The Czech internet news site iDnes has reported that an anonymous private investor may consider building a new speed skating track 50 kilometres outside of Prague, to be used by Czech speed skaters including the sport’s biggest star, Martina Sáblíková. She made history over the last fortnight by winning three medals (two gold and one bronze) at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Domestically, her success has drawn attention to the fact there is no speed skating stadium in the Czech Republic. Building such a facility, however, has been estimated to cost around 1.5 billion crowns (the equivalent of almost 80 million US dollars). idnes reported that both the skater’s coach and a local mayor were in contact with the interested party, with Sáblíková’s coach saying he would be meeting with the potential investor upon his return from Vancouver.
Czech alpine skier Šárka Záhrobská has won the bronze medal in the women’s slalom in Vancouver – the Czech Republic’s sixth medal at this year’s Winter Olympic Games. On Friday, the 25-year-old skier got in a successful first run at Whistler and again skied well during her second to finish behind Germany’s Maria Reisch (who took gold) and Marlies Schild of Austria (who took silver). It is the first time Záhrobská has won an Olympic medal and is also the first time a Czech alpine skier has finished on the podium for the Czech Republic. Before that Olga Charvátová won a bronze medal in the downhill for the former Czechoslovakia at the Winter Olympics in 1984.
The Czech daily Právo has reported that a Japanese firm specialising in large scale cultural productions including major exhibitions has expressed an interest in exhibiting in Japan the famous Slav Epic by Art Nouveau painter Alfons Mucha. The epic, a series of enormous canvases telling the story of the Slavic people, has been housed for the last 45 years in Moravia’s Moravský Krumlov - although the city of Prague is to decide soon on a permanent space for the series in the Czech capital. According to Právo, if the city gives the go-ahead, Mucha’s famous cycle could be seen in Tokyo, Japan for more than two months. Necessary restoration work by Czech specialists, along with transportation costs, would be covered by the Japanese firm, the daily writes. City Hall is expected to discuss the issue next month.
The Czech-born US-based economist Jan Švejnar, who ran for president
against incumbent Vaclav Klaus in 2008, may be added to the list of
candidates in May’s election to the lower house, the press has reported.
Právo has said that the economist could be added to the list of
for the Social Democratic Party, citing two anonymous sources. The Social
Democrats supported Mr Švejnar’s bid for president two years ago
although the economist, who is 57, is not affiliated with any particular
In related news, Právo writes that other candidates who could be fielded by the Social Democrats include current Interior Minister Martin Pecina, a Social Democrat nominee in the caretaker cabinet and Foreign Minister Jan Kohout. Both men say they have not received any official offer, but suggested they would probably accept if asked, Právo writes.
Melting snows across the country have raised water levels on rivers in 14 areas leading meteorologists to issue flood warnings. A 2nd degree warning (a mid-level alert) is in place on the Novohrádka – a river near Chrudim. 1st degree alerts are also in place in other parts of eastern Bohemia, as well as the west of the country. This winter saw snowfall within norms, specialists have said, but a higher concentration in cities like the Czech capital, where snow only began disappearing with coming spring conditions over the last several days.
A market in to the town of Lanškroun in East Bohemia succumbed to flames on Friday evening. Fire fighters arrived at the scene shortly after nine pm but were unable to save most of the market’s wooden structures; they put out the blaze at a little after 12 am and no one was hurt in the incident. The main frame of the market did survive but will need to be tested by safety specialists. Otherwise, damages have been estimated at around 5 million crowns. Police are looking at a number of scenarios - including the possibility of arson.
Cameraman Juraj Šajmovič, born in Czechoslovakia in 1932, will receive a lifetime achievement award on Saturday recognising his contribution to Czech cinema and television production. The cameraman worked on such projects as Return to Paradise Lost by director Vojtěch Jasný, the film Golet v Údolí (for which he received a Czech Lion), and the TV series l13 komnata (13th chamber). The Association of Czech Cinematographers is made up of around 190 members; members of the jury deciding this year’s lifetime achievement honour included film critic Věra Míšková and director David Ondříček.
Young Czech cycling phenomenon Roman Kreuziger has won his first race in the new season, the Giro di Sardegna in Sardinia. The 23-year-old, who rides for Liquigas and finished ninth last year in the Tour de France, took command of the tour on Wednesday in the race’s second stage. He held onto the leader’s jersey after that; the tour is raced over five separate stages. Chris Horner of the USA finished second, four seconds behind the leader.
In football, star Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech, who plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League, will miss the next three to four weeks due to a calf injury. Čech suffered the injury during his side’s Champion League first-leg loss on Wednesday against Inter Milan. Chelsea were defeated 2:1. Besides missing games for Chelsea, Čech will also not be able to take part in the upcoming friendly between the Czech Republic and Scotland.
Transport unions have announced a decision to postpone a strike set for Monday morning until Thursday, in order to give Parliament time to meet their demands. The move came after the cabinet agreed at an emergency meeting on Thursday night to abolish proposed tax changes which would reduce employee benefits. At the direct intervention of Prime Minister Jan Fischer, transport unions agreed on Friday to give Parliament a few more days to scrap the respective amendment from the proposed tax changes. Union leaders have threatened to go on an indefinite strike if their grievances are not addressed. Parliament is to debate the issue at a special session next Tuesday.