The renowned campaigner against alcohol dependency Jaroslav Skala has died at the age of 91. Dr Skala established a support group for alcoholics and treatment centre in Prague in the late 1940s, before in 1951 opening what has been described as the world’s first sobering-up station for the inebriated.
Sales of Czech-made Pilsner Urquell beer have almost doubled in the United Kingdom this year, according to a spokesperson for the brewery. Jiri Marecek said its owners, SAB Miller, had invested in a large advertising campaign for Pilsner Urquell in the UK and it had paid off. Great Britain is the fifth biggest importer of the famous Czech beer; Germany is its most significant market outside the Czech Republic.
Slavia Prague will face Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League on Tuesday night without two of their most important players, captain Stanislav Vlcek and the experienced Vladimir Smicer. Both are injured. Slavia beat the Romanians in Prague and have four points from four games in Group H, whereas Steaua have none. Third place would guarantee Slavia a place in the latter stages of the UEFA Cup and spell that rare phenomenon – a Czech club in European action after Christmas.
The incumbent Vaclav Klaus would defeat Jan Svejnar if there were a direct vote for president, suggests a poll carried out for the SC&C agency for the newspaper Mlada fronta Dnes. Sixty-three percent of respondents in the mid-November poll said they would vote for President Klaus if they could. On Wednesday his party the Civic Democrats are set to nominate Mr Klaus officially. Jan Svejnar, a US-based economist backed by the opposition Social Democrats and the Greens, is still seeking support for his possible candidature from other parties. Both houses of the Czech Parliament will vote on the next president at the beginning of February.
Two film producers have received suspended sentences from a court in Prague for attempting to blackmail producer Deana Jakubiskova-Horvathova by taking a copy of the film Bathory, directed by her husband Juraj Jakubisko. Jan Milic and Karel Lupomesky demanded half a million crowns from the couple for the return of the film after stealing it from an editing suite at Prague’s Barrandov studios. The Jakubiskos, who are Slovak, are now planning to file a civil suit for damages against the blackmailers.
The Czech tractor maker Zetor is hoping to triple production in the next five years. The company is hiring 300 new employees after increasing production capacity at its Brno plant, and plans to roll out 15,000 tractors a year. The majority owner of Zetor, the Slovak group HTC, has daughter companies which sell its tractors in Poland, Ireland, Germany and other states. Ninety percent of its exports go to the EU.
The Prague Town Hall was wrong to ban a demonstration by opponents of a planned US radar base on Czech territory, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled. Officials said they prohibited the march by the group No to Bases because it would cause traffic problems in the capital. However, the court said the Town Hall failed to prove that constituted an “exceptional reason” required to ban a demonstration. The march went ahead on September 11 last year, despite the fact the organisers did not receive a permit.
Meteorologists have warned of the risk of snowdrifts on higher ground on Sunday evening. A band of low pressure coming in from Scandinavia is threatening to bring snow and strong north-westerly winds to altitudes over 800m above sea level. It is expected to snow in most parts of the country until Tuesday night at the earliest, and even lower-lying ground can expect between 2 – 15cm of snow. Forecasters predict that higher ground could see as much as 30cm of snowfall. As a result of the winter-y weather, motorists have been warned to drive with extreme caution.