Biathlete Gabriela Koukalová won the mass start competition at the world cup competition at Nové Město na Moravě on Sunday. With just one mistake on the shooting range, Koukalová beat Germany’s Laura Dahlmeir into second place. She was the sole Czech medal winner at the top Czech biathlon meeting. It is Koukalová’s second first of the world cup season so far.
It’s unlikely to be a white Christmas across most of the Czech Republic according to forecasters. They expect daytime temperatures to hover just above zero but freezing during the night. Temperatures are expected to get colder at the start of January which is expected to be the coldest period during the next four weeks according to the national weather centre. Many ski resorts currently complain they lack sufficient snow.
Commemorations have been held across the Czech Republic for former dissident and president Václav Havel. Havel died five years ago to the day at the age of 75. A commemorative mass was held at St. Vitus’ Cathedral by Prague archbishop Dominik Duka. Duka paid tribute to Havel saying that he did not seek power but did seek to restore freedom to the country. Havel took the lead of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 which toppled the Communist regime from power after more than four decades. A public reading of Havel’s works and plays was held in the centre of Prague. Candles were also lit in the centre of the capital and at the Prague cemetery where his ashes rest. An illuminated heart was lit at a small square near the national theatre in Prague which now bears Havel’s name.
In ice hockey, the Czech team ended their run of defeats in the Channel One Cup competition with a 4:1 win against Sweden. The Czechs took the lead before the Swedes drew level in the first period and went ahead again in the 35th minute with the remaining goals late in the game. The Czechs had previously lost to Russia and Finland. Goal tender Pavel Francouz was given much of the credit for keeping out the Swedish attack. In spite of the win, the Czechs still end the tournament in bottom place.
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecká has won the parallel slalom snowboard world cup event at Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo. In the final head to head, Austria’s Daniela Ulbing veered off the course half way down as she tried to catch up the 21 year old Czech. The snowboard season started Thursday in Carezza with Ledecká second in the giant slalom event.
The former regional governor, or hejtman, of the Ustí region, Jana Vaňhová, remains a member of the leader government party, the Social Democrats, in spite of the prime minister’s call for all those implicated in a major fraud case involving European funds to resign. Vaňhová failed to turn at a regional meeting of party members and neither resigned or suspended her membership, party leaders told Czech Television. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had called on those implicated in the fraud of European funds in northwest Bohemia to resign. Altogether police have questioned 24 suspects in the fraud case, many of them in the regional Social Democratic leadership. Vaňhová’s former regional deputy, Arno Fišer, resigned from the party on Thursday.
One person died after a crash involving 17 vehicles on the main Prague-Brno D1 motorway at Mirošovice, around 25 kilometers from Prague. Other people have been seriously injured. Part of the D1 has been closed. Severe ice formed overnight with police in the central Bohemia region calling for drivers not to use roads unless absolutely necessary.
Ceremony marks opening of last stretch of D8 motorway, traffic restrictions in place The 16-kilometre missing link of the D8 motorway between Prague and the German border towards Dresden was officially opened Saturday with the project still mired in controversy. Only one lane will be open at one stretch of the motorway due to continued concern about the geological stability of the land there. The stretch was subject to a landslide previously. The minister of transport has given assurances that the two-kilometre stretch is stable but it is unclear how long the lane limit will last. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who did not attend the opening ceremony, has said the saga of the D8, which has taken 32 years to complete since the first plans were drawn up, should be broached in Cabinet on Monday. He added that the problem stretch of motorway might be closed altogether.