Criminal police have been investigating the collapse of a sports stadium in the east Bohemian town of Humpolec on Friday evening. There have been indications so far showing that heavy snow amassed on the structure's roof was instrumental in the fall. No one was injured, but shortly before the collapse of the saddle-roofed building some thirty children - hockey juniors - had been training inside. An evacuation was enforced and fire brigades called in to secure on-site chemicals. Recent days have seen numerous cases in the Czech Republic where buildings collapsed under the weight of snow. The stadium in Humpolec had already been cleared as "safe" by a structural engineer. The town's mayor now says he expects the town will take legal action.
The Communist Party has outlined areas it considers key in its campaign programme leading up to the national election this year. On Saturday Deputy Chairman Jiri Dolejs told journalists that top priorities included maintaining economic growth at a minimum 5 percent. The party would also like to focus on the health sector, employment, as well as education. The Communist Party, meanwhile, remains highly critical of the Czech Republic's membership in the European Union, and has called for the country's withdrawal from NATO.
In recent days, MPs from both the Communist party and the Social Democratic Party combined in Parliament to push through a number of key laws, including the new labour code. But, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, the head of the left-of-centre Social Democrats, has repeatedly ruled out forming a future coalition counting the Communists as members.
Specialists monitoring the country's Krkonose, or Giant Mountains, have raised the avalanche warning in the area to the 2nd highest degree, following additional snowfall, windy conditions, and poor visibility. The last four days have seen an additional 70 centimetres of new snow, leading to the formation of numerous unstable - and highly deadly - patches. Every year the Krkonose Mountains see numerous avalanches, at times resulting in fatalities. Last February two Polish rescue workers were the last to die in an avalanche in the area.
Friday evening saw a lavish and elaborate ceremony open the XX Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. Czech supermodel Eva Herzigova took part in the ceremony, playing the key role in a live rendition of Botticelli's famous painting "The Birth of Venus". The Czech delegation in Torino counts 82 sportsmen and women. In Friday's ceremony they were led by speed skater Martina Sablikova, who carried the Czech flag.
Cloudy conditions are expected on Sunday with daytime temperatures hovering at around 2 degrees Celsius.
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