayors say little has changed in terms of creating jobs or opportunities or increasing local police numbers and council budgets. The mayors warn Bohuslav Sobotka that without action the tensions could boil over again this summer.
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