In related news, Vojtěch Filip admitted in a debate programme on Sunday that it was apparent the Communists would not be cooperating with the Social Democrats on the government level in the near future. In the past the Social Democrats pledged not to bring the Communists into any government, a pledge which remains in effect. In a text message, Social Democrat deputy leader Milan Urban confirmed cooperation was out of the question. Ties between the Communists and the Social Democrats cooled in the wake of this year’s presidential election. Most recently, Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek turned down an invitation to speak at the Communists’ congress on the grounds he disagreed with the party’s positive stance towards the February 1948 putsch in Czechoslovakia.
A 41-year-old tightrope artist from the famous Berousek family circus, died on Saturday from injuries suffered in an eight-metre fall. Manuel Berousek lost his balance during a performance in Nový Jičín, suffering heavy injuries and losing consciousness. He died later in hospital. A seven-year-old girl was struck in the accident and also had to be rushed to hospital. She remains in intensive care.
A still-life by French painter Georges Braque called The Green Basin (1942) was sold in auction in Prague on Sunday for 11.5 million crowns (the equivalent of around 716,000 US dollars). The price is the 5th highest ever paid for a work of art in a Czech auction house. The record belongs to Elevation, a work by Czech painter Frantíšek Kupka, which sold for 22.1 million crowns in October.
Hundreds of fans of horror and so-called zombie flicks took part in Prague’s first-ever “Zombiewalk” on Saturday. Those taking part put on make-up and costumes for a short parade from the Old Town to Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The event drew on similar parades in other parts of Europe as well as North America. The largest such event took place last year at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, where director George A. Romero shot one of the most famous zombie pictures, Dawn of the Dead.
Football’s Slavia Prague drew in their last season game on Saturday to be crowned league champions. The team tied 2:2 against Jablonec. Slavia had not won the title since 1996. Defending champions Sparta Prague, meanwhile, finished in second place, three points behind. On Saturday the team lost 4:3 to Slovan Liberec.
English Premiership side Portsmouth have defeated Cardiff City 1:0 to win this year’s FA Cup. The game took place at London’s Wembley Stadium. Czech striker Milan Baroš – on loan from Lyon – took to the field for Portmouth in the game’s final minutes. Baroš has now played in 16 matches for the side. Along with winning the FA Cup, Baroš was also part of the Liverpool squad which won the Champions League in 2005.
The Dallas Stars have won back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings to get back into their semi-final series in hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs. On Saturday Dallas won 2-1 in Detroit. Red Wings’ centre Jiří Hudler scored Detroit’s lone goal. The Red Wings retain a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series; Game 6 will now take place in Dallas.
The first part of a Czech reserve company, 60 out of a total 116 soldiers, has departed for Kosovo. The remaining members will rejoin the unit on Sunday. The unit is returning to the Balkans after a two-month break. Czech soldiers were called upon in March at the request of multinational peacekeeping forces to help maintain security after Kosovo declared independence. The Czech Republic has more than 400 soldiers in Kosovo, traditionally based in the northeast of the former Serb province as part of the KFOR mission since 1999. The Czech Republic has otherwise not recognised Kosovo’s independence although Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has indicated the country will eventually do so.
Delegates have been gathering in Hradec Králové for the Communist Party’s congress, aimed at addressing the party’s future as well as electing its leader. Current party head Vojtěch Filip spoke on Saturday, slamming other parliamentary parties on both the political left and right. Ties between the Communists and the Social Democrats, for example, have cooled since the parties failed to agree on a strategy to block the re-election of Czech President Václav Klaus. Mr Filip suggested the Communists needed to be more aggressive, a so-called “pike” in political waters. Mr Filip is being challenged for the post of party leader by three opponents including Euro MP Miloslav Ransdorf. He is expected to retain the chairmanship.