The Czech team beat Norway 7:0 in their fourth game of the ice hockey world championship being hosted in Russia. Dominik Furth, for the second time in goal, achieved his second shut-out in the competition so far. The Czechs scored their first goal in the sixth minute and cruised to a 3:0 advantage by the end of the first period. Unbeaten and heading group A with the loss of only one point, the Czechs look almost certain to make the quarterfinals and now face Kazakhstan on Friday.
A Czech assistant referee and linesman have been banned by the national football association for being drunk in charge of a first division football match. Fourth official Marek Pilný and linesman Jiří Jech were both visibly worst for wear at Wednesday’s match between Slavia Prague and relegation threatened Příbram. During the game the linesman was reportedly seen relieving himself on the pitch when the action was at the other end. Pilný was visibly unsteady on his feet and did not appear for the second half. The head of the Czech football association commented Thursday that everything could be seen in football.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has come under fire for suggesting that public service television broadcaster Czech Television be nationalised and no longer financed by license payments. Zeman made the comments in replies to a website. And his spokesman on Thursday said that the president is seeking to have talks with Minister of Finance and ANO leader Andrej Babiš about such a move. Babiš sadi that the financing of the broadcaster was not transparent and that the influence of politicians should be removed from it. The director of Czech Television said the state financed model of public service television belonged better to states to the east of the Czech Republic.
Around one in 10 Czechs, that’s just over one million people, live below the poverty line, according to Czech Statistical Office. The line is put at monthly income for a single person of just over 10,000 crowns and for a family of two with two children at twice that amount. The percentage figure of 9.7 percent is around the same as a year earlier but the material comfort of most Czechs rose slightly in real terms in 2014. The Czech Republic is frequently highlighted as one of the European countries with the lowest levels of poverty.
Work on repairing and transforming the famous First Republic Barrandov Terrace, a site on the outskirts of Prague to be seen among the cream of society in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, is due to start in June, the ČTK agency reported citing the Dotyk news server. The main Functionalist building dating from 1928 will be converted into a luxury hotel. The complex, formerly owned by the Havel family including former president Václav Havel, has been owned by Liberec construction company Dzikos since 2001. The main buildings and famous swimming pool has been falling into ruin since the 1950s.
Czech president Miloš Zeman has been criticized for comments that he believes the Chinese economy to be a functioning market one. Zeman’s comments were confirmed by his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček, who added that it was pretty clear that the People’s Republic was in reality already a market economy. The European Parliament is due to debate that point on Thursday. If China is recognised as a market economy by the European Commission then it will be much more difficult for the EU to adopt market protecting moves, for example, against the dumping of cheap steel. Tens of thousands of Czech jobs in the steel sector could be at risk if such free trade is offered to China, analysts have warned.
In ice hockey, the Czech squad playing in the world championships in Russia are weighing up the possibilities of calling up NHL players Redek Faksa and Aleš Hemský. Both the Dallas Stars forward, Faksa, and winger, Hemský, ended their NHL seasons after a defeat on Wednesday night. The Czech team currently in Moscow still has the chance of adding two extra players to the squad. If picked, Faksa would be making his debut but Hemský is an experienced player with the national team. The Czech have so far won all three of their opening games and face Norway in the afternoon game.
The KOVO union which represents many workers at the Czech Republic’s biggest carmaker, Škoda Auto, says that it is pressing for sub-contractors and other companies closely linked to the car maker to make adequate offers of pay rises to their employees. The union’s move follows its success in agreeing an 11.2 percent pay hike over two years at the car maker. Letters calling for collective negotiations to start with the company AB Facility, SAPE, and ISS Facility Services were due to go out this week according to the union newsletter, the ČTK agency reported. Škoda Auto announced a 6.5 percent rise in profits to a record euros 708 million last year.
The 71st edition of the Prague Spring International Music Festival gets underway in the Czech capital on Thursday night. In keeping with tradition, the country’s leading classical music event will be launched by a performance of Smetana’s My Country at Prague’s Municipal House, this time featuring the Czech Philharmonic conducted by Paavo Järvi, whose father Neeme Järvi had that honour with the Prague Symphony Orchestra in 1994. This year’s Prague Spring will feature 50 concerts by 14 orchestras.
Some musicians have cancelled appearances at the Trutnoff music festival in Trutnov, east Bohemia over the fact organisers have invited one-time Communist Party general secretary Miloš Jakeš to attend. The Plastic People of the Universe, members of which were imprisoned under the Communists, and Už jsme doma said they were pulling out of the August festival in protest, Lidovky.cz reported. Trutnoff organiser Martin Věchet, a former dissident, said he would cancel Mr. Jakeš’s invitation if negative reactions predominated. The festival, which was regularly attended by Václav Havel, is closely linked to the former underground.