Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman reached his second grand slam singles semi-final on Wednesday after winning a grueling five-set battle against Czech 14th seed Radek Stepanek. Stepanek described his 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 defeat as " a match of missed opportunities and disrupted concentration". I have only myself to blame, he told reporters later. Meanwhile, the 34 year old Bjorkman was in a state of disbelief, telling reporters he did not think this would happen at this stage of his career. He will face Roger Federer in the semi-final of the men's singles on Friday.
Protestant churches in the Czech Republic are commemorating the legacy of reformer priest Jan Hus who was burnt at the stake in 1415. In his memory July 6th is a national holiday in the Czech Republic. Services dedicated to him have been held in Hussite, Evangelical and other Protestant churches around the country. Jan Hus was born around 1370 and after studying in Prague was made parish priest at the city's Bethlehem chapel. He was strongly influenced by the English reformer priest John Wycliffe, whose writings he translated into Czech. Hus refused to renounce his faith and was declared a heretic and excommunicated by a Catholic tribunal, before being burnt at the stake.
Czech environmentalists are warning that a planned techno party would threaten the breeding ground of a protected bird species. The techno party in question is to be held at the end of July at a military training ground in the vicinity of Karlovy Vary. The Czech Environmentalists Association says that the land which the Czech military has offered the organizers as a potential site for the rave is a breading ground for corncrakes - a rare and protected bird species. Since the military has allegedly refused to respond to its warnings, the Czech Environmentalists Association is planning to send a complaint to the European Commission.
Czech national team manager Karel Brueckner will sign on for a further two years as the coach of the national Czech football squad, in a deal that is as good as signed, a top member of the national football federation has said. On Tuesday Czech and Moravian Football Federation board member Vlastimil Kostal revealed that only a few formalities now stood in the way of a new agreement. He made the announcement shortly after meeting personally with the coach. The two year extension means that 66-year-old Brueckner will manage the Czech team through qualification for the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland.
As every year on this day thousands of believers made a pilgrimage to Velehrad in south Moravia, where the missionaries were based. Addressing a congregation of some 30 thousand believers Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said the Church should move with the times and come closer to the people. He said it was vital to present the New Testament in a manner comprehensible to today's young generation. The mass, served by archbishop Jan Graubner, was held out in the open air and dozens of people collapsed in the scorching heat. Medics on standby said people suffered largely from dehydration and sunstroke.
The Sokol /or Falcon/ athletics body -a physical exercise organization founded in 1862 during the Czech national revival - is holding its 14th all-Sokol meeting at Prague's Strahov stadium this week. The event culminates with a mass gym performance at the stadium involving some 18 thousand gymnasts of all ages. Czech expats from around the world are taking part. The Sokol athletics body is one of the oldest organizations in the world. Its modern era began with its revival after the fall of communism but even during the dark period of Czech history ex-pats around the world kept its spirit alive. The all-Sokol meeting takes place once in six years.
July 5th is a national holiday in the Czech Republic commemorating Saints Cyril and Methodius, Greek missionaries who brought Christianity to the Czech lands in 863. They also created the Cyrillic alphabet and translated the Gospels and liturgical books into Slavonic, which at that time had no written form. The two brothers are considered the founders of Slavic literature.
The outgoing prime minister, Jiri Paroubek, spent July 5th in the Moravian highlands visiting ex-prime minister and former party leader Milos Zeman in order to try to convince him to return to high politics and run for a post in the Senate in the autumn elections. Senate elections are due to take place in 27 constituencies in the autumn and Mr. Paroubek said he felt that a number of strong candidates could increase the party's chances in them. Milos Zeman who was in his time regarded as a controversial leader has allegedly declined the offer.
The finance ministry has released figures showing a state budget surplus of 7.6 billion crowns - the equivalent of roughly 340 million US dollars - in the first half of 2006. The figure is almost twice the surplus during the first six months of the previous year. On Monday at a press conference, Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka announced that the outgoing government had decided on a provisional budget deficit amounting to 88 billion crowns for 2007. This would translate into a public spending deficit of 3.3 percent of the gross domestic product. According to the finance minister, the proposal is fully in line with the convergence programme agreed for the development of overall debt and public finance deficits between Prague and the European Union, in preparation for adoption of the single currency euro. The Czech Republic intends to adopt the currency in 2010. The proposals will have to be approved by the incoming government. So far, a new government has yet to take office one month after Czechs went to the polls in a general election.
Czech national team manager Karel Brueckner will sign on for a further
two years as the coach of the national Czech football squad, in a deal
that is as good as signed, a top member of the national football
federation has said. On Tuesday Czech and Moravian Football Federation
board member Vlastimil Kostal revealed that only a few formalities now
stood in the way of a new agreement. He made the announcement shortly
after meeting personally with the coach. The two year extension means
that 66-year-old Brueckner will manage the Czech team through
qualification for the 2008 European Championships in Austria and
The Czech Republic begins its campaign against Wales on September 2nd.