Some 500 fans of Prague football club Slavia took part in a traditional march on Sunday afternoon hours ahead of the club's derby with crosstown club Sparta. The march took them from Wenceslas Square to the city's Náměstí republiky to Letná plain. The event was monitored by the police; no incidents were reported. Those who took part the march wore 'gentlemen's attire' - clothing printed to look like tuxedo jackets.
Snowboarder Eva Samková narrowly missed a chance to win this year's Crystal Globe, finishing a mere 40 points behind Italy's Michela Moioli, who clinched the title. Samková, an Olympic gold medal holder from Sochi 2014, finished second in the final World Cup snowboardcross race in Baqueira Beret, Spain.
A fourth group of Christian refugees from Iraq arrived in the Czech Republic on Sunday. The 21- member group will be taken to facilities in Prague and Smilovice, where they will spend two months getting acclimatized to local life and learning Czech. Originally 23 people were expected, but two of reconsidered and opted to remain in Iraq. The relocation of 153 Iraqi refugees (from 37 families) in all from Mosul is being financed by the Generation 21 foundation.
Following the closure of the Balkans route, additional agreements with north African countries will likely be needed to stem the tide of migrants to Europe, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday - the day an agreement between the EU and Turkey on the return of migrants formally came into effect. He suggested the so-called Italian route, longer, and in his view less effective than the Balkan route, would eventually also have to be closed, and that a deal on the return of migrants with Libya would be necessary, once the situation in that country had stabilized and once Libya had a regular government. Measures for stopping boats, possibly a NATO operation, would also be necessary, he suggested. The prime minister was asked about the matter on a political debate programme on Czech TV.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has expressed the conviction that the government coalition can fulfill its mandate without any need for changes ahead of the election next year. There had been speculation that one of the parties in government, the ANO movement, was considering trying to attract Dawn MPs over to its side to gain enough seats to allow them and the Social Democrats to rule without the junior Christian Democrats. The prime minister said if anyone was considering such scenarios, it was without the involvement of his own party. On Friday, the financial daily Hospodářské noviny wrote that TOP 09's Miroslav Kalousek had offered support for a minority government of the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats, if ANO decided to leave the current government. The offer was reportedly in order to hold off early elections.
Fashion designer Liběna Rochová took the top award in the annual Czech Grand Design competition on Saturday evening, for a fashion series inspired by artist Milan Grygar. She also clinched the top prize in the fashion category. The prize for best newcomer (or discovery of the year) went to design duo Markéta Držmíšková and Petr Hák, for work in porcelain and the Sequence storage system. Acclaimed architect and designer Bořek Šípek, who died last month, was honoured in memoriam and inducted into the hall of fame.
Defence Minister Martin Stropnický has said the annual budget of the Czech Army should increase by 4.5 billion crowns year-on-year, an rise that will allow the military to complete planned investment and tenders. The minister made the statement following a meeting of an experts with the Czech head of state on Saturday. Last year, the Czech Army operated on a budget of 49 billion crowns. Minister Stropnický said the budget as outlined for next year would give the military a solid foundation for modernization and development.
Gabriela Soukalová won the women's biathlon World Cup overall title for the first time on Saturday, finishing fourth in the 10 kilometre pursuit race in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Finland's Kaisa Makarainen clinched the 10-kilometer pursuit but fourth was enough for Soukalová to secure the title with one race remaining. Soukalová is the second Czech to win a biathlon World Cup overall title after Jiřina Adamičková in 1990, and also ends the season top of the pursuit standings.
The ANO party will spend 50 million crowns on its regional election campaign this year, party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has told the Czech News Agency. The leader said ANO was setting as its goal to win a minimum of five regions and place second where it failed to clinch victories. Mr Babiš is to partly finance the campaign with an ongoing loan; according to figures dating back to 2014, cited by ČTK, the party owed its leader 65 million crowns. Fellow members in government, the Social Democrats expect to spend 100 million on their own campaign.
More than fifty police officers took part in an extensive raid this week which included as search of homes and vehicles in the area of Cheb, and charges against eight people for the illegal production and sale of marijuana, the police have revealed. Confiscated in the crackdown were around four kilograms of dried marijuana, almost 100 plants, and several tens of thousands of crowns from sales. Charges against three of the persons were brought the same day: if found guilty, two face a potential 10 years behind bars, the third, five.
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