Prague’s Museum Night, which was scheduled to take place on Saturday, has been postponed because of the recent flood situation. The event, in which museums and some galleries stay open late and offer free admission, is likely to now be held in September. The Respect festival of world music, which takes place on June 15 and 16, has been moved from its usual venue on Štvanice Island to Prague’s Ladronka. And a benefit concert for the devastated Jazz Dock club has been organised for Tuesday at Lucerna Music Bar.
The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, has admitted to being drunk in interviews to broadcast media outlets on Thursday, the news site iDnes.cz reported. Mr. Kalousek slurred his words and struggled to speak coherently in interviews for Czech Radio and TV Nova on the subject of tax reliefs for flooded businesses. Speaking on Friday, the minister said he had had two shots of spirits and, as he was tired, they had affected him more than he had expected. He apologised and said he would not offer excuses similar to those produced by other politicians in the past.
The Foreign Ministry on Friday presented its Gratias Agit awards to people who have worked to promote the good name of the Czech Republic internationally. Among the recipients were the opera star Magdalena Kožená, priest Petr Esterka, who coordinates church services for Czechs in the United States, and German-based artist Jiří Georg Dokoupil. The Gratias Agit awards have been presented annually since 1997.
The Czech Republic’s footballers are taking on Italy in a key World Cup qualifier in Prague on Friday evening. The Czech team are at near full strength, though they will be without English Championship star Matěj Vydra, who is injured. Michal Bílek’s charges have had a mixed campaign so far and lie in third place in Group B after picking up only eight points from a possible 15. Leaders Italy, who are group favourites, have only dropped two points in the same number of games.
Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká have been knocked out in the semi-finals of the women’s doubles competition at the French Open. The Czech duo lost 4-6 5-7 to Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova of Russia. Hradecká had lifted the mixed doubles title alongside František Čermák at Roland Garros on Thursday.
Most rivers that had swollen and flooded many parts of Bohemia in the past
week are slowly beginning to recede. This week’s floods claimed eight
lives and forced some 19,000 people to leave their homes. Some 31 thousand
people around the country lost access to drinking water in their places of
residence in the past four days, and many are still without power.
The Labe River reached its peak flow levels in the north Bohemian towns of Děčín and Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday night and began to slow down in the early hours of the morning. Areas surrounding the riverfront in both towns have been flooded since Wednesday morning, as water made it over floodwalls. In Ústí nad Labem, more than 3,000 people had to leave their homes, and in Děčín over 1,000 due to the inundation. The authorities expect the Labe to return to normal levels within the next week.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas said on Thursday that the government will take a number of steps to help business owners affected by the floods recover their livelihoods. The June 15 deadline for back payments of income taxes has been postponed and owners of businesses damaged by the floods will be freed of the obligation to make advance tax payments for 2013 starting June 30. The premier told the daily Hospodařské noviny that next week the cabinet wants to introduce special low-interest bank loans guaranteed by the government to help with repairs and recovery of small businesses.
The A and the B lines of the Prague metro are in full operation as of Thursday morning, although trains are still not stopping at seven stations that are in the immediate vicinity of the Vltava river. The C line will reopen on Friday, though some stations on that line will remain closed as well. All underground lines had been partly closed since Monday, as a precaution against floodingthat could have resulted from the rise in the water levels of the Vltava River earlier in the week.
The ‘Chrastava shooter’ Pavel Vondrouš was handed down a half-year suspended sentence at a court in Liberec on Thursday. The prosecution accused him of endangering a public figure after he shot at the former president Václav Klaus with an Airsoft pellet gun last year in the town of Chrastava. In the end the court sentenced him for disorderly conduct. In his closing statement before sentencing, Mr Vondrouš said that he does not feel guilty and that he carried out his act not just for himself but for other Czechs who are suffering and are being overlooked by politicians. Former president Klaus, who only suffered minor bruising in the attack, was not present at the court hearing.