Czechs have been from Friday able to pay homage to the Olympic star gymnast and critic of the 1986 invasion of Czechoslovakia, Věra Cašlavská. A steady stream of people laid flowers and signed a commemorative book at a small square besides Prague’s National Theatre from Friday morning. The homage to the seven times Olympics gold medal winner will continue until mid-day on Monday, when an hour long tribute to Cašlavská will be held at the theatre. It will include a ballet performance, theatre, and comments from fellow sports personalities and figures. Cašlavská, a star of the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and Mexico Olympics four years later, died at the age of 74 on August 30. As well as her sporting triumphs, she was also known for her support of reforms in Czechoslovakia and opposition to the moves following the Warsaw Pact invasion that year to roll them back. She was persecuted by the Communist authorities for signing a text in favour of the reforms.
Researchers say they are delighted by the initial results of a scan of one of the Czech Republic’s archaeological treasures, the ceramic statuette of a naked woman known as the Venus of Dolní Věstonice. The scan produced around 8 gigabytes of data and analysis of the first findings shows significant impurities in the composition of the fired clay in the head and legs, the Moravian Museum’s Petr Neruda said in a press conference on Friday. The reasons for this are not yet known. Analysis of the findings of the scan should continue until the end of the year when the first definitive results should be available. The statue is reckoned to be up to 29,000 years old. It was found during excavations in 1925but its significance was only slowly appreciated.
Prague Municipal Court on Friday announced the bankruptcy of engineering company ČKD Praha Diz, a significant player on domestic and international markets. Nobody in court opposed the proposal from creditors. Insolvency proceedings related to ČKD Praha Diz started already in August. The company has been involved in a long running legal battle with Prague City Hall over completion of the Blanka road tunnel in the capital. An arbitration court at the end of August ruled that Prague City Council did not have to pay 1.7 billion crowns sought by the engineering company in connection with the work.
President Miloš Zeman has said he will attend both a three-way meeting between unions, employers, and the government on Monday as well as the weekly Cabinet meeting. The main topic for both meetings is set to be the state budget for 2017. The three way meeting of the so-called Tripartite should also tackle the issue of sickness payments. Unions want to end the current system where employees are not paid during the first three days of illness. They should also discuss the introduction of a week’s paternity leave for fathers. Budget talks will focus on the Ministry of Finance’s latest move to revise downwards its revenue and spending expectations for 2017 by just over 15 billion crowns while aiming to keep the overall target budget deficit unchanged at 80 billion crowns.
Almost one in two children now born in the Czech Republic is to couples out of wedlock or single mothers, according to figures from the Czech Statistical Office. The trend is described as the most striking of recent years. Last year around 48 percent of new born babies come into this category. The figure in 1989 was just 8.0 percent. The EU average for children born out of wedlock is around 40 percent. Iceland tops the league of children born to unmarried parents with around two out of three children fitting the bill.
The rate of Czech inflation speeded up in August to 0.6 percent year-on-year compared with 0.5 percent in July. Higher prices for alcohol and tobacco were among the main factors fuelling the rise. A slowdown in the drop in food prices, which has been a feature of recent months, and higher charges for utilities also contributed. The Czech National Bank has a long term inflation target of 2.0 percent which it has long struggled to look like achieving. Some analysts, however, see a chance that the inflation rate might rise to beyond 1.0 percent by the end of the year.
Parliamentary backing was given Friday to moves to step up and broaden supervision of the state intelligence and counter espionage services. A government bill aiming at that was backed in the lower house of parliament. The bill will bring all the state services, including for the first time the Office for Foreign Relations and Information, under parliamentary supervision. It also aims to create an independent watchdog body. The Office for Foreign Relations and Information aims to collect foreign intelligence vital for Czech state and economic interests.
In ice hockey, new national coach Josef Jandač got off to a losing start in a warm up match for the World Cup of Hockey against Russia in St Petersburg on Thursday night. After going ahead, the Czech team eventually ran out 3:4 losers. Tomáš Plekanec scored in the 57th minute to close the gap but there was not enough time on the clock for the Czechs to tie. Jandač praised the performance of players up front but said there was more work to do on the defense. The return match will be held in Prague on Saturday.
Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková has reached her first ever Grand Slam final after defeating world number one and top seed Serena Williams 6:2, 7:6 in the semi-final of the US Open. It is the first time in 23 years that a Czech has reached the finals of the women’s competition. Jana Novotná last achieved that in 1998. Tenth seeded Plíšková has also ended the American's reign as world number one. The 24-year-old Czech will face German second seed Angelique Kerber in the final.
Two foreign firms will for the first time operate the air medical service in the Czech Republic. Along with the Czech company DSA, the service will be run by Slovak Air Transport Europe and the Austrian Helikopter Air Transport, the Czech Television reported on Thursday. The decision was made this week by the Health Ministry’s commission and must be yet confirmed by the Health Minister Svatopluk Němeček.
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