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Czech prime minister pays tribute to Shimon Peres

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has joined world leaders in paying tribute to former Israeli prime minister, president, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres who died in the early hours of Wednesday at the age of 93. Mr Peres had been hospitalized after suffering a stroke two weeks ago. Mr Sobotka called Shimon Peres a major figure in Israeli politics and his death a huge loss for Israel, stressing that politicians of his stature were needed to end "violence and religious fundamentalism" in the region of the Middle East. The statesman's funeral is scheduled for Friday and is due to be attended by world leaders including US President Barack Obama, US presidential candidate and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, former US president Bill Clinton, Pope Francis, Prince Charles and many others.

Foreign Minister Zaorálek to attend Peres funeral

Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek will attend the funeral of Israeli statesman Shimon Peres on Friday on behalf of the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka confirmed. The foreign minister will head the Czech delegation to pay last respects. Czech President Miloš Zeman will not be part of the delegation as he will be on a working visit to Greece, his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said on Wednesday. His spokesman said the president would send a condolence letter; through his spokesman Mr Zeman expressed regret over Shimon Peres' death, calling him a great statesman who had been able to lead his country even at the age of 90.

Members of the public and politicians mark the Day of Czech Statehood

Czechs on Wednesday marked the Day of Czech Statehood and paid tribute to the patron saint of Bohemia St. Wenceslas, murdered on this day (by his brother Boleslav) in the year 935. The town of Stará Boleslav saw a traditional pilgrimage and mass on Marianské square near the church where he died. The mass was celebrated by Bishop Vojtěch Cikrle and the guest preacher was Cardinal Joachim Meisner, holder of the Czech Republic's highest state honour, the Order of the White Lion. For the first time, the mass was attended by President Miloš Zeman, who on the day called St. Wenceslas "one of the teachers of European civilization". Others who took part in the pilgrimage to Stará Boleslav were former president Václav Klaus, Deputy Prime Minister and Christian Democrat leader Pavel Bělobrádek, and leader of opposition party TOP 09 Miroslav Kalousek. September 28 has been a national holiday since the year 2000.

President Miloš Zeman turns 72

The Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, turned 72 on Wednesday but unlike in 2014, public broadcaster Czech Radio reported, planned no official celebration this year. According to the broadcaster, last year Mr Zeman marked his birthday at a Russian restaurant in New York City, where he was attending the session of the UN General Assembly. A year earlier, he held a larger celebration both at the president's chateau in Lány and at Prague Castle to which notable guests, including the prime minister, were invited.

Czech Republic's spot in Global Competitiveness report remains unchanged

The Czech Republic neither improved nor worsened in the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017, remaining 31st out of 140 countries ranked. In the report released by the World Economic Forum, Switzerland came first for the eighth time in a row. The study, which uses 70 per cent survey data and 30 per cent hard data, takes into consideration 12 pillars of competitiveness to determine the country’s ranking. Areas studied include health care, infrastructure, education and the labour market.

Czech goalies get ice time in NHL pre-season

Czech goalies have gotten ice time in pre-season matches in the NHL: David Rittich, who played his last two seasons for Mladá Boleslav, took to the ice for the first time for his new team the Calgary Flames. Rittich came on in the third period in a game against Winnipeg and stopped six shots and allowed no goals. The final score was 3:0 for the Flames.

The Washington Capitals' Vítek Vaněček played the opening 28 minutes against the Carolina Hurricane, allowing a single goal. The Caps lost the match 2:1 in overtime. The 20-year-old goalkeeper got the start again and played the full 60 minutes against the Montreal Canadiens but allowed five goals on 29 shots. The final score was 5:2.

Nashville's Marek Mazanec stopped 11 shots by Florida and allowed one goal in two periods of play; Nashville went on to lose by a score of 4:1.

Football: Sparta will face Inter Milan led by Holoubek

Football club Sparta Prague face Inter Milan in their second Europa League group stage match on Thursday led by David Holoubek, the 36-year-old assistant trainer who has taken over in the interim on the bench after Zdeněk Sčasný was let go on Sunday following the club's 2:0 loss to cross-town rivals Slavia. Sparta has not won in four matches. In their Europa League group stage opener, Sparta lost 3-0 against Southampton. Thursday's match takes place in Prague.