Disgraced former football official Ivan Hornik has received a suspended prison term and a fine of almost 40,000 US dollars after being found guilty of corruption by a Prague court. The former head of Viktoria Zizkov football club has also been banned from holding any official position in the game for ten years. Mr Hornik paid bribes to referees and football association delegates in order to influence the outcome of Zizkov matches.
Meanwhile, the police have interviewed the prime minister as a witness in a case involving the embezzlement of European Union subsidies in which ten people, including two former state officials, have been prosecuted. While he was local development minister Mr Paroubek ordered an analysis of some property transactions that took place at the ministry before his appointment. The current local development minister used that study as the basis of a criminal complaint filed last year.
The Czech rail system will grind to a halt for half an hour on Thursday; the Federation of Train Drivers is calling a strike between noon and 12:30 in protest against a new labour code. The high-speed Pendolino will be the only train running during the strike; rail workers will read a statement detailing their grievances to its passengers.
Czech tennis player Tomas Berdych has reached the quarter-finals in the Indian Wells Masters Series, after beating two-time winner Lleyton Hewitt 7-5 6-3. The 20-year-old Czech faces Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus in the next round. Last year Berdych caused an upset by winning the Paris Masters, the biggest Czech success in tennis in some years.
Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek says he would like to become president of the Czech Republic in the future. In an interview in Wednesday's Mlada fronta Dnes Mr Paroubek also said he was in favour of the public being allowed to vote directly for president, instead of the current system in which the post is decided by both houses of parliament.
The Czech Republic is to introduce registered partnerships for gay and lesbian couples, after the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday overturned a previous veto by President Vaclav Klaus. One hundred and one of 177 deputies present - the bare minimum - voted to overturn the president's veto. The Czech Republic becomes the first former Eastern Bloc state to fully legalise registered partnerships for homosexuals.
The Czech-language radio station Radio Cesko has begun broadcasting on the FM frequency of the BBC World Service in the Czech Republic. Radio Cesko, part of public broadcaster Czech Radio, can be heard on the BBC frequency between 8 and 11 am and 1 and 4 pm seven days a week. The change follows the complete closing down of the Czech BBC at the end of last month after over 65 years on the air.
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