Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová has won the Wimbledon grand slam tournament in an outstanding finals performance against Russian Maria Sharapova decided in only two sets, 6-3, 6-4. The win marks Kvitová’s first grand-slam title and makes the 21-year-old the first Czech to win the women’s singles tournament since Jana Notovná, 13 years ago. On Monday she will move up to a career record of world no. 7 on the WTA list.
Czech President Václav Klaus has accepted an invitation to share his views on global warming through a series of lectures in Australian cities. The invitation was made by the Australian Institute for Public Affairs, a libertarian think tank based in Melbourne. The conservative broadsheet The Australian writes that Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the premiers of various states have refused to meet with Mr Klaus because of his views on environmentalism, which he believes is a leftist ideology that is dangerous to freedom, democracy and the market economy. His visit is set to take place at the end of July.
Voters in 24 communities of Bohemia and Moravia are electing new local representatives to bodies that dissolved last year due to disputes among their members. In one area the municipal committee is being elected nine months late because no candidate could be found until now. Voting is taking place between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., after which time the results will be published by the Czech Statistical Office on the website www.volby.cz. Complete results will be available on Sunday.
The International Summer School of Early Music began on Saturday, this year with a primary focus on Central European music over the centuries. The Valtický Chateau in South Moravia will be hosting 266 chosen attendees who will be trained in ancient instruments, dance and song. The Summer School is the oldest and most comprehensive course of its type in the Czech Republic and welcomes participants of all age categories from small children to seniors and foreigners from many continents.
The 3rd annual Oslavy Prahy, or “Celebrations of Prague”, festival is underway in the Czech capital. The programme offers music and theatrical performances at various locations in Prague city centre, as well as events showcasing history, art and science. This year’s festival also marks the 800th anniversary of the Birth of St Agnes of Bohemia. Old Town Square and Petřín Hill are hosting large rock concerts. Guided tours of works of art in the National Gallery are available for free and manby of the city’s churches and famous landmarks are also open to the public free of charge or for reduced rates.
Thirty-nine-year old star Czech hockey player Jaromír Jágr will return to the NHL in the 2011/2012 season after signing with the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday. The winger, who won two Stanley Cups during his NHL career but played the last three seasons in the KHL, had received offers from the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings. But both teams withdrew their offers on Friday after failing to hear from the player; the Penguins' management said it had never intended to get into a bidding war over the winger. Other clubs that expressed an interest in the player, who most recently shined at the World Championships in Slovakia, reportedly included Montreal (home to the player’s agent and former Habs player Petr Svoboda). According to sources, Philadelphia signed a one-year contract with Jágr worth 3.3 million US dollars.
Czech meteorologists have issued flood warnings for the Regions of Liberec and Ústí nad Labem, where heavy rainfall is expected on Sunday. Alerts have also been issued for the regions of Moravia-Silesia. Current forecasts for the mountain regions expect between 25 and 110 mm of rain between Sunday and Monday. Meteorologists say there is a chance of level one inundation levels in isolated cases.
Czech President Václav Klaus appointed Karolína Peake and Pavel Dobeš – both from the junior coalition party Public Affairs – to government on Friday, a day after the three coalition parties, which include the Civic Democrats and TOP 09, reached a deal on fiscal reforms and personnel changes. Karolína Peake is the new deputy prime minister in charge of legislation and fighting corruption, while Pavel Dobeš is the new transport minister. He follows in the stead of de facto Public Affairs party leader Vít Barta. In recent months the right-of-centre coalition had been badly shaken by allegations of corruption and discord between coalition members, with Public Affairs threatening to walk out. President Klaus on Friday said he was glad an agreement had at last been reached, calling the decision ‘reasonable’.
In related news, many pundits are of the view that the appendix to the government’s coalition agreement, which was formally concluded on Thursday following weeks and months of infighting, should help stabilise the situation for now. In addition to seeing the new ministers named, the agreement is expected to allow the coalition to refocus on its aim of cutting the budget deficit to three percent of GDP in 2013 and zero by 2016. Even ahead of Thursday’s decision, and despite tension between the coalition parties, the government has managed to push through recent fiscal and welfare reforms, including pushing back the retirement age and introducing a pension-based savings pillar.
The district court in Semily has confirmed the right of heiress to the Walderode noble family, Johanna Kammerlander, to local property confiscated by the Czech authorities after World War II. Former real estate belonging to the family in the Semily area includes the castle Hrubý Rohožec and surrounding property. During the war the property was owned by the family’s Karl des Fours Walderode who, as an ethnic German, was stripped of it in 1946. A year later he was given back Czechoslovak citizenship but not the confiscated assets. Mrs Kammerlander called Friday’s decision a ‘moral victory’ but estimated that years of legal battles still lay ahead.
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