Football club Sparta Prague made it through to the next round in the Europa League after tying with Palermo on Wednesday evening. The Czech side, playing in Italy, twice came from behind to tie 2:2 in their Group F match. Second-half strikes from Jiří Kladrubský and Juraj Kucka cancelled out goals from Nicola Rigoni and Mauricio Pinilla respectively – assuring Sparta a place in the round of 32. Their hosts ended with nine men following the dismissals of Dorin Goian and Javier Pastore. Sparta Prague is the only Czech team still in European competition.
Budgets cuts have led to the decision by the Czech Republic to cut Czech centres, which represent Czech culture by organising exhibitions and events abroad, in Argentina’s Buenos Aires and Slovakia’s Košice. The move - to take place at the end of February - was announced by the Czech centre spokesman Jiří Rosenkranz on Thursday. He said the step would save more than 5.5 million crowns. The Czech centre in Bratislava will have to fill in for the soon-to-be defunct Košice branch. In all, the Czech Republic has 24 Czech centres, run by the country’s Foreign Ministry, worldwide. Continuing centres have been promised a budget of 80 million crowns for 2011 – 19 million less than this year, and 40 million less than in 2009.
Heavy snowfall of up to 40 centimetres on Wednesday night and early Thursday created traffic chaos across the country. Roads were closed, trains suffered delay and Prague’s main international airport was closed for six hours before resuming flights at around 5 am. Part of the main motorway to the western border with Germany at Rozvadov was blocked Thursday morning by a stranded lorry. Elsewhere roads were closed or barely passable. In Prague, the public transport system suffered collapse on Wednesday night with trams unable to run and buses left stranded. The situation in both the capital and other parts of the country only slowly improved throughout the day.
A plane headed for Brussels, belonging to the national carrier ČSA, was forced to return to Prague’s Ruzyně Airport shortly after take-off on Thursday. The aircraft – which had had several hours’ delay due to the cold weather – reported problems with ice in the slotted flaps on the wings, forcing the pilots to turn back. A spokeswoman said that the passengers had not been in any danger. One of those on board, Deputy Transportation Minister Jakub Hodinář, reported that passengers been informed of the reason for turning back; he described the plane’s crew as having matters fully under control, the Czech news agency ČTK said.
Additional snowfall - up to 15 centimetres - will likely complicate the situation again on Friday and Saturday, namely in areas in Moravia and eastern Bohemia. At the weekend overnight temperatures may drop as low as -20 degrees Celsius in places. Heavily freezing conditions are expected to most hit the regions of Plzeň, Karlovy Vary, Liberec and Ústí nad Labem.
Football clubs in the Czech Republic are so cash-strapped that the
country's top football league is sitting on a financial time bomb,
according to press reports this week. The daily Sport has pointed the
finger at all clubs in the top flight but in particular at 2009 league
champions Slavia Prague. According to the daily, the club owes its players
back pay amounting to 30 million crowns and owes 112 million to its former
owner, the British investment company ENIC. The situation has become so
serious, the daily said, that players at the capital club currently
languishing in 14th place were looking to transfer elsewhere. Slavia
midfielder Petr Trapp announced this week that he was quitting over unpaid
wages, while Tunisian players Tijani Belaid and Hocine Ragued have also
been given permission to negotiate with other clubs with a view to moving
In total, it is estimated that Czech clubs in the top league officially owe 48 million crowns in back pay to players, although Sport has suggested the figure could be even higher.
Three former students from the faculty of Architecture at the Technical University in Brno were ordered by Brno’s Municipal Court on Wednesday to send a written apology to a former teacher and former head of the local Communist Party, Jan Snášel, for comments they made 20 years ago found disparaging his person. At the time, the three, now professional architects, said they could not give him backing because of what they called his careerist and demagogical approach. The libel case is one of the longest-running in Czech history. The court found statements made about Mr Snášel “degrading” and impossible to prove, a court spokeswoman said. But the former students’ lawyer called the decision “alarming” and vowed the case would be appealed at the regional court.
A home HIV test, reportedly almost one hundred-percent reliable, went on sale in the Czech Republic this week, doctors told journalists on the occasion of the World AIDS Day on Wednesday. The test kit costs 450 to 500 crowns, the equivalent of around 26 US dollars. The test, specialists said, was 99.97 percent accurate, but then needed to be followed-up by tests at the doctors’. In general, the presence of HIV is first detectable only two months after infection. The home test kit has been approved for sale in 44 countries besides the Czech Republic. Bliss Without Risk (Rozkoš bez rizika) an organisation which deals with the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, has also offered free HIV tests to individuals. The number of people infected with HIV has continued to go up in Czech Republic: the number rose most steeply last year when 157 new HIV patients were registered.
The media reported on Wednesday that a Czech hunter stumbled across three tonnes of World War II munitions in a forest in the southwest of the country – the biggest such discovery in the region of South Bohemia over the last decade. A police spokeswoman revealed that the man had accidentally come across the 88 mm calibre ammunition, used for anti-aircraft guns, after finding a grenade nearby. The munitions were originally manufactured in Hungary or Germany. According to the ČTK news agency the munitions were buried on the spot by US troops during the war but later forgotten.
The Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority banned the sale on Thursday of a batch of salted pistachio nuts imported from Iran due to a high presence of aflatotoxins – naturally occurring mycotoxins often found on cereals, roots, or tree nuts. The product was uncovered at the chain store Kaufland, which has since removed the product from the shelves. The stores are offering a refund to consumers.