Police on Friday night conducted checks at bars, night clubs, strip clubs, and gambling venues in the area of Prague’s Wenceslas Square. A special police unit, together with the municipal police, also patrolled all three lines of the city’s metro system; over the course of the evening sixteen people were detained – one on the suspicion of carrying false identification. Another was wanted by police state-wide, while one had illegal drugs on his person. Nine of those detained were foreign nationals. In all, officers checked the IDs of 240 people and looked into more than 30 venues.
The leader of the opposition Social Democrats, Bohuslav Sobotka, said on Friday that his party will not give an official recommendation on how its Prague branch should proceed following the collapse this week of the coalition at City Hall between TOP 09 and the Civic Democrats. He stressed that the next move was up to TOP 09, adding that his own party needed to act in the interest of its voters, saying that a coalition was not a priority. TOP 09 joined forces with the Social Democrats this week to oust Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda and two Civic Democrat councillors from office; negotiations on a possible coalition between TOP 09 and the Social Democrats have already begun, sources said.
Some 2,000 worshippers attended a service held by the Orthodox Church Patriarch Bartholomew in Mikulčice, Moravia, on Saturday. The site is linked to the medieval Christian missionaries SS Cyril and Methodius. Organisers had expected up to 10,000 visitors to come but some were evidently deterred by adverse weather conditions. The liturgy, in which a dozen of Orthodox Church dignitaries took part, was held to mark the 1,150th anniversary of the arrival of SS Cyril and Methodius in Greater Moravia from Thessaloniki, then the Byzantine Empire. Pilgrimages to Mikulčice take place annually in honour of the two saints who created a special script for Slavs and translated basic Christian texts into the Slavic language.
Six thousand members of the Sokol athletics organisation met in Roudnice nad Labem on Saturday to take part in calisthenics exercises at the local stadium before heading to the famous mountain in Bohemia known as Říp. The hill has a key place in Czech legend, referred to as the first place the Slavs settled. On Sunday, members of Sokol, many from chapters abroad, will hold a parade through the town to mark the 120th anniversary of the patriotic sports movement.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, with goalie Tomáš Vokoun, have advanced to the next round of the NHL playoffs. They did so by defeating the Ottawa Senators on Friday by a score of 6:2. Ottawa managed to clinch only one win the best-of-seven series. Vokoun has been very solid in Pittsburgh’s run; on Friday he stopped 29 shots. The Pens will face the winner of the Bruins-Rangers series next; Boston has a stranglehold in that series, leading 3:1.
Josef Koller, an actor at the City theatre in Zlín will exhibit part of an extensive Lego collection during the upcoming 53rd Zlín Film Festival for Children and Youth. Koller became interested in the famous building block system as an adult, ČTK reported, adding the actor had dedicated two rooms in his home to the hobby. His collection will be exhibited at a local shopping mall; the film festival opens on Monday.
A US citizen suspected of murdering four people in Brno was arrested at Washington airport on Thursday evening shortly after arriving on a flight from Vienna. Czech police chief Leoš Tržil said the suspect had already been charged and the Czech authorities were preparing a request for his extradition. The man known on social networks as Kevin Dahlgren is believed to have killed his distant relatives – an older couple and their two sons – after spending three weeks with them in their home in Brno. The motive for the crime remains unclear. There has been speculation that the suspect may be suffering from a serious mental disorder.
Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has expressed doubts about the
planned expansion of the Temelín nuclear plant. In an interview for the
daily Hospodařské noviny on Friday, Mr Kalousek said he was not sure
whether the investment would be effective due to an uncertain outlook of
electricity prices. The minister also said he was surprised by the high
cost-estimate given by the two bidders. In a reaction, Prime Minister Petr
Nečas said the plant’s expansion was necessary to ensure the
The Czech government is planning to invest between 200 and 300 billion crowns in building two new reactors at the Temelín plant. The two bidders left in the process are a Russian-led consortium and the US-based firm Westinghouse.
Russian orthodox priest Sergei Baranov who stood up in defence of the punk band Pussy Riot has been granted asylum in the Czech Republic. The cleric told the daily Právo he received political asylum from the Czech Interior Ministry last month. Sergei Baranov said he found himself under pressure from Russian intelligence services when he protested against the trial with members of the band. In the interview, the priest expressed gratitude to the Czech authorities and said he was planning to convert to the Greek Catholic Church and establish a monastery in the Czech Republic.
On the second day of his official visit to Poland, Czech President Miloš Zeman proposed to merge the Prague and Warsaw stock exchanges. Speaking at a Polish-Czech business forum in the Polish capital, Mr Zeman said the merger would establish a strong, Warsaw-based central European exchange that would better compete with other exchanges. The head of the Prague exchange, Petr Kobliha, said negotiations had been underway for several months to connect the region’s various exchanges.