Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has advanced to the finals at the WTA tournament in Budapest, after beating Germany`s Carina Witthöft 6:4, 6:3. It is Šafářová`s first singles final since she won Prague Open last year. The one-time world number five will be playing for the eighth title in her career.
The Czech Republic has been marking “masopust” or the traditional Czech carnival which comes before the fasting period of Lent. Processions of people wearing colorful masks and costumes on Saturday marched through a number of villages and towns across the country, celebrating the beginning of Lent, which is traditionally accompanied by a zabijačka or pig-slaughter. One of the biggest event took place in the town of Roztoky u Prahy, with more than two thousand people attending the costumed parade to nearby Únětice.
The National Gallery in Prague has unexpectedly closed down all its premises due to “serious technical and operational reasons”. The information was published on the gallery`s website on Saturday. According to the news site Denik.cz, the move was a result of a terminated contract with the security agency guarding the gallery`s buildings. According to the head of the PR ad marketing department, Miroslav Krupička, the gallery will prolong the validity of the purchased tickets until the end of May. It is not yet clear when the gallery will re-open again.
Finance Minister and billionaire businessman Andrej Babiš was unanimously re-elected leader of the ANO party in Prague on Saturday. Mr Babiš was the only candidate to run for the post. In his opening speech to the conference on Saturday, Mr Babiš criticized other parties, accusing them of teaming up together against his movement. He repeated his call on abolishing the Senate and suggested that deputies should only be allowed to serve two terms. In his speech Mr Babiš paraphrased Donald Trump`s election slogan, saying that his election goal was to make the Czech Republic great again.
Around one thousand people demonstrated in the centre of Prague on Saturday against the law on electronic cash registers, which came into effect in December 2016. The gathering on Wenceslas Square was organised by the Association of Entrepreneurs and Managers and two other groups. The system, under which businesses’ sales are relayed to an online taxation database in real time, enters its second phase on March 1, when it starts to apply to retailers. The association’s chairman described the system as instrument of state despotism and spying on business people. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš argues it will curb tax evasion.
Czech midfielder Bořek Dočkal has agreed on his transfer from Sparta Prague to Henan Jianye in the Chinese Super League. Both clubs confirmed the move on their website on Saturday. According to Czech media, Sparta may have received up to 230 million crowns (around 8.5 million euros), which makes Dočkal the twelfth most expensive Czech football player in history. The 28-year-old player, who joined Sparta in 2013, has scored six goals in 29 internationals.
Czech news agency ČTK's photographer Roman Vondrouš has won second place in the Sports Action category of the prestigious Pictures of the Year International competition. Mr Vondrouš won with a photo called “Irish bank”, picturing the jockey Dušan Andrés falling off his horse at a hurdle during the the Czech Republic's Velká pardubická steeplechase. The Pictures of the Year International competition was established in 1944. More than 50,000 works from over 70 countries are submitted to the contest each year.
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Kristina Colloredo-Mansfeld in a drawn-out battle over ownership rights to Opočno Chateau in East Bohemia. A regional court in Hradec Králové ruled last year that the Renaissance-era chateau belongs to the state, a verdict in line with several previous rulings. Countess Kristina Colloredo-Mansfeld, a descendant of the original owners, has fought for the property since 1991. All verdicts went against her except one in 2014 when the Constitutional Court upheld her complaint. The countess may appeal the verdict yet again. Opočno Castle was first seized by the Nazis and then nationalized by the Communists.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek is to visit Sudan on Sunday to try to negotiate the release of a Czech national who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for espionage and subversion. He will be meeting with his Sudanese counterpart Ibrahim Ghandour and members of parliament. Petr Jašek, a Czech Christian missionary, was arrested in Sudan in 2015. He was convicted of several crimes including espionage and fomenting hatred among local communities. Some 400,000 people from all over the world have signed a petition for his release.
As of 2018 sales outlets will no longer be able to hand out plastic bags for free to shoppers, according to an amendment to the law passed by the lower house on Friday. The move will bring Czech legislation in line with EU norms. Small, clear plastic bags for pastry and fruit will be allowed. Most salespeople are already charging customers for plastic bags.
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