The Czech national football team is still recovering from a disappointing 2-0 defeat by Romania. The World Cup Qualifying UEFA match, which was held in Bucharest on Saturday, was a major blow to the Czech Republic's chances of automatic qualification from Group One. After the game, coach Karel Bruckner said the team's chances of automatic qualification are seriously compromised now. The Czechs, who have 21 points from nine matches, last reached the World Cup in 1980. They will be facing Armenia on Wednesday without goalkeeper Petr Cech, who has an injured shoulder.
Residents of towns and villages around the Synthesia chemical plant
were given quite a scare on Sunday morning when a colourful cloud of
evaporated chemicals hung over part of the region. A Synthesia
spokesperson said some nitric acid evaporated into the sky in a minor
accident but no one was in danger as the situation was quickly brought
Residents in the region question how safe they would have been if the accident were serious as only a local radio station gave a timely warning. The Synthesia chemical plant is one of the largest private producers of chemical products in the Czech Republic. It is also the manufacturer of the infamous plastic explosive Semtex.
Hundreds flocked to the north-eastern town of Holesov to see the re-enactment of the Battle of the Three Emperors - Napoleon's famous victory over the Austrian and Russian armies on December 2nd, 1805. Some 40,000 people lost their lives during the battle, which was fought in the nearby town of Slavkov. Before the re-enactment, a memorial ceremony was held at a burial mound, which was unveiled one hundred years ago to commemorate the death of 1,000 soldiers who died in a military field hospital after the battle.
The opposition centre-right Civic Democrats will most likely ask parliament to set up a special commission that would investigate the privatisation of Unipetrol. Such a commission has already been set up in the lower house of the Polish Parliament on suspicion that Poland's PKN Orlen acquired the controlling stake in the Czech Unipetrol oil and gas company, only after Czech government officials received bribes.
The country's only nationwide Sunday paper, Nedelni Blesk, has reported that police had to break up a fight between a group of Roma men and local town officials. The fight broke out during a football game that was held in the Moravian town of Olomouc as part of a project called We Can Get Along, aimed at bringing minority groups closer to the rest of society.
A campaign is currently underway around the country aimed at informing the younger generation of the dangers of Hepatitis C and the ways it can be transmitted. Information flyers are distributed at schools, dormitories, night clubs, and health centres. Sixty percent of Hepatitis C patients in the Czech Republic are intravenous drug users; other groups at risk are people who acquire tattoos and piercings, and sexually promiscuous individuals. Campaign organisers say most Czechs are unaware that the virus is transmitted primarily by blood and can stay in one's system undetected for decades. The virus can lead to various cirrhoses and liver cancer, which some 30 percent of patients die from.
Motorists have been cuing at petrol stations around the country to fill up their tanks ahead of projected price hikes. In just 24 hours, the price of a litre of petrol has already increased by up to 3 crowns on Saturday. Petrol stations say limited stocks are forcing them to raise prices; with some stations planning to have prices up by 6 crowns by Monday.
The Czech National Library has been awarded the UNESCO/Jikji Memory of the World Prize. The library is the first to receive the 30,000 US dollar prize, which is given every two years in recognition of a contribution to the preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage. The prize giving ceremony took place in Cheongju in the Republic of Korea. The National Library, which is one of the forerunners in making rare book collections available electronically, was selected from a short-list of seven, out of a total of 36, nominations. Its format for structuring digital copies has been adopted by UNESCO as a standard for its Memory of the World Programme.
Police are monitoring a techno party near the south Bohemian town of Pilsen this weekend. Some 3,000 people have attended the rave so far. One man had to be rushed to hospital after he overdosed on party drugs. He is now in stable condition. The event is closely monitored following a police intervention in a techno party last month, which left dozens injured on both sides. Police say the party this weekend, has been peaceful, no-one is trampling on private property, and nearby villages are not complaining of excessive noise.
The Czech Republic recorded a foreign trade surplus of 1.2 billion
crowns in July, an improvement of over 8 billion compared to the same
month last year. It is the first time there has been a surplus in July,
when there is usually a downturn due to seasonal factors. The balance
particularly improved in the field of machinery and transport
Friday's positive figures caused the Czech crown to rise in strength against the euro- it reached a three-year high of 29.21.