Thousands of people cheered American and Belgian veterans in Plzeň on Sunday during an event held days before the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the west Bohemian city at the end of World War II. The old soldiers, now in their 80s and 90s, waved to the crowd from jeeps which were part of a convoy of over 200 historical military vehicles that drove through Plzeň. Celebrations will reach a climax on Thursday, which is the actual anniversary of the liberation on May 6, 1945.
Czechs living in Europe and North America have expressed little interest in voting in general elections at the end of May. When the deadline closed on April 30, a total of around 1,300 Czechs had registered to vote in Belgium, the UK, Germany, Poland, Austria and Russia. Of the tens of thousands of Czechs believed to be living in the USA and Canada, fewer than 1,200 registered. Czechs living abroad first had the right to take part in elections in their native country in 2002, when 3,742 voted. Some 6,702 Czechs abroad cast their ballots in the next elections four years later.
Former Czech president Václav Havel says his successor Václav Klaus has an “indefensible need to provoke”. Mr Havel made the comments about his long-standing political rival in an interview for the magazine Týden, adding that he did not believe there was cold calculation behind what he called Mr Klaus’s constant need for confrontation. The present and former presidents, regarded as the two most important Czech politicians of the post-communist era, disagree on a number of issues.
Prague residents whose homes have been damaged by the building of a tunnel could soon receive a legal guarantee of reparation from the city authorities. The chairman of City Hall’s control committee František Hoffman said on Sunday that within two weeks he would present councillors with a document pledging to repair buildings in the Letná district damaged by the construction of the Blanka tunnel. In some cases financial compensation would be paid. Cracks have appeared in some apartment buildings in the area, while parts of some facades have fallen off.
The Czech Republic’s first rolling news channel ČT24 has been marking the fifth anniversary of its launch on May 2, 2005. The station, which is one of four run by public broadcaster Czech Television, offers news and current affairs programming around the clock. Around 2 percent of the country’s television viewers watch ČT24 every day, though its audience share can double when big news stories occur, such as the recent Polish air tragedy.
Sunday is the 85th anniversary of the death of Jan Štursa, who is regarded as one of the founders of modern Czech sculpting. Štursa studied under the great Josef Václav Myslbek at Prague’s Academy of Fine Arts, before himself influencing a generation of sculptors as a teacher at the same institution. He committed suicide at the age of 44, apparently because he had contracted syphilis and was concerned about the consequences.
The Czech tennis player Iveta Benešová has taken the Moroccan Grand Prix after a 6-4 6-2 victory over Simona Halep of Romania in the final. It is the second WTA title of Benešová’s career, and comes six years after her first. She said her final win had represented a “little revenge” on Halep, who beat her three weeks ago in Marbella, Spain. Benešová, who was seeded seventh in Fes, picked up a cheque for USD 37,000.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey team came from behind to Russia 4:2 at the LG Hockey Games in Stockholm on Sunday. It was the first time they had beaten the Russians in regular time for over two years. That result left the Czechs second overall in the tournament and third overall in the four-nation Euro Hockey Tour. Their next competition is the World Championship, which begins in Germany on Friday.
Cyclist Roman Kreuziger has withdrawn from Switzerland’s Tour de Romandie race, an event that he won last year. The Czech suffered from stomach problems during the penultimate stage on Saturday, after which he was in 84th place overall. Following discussions with the management of his Liquigas team, Kreuziger decided not to race in Sunday’s final stage. The 23-year-old, who finished ninth in last year’s Tour de France, is already regarded as one of the best Czech road cyclists of all time.
The Czech international football goalkeeper Petr Čech is among the richest young sportspeople in the United Kingdom and Ireland, according to a rich list published by the Sunday Times. Čech was rated as the eighth richest sportsperson under the age of 30, with an estimated fortune of GBP 13 million. The goalkeeper, who turns 28 later this month, took a step closer to winning a third English Premier League title on Sunday when his club Chelsea beat Liverpool. He has 72 international caps.