Czech historians and doctors have concluded that the first caesarian birth in Europe in which both mother and child survived was carried out in Prague at the court of Jan of Luxembourg in the 14th century. They have examined accounts relating to the birth of a son to Jan’s second wife, Beastrix of Bourbon, and concluded that Václav was born as a result of such an operation in 1337. The evidence has been printed in the magazine Czech gynecology. Successful caesarians were rare even as late as in the 18th century with death likely in around 90 percent of cases.
Czech sporting personalities as well as the prime minister and ministers paid tribute to seven times Czech Olympic gold medal gymnast Věra Cášlavská on Monday. A special peal of bells from Prague’s St Vitus Cathedral rang out just before 10 am. An hour long tribute to the gymnast, who died at the age of 74 on August 30, followed at Prague’s National Theatre. The event was attended by many current sports personalities as well as those from the past. Exceptional was one of the words that cropped up most often. Cášlavská dominated gymnastics for almost a decade winning her haul of gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964 and those at Mexico in 1968. She is revered in her country for her support of the reforms that were crushed in the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. In spite of severe pressure and persecution from Communist authorities, she refused to retract her support for one of the main manifestos of the reform movement.
Vladimír Špidla, the former Social Democrat prime minister EU commissioner and advisor to current prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka, has said that Czech influence within the EU would be boosted if the country adopted the single currency euro. In an interview with the business daily, Hospodářské Noviný, Špidla said the Britain’s decision to quit the EU meant a clear increase in influence of those countries using the euro. For the Czech Republic it was vital that upcoming changes, which could happen quickly, should take place within the framework of the whole of the EU and not just Eurozone countries. He added that adopting the euro would boost Prague’s influence and the country’s prosperity. He said it was clear that Eurozone member Slovakia is being pulled away from the Czech Republic.
Karolína Plíšková has moved up to her higher position ever in the WTA rankings after her appearance in the US Open singles final. She is now ranked sixth, an improvement of one place on her previous best seventh place achieved last year in August. Before the US Open, where she was beaten in the final by new number one Angelique Kerber, Plíšková was ranked 11th. Fellow Czech player, Petra Kvitová, has dropped to 16th in the rankings.
The Czech-American pairing of Lucie Šafářová and Bethanie Mattek-Sands won the women’s doubles title at the US Open on Sunday. The established partnership turned round the match after losing the first set 2:6. They won the tie-break in the second 7:6 and took the third set 6:4 against Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic of France. It’s the third Grand Slam victory for the pairing after the Australian and French Opens in 2015.
Prague City Hall officials called Sunday for police to break up an anti-Islamic meeting outside the Saudi Arabia embassy in Prague. They said the meeting was an abuse of religion and had departed from its original goals. Several dozen participants led by anti-Islam activist Martin Konvička gathered outside the embassy and stoned a portable toilet placed there in a parody of the practice at Mecca and the black stone or Kaaba. Konvička said his lawyers would be taking action against the city authorities. The meeting coincided with the 15th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. Konvička had accused Saudi Arabia of being one of the main sponsors of terrorism worldwide. A previous meeting organised by Konvička in Prague’s Old Town Square at the end of August where he and some of his supporters dressed as Islamic State leaders caused controversy as well over whether it should have been banned or allowed to go ahead.
Thirteen people were injured, some seriously, according to preliminary reports when a bus was involved in an accident on the highway between Prague and Kutná Hora on Sunday afternoon. Firemen reported that the bus ended up in a field on its wheels beside the road. Three people were taken to hospital by helicopter. The bus was on a regular bus route serving the district.
Czech universities, institutes, and the private sector are involved in a four year project to find a strain of wheat which will better withstand drought conditions and high temperatures. The Mendel University in Brno, Palacký University Olomouc and Crop Research Institute outside Prague have teamed up with the Znojmo-based company RAGT for the research. Most of the work will be focused on trying to develop strains with better developed root systems. The options for European wheat are limited as strains must also frequently deal with late frosts. The research is taking place with an eye to expected climate change and increasingly variable weather conditions.
The Czech Republic could end this year with a balanced state budget, according to finance minister Andrej Babiš. Much depends on how many ministries will spend cash earmarked for them in the remaining months, he added. The state budget recorded a surplus 80 billion crowns at the end of August. A spending spree by ministries at the end of the year is a normal occurrence. The planned budget deficit for this year is 70 billion crowns, though it pretty clear now that figure is exaggerated. A shortfall in spending of around 30 billion crowns in infrastructure, especially transport investments, is one reason for the prospect of a balanced budget. Another is the low level of unemployment, now at its lowest level since August 2008.
The funeral of legendary Czech gymnast Věra Cašlavská took place on Thursday at the Šumperk crematoria with out the public and media. Last respects were given earlier at a Catholic church at nearby Bělá Pod Pradedem, in the north-east of the country, the news server Echo24 reported. Cašlavská, the winner of seven gold medals at the Tokyo and Mexico Olympics in 1964 and 1968, died at the age of 74 on August 30. A one hour tribute to the most successful ever Czech Olympic competitor will be paid in Prague’s National Theatre on Monday. Cašlavská was also know for her support of reforms ahead of the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and was persecuted by the Communist authorities afterwards for refusing to renounce her earlier views.
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