Ten years after devastating floods hit Prague, authorities in the Czech capital are staging a flood drill on Saturday. Firefighters, soldiers and volunteers began erecting anti-flood barriers on the right bank of the Vltava River in central Prague which has been closed for traffic. Barriers were also erected outside some metro stations in Prague’s Old Town. The authorities are testing new pumps which should get water out of local wells. People can also take part in the drill; on the Žofín island, they can join contests in building barriers. The drill will end by Saturday night.
A 17-year-old girl died in a car crash near Trutnov, in northern Bohemia, in the early hours of Saturday. Police said the car, in which the victim was travelling, was probably going to fast, swayed off the road in a curve and hit a slope. The 19-year-old driver and another passenger on the front seat, aged 18, suffered light injuries in the accident. The police said the girl was probably not wearing a seatbelt.
The Czech Republic will in early September host a major exercise of NATO’s air forces, a spokeswoman for the Czech Ministry of Defence said on Saturday. The air forces of 17 NATO member states will take part in the exercise which will under command of NATO headquarters in Ramstein, Germany. The planes including A-10 and F-16 of the US Air Force will be based at the Czech Air Force base in Náměšt nad Oslavou. The ministry spokeswoman said the event will be NATO’s only air force exercise this year.
Three Czech football teams have been drawn opponents for Europa League’s final qualification round. Sparta Prague will play Netherland’s Feyernoord Rotterdam, Viktoria Plzeň will face KSC Lokeren from Belgium while Czech champions Liberec who failed to qualify for the Champions League are set to play Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk. The first leg of the play-offs is scheduled for August 23, the second a week later.
Leaders of the Czech Republic’s Christian Democrats are considering
changing the party’s name to attract more voters, the daily Právo
reported on Saturday. Party chair Pavel Bělobrádek, told the daily there
were eight or ten alternatives to the group’s official name – Christian
and Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People’s Party. One of them was to drop
the word Christian to attract more voters, or just using the name
People’s Party, as it was known before 1989. The changes will be
discussed and implemented at a Christian Democrat congress in December.
Founded in 1919, the Christian Democrats are one the oldest Czech parties. They were part of coalition government before the war, during communism and after 1989. In the last general elections in 2012 the party won no seats in the lower house but recent polls suggest they might again reach Parliament.
Czech athlete David Svoboda won the gold medal in men’s modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games in London, setting a new Olympic record of 5928 points. The 27-year-old Czech won the first event, fencing, in which he equaled the Olympic record. He was on second place after second event, swimming but moved back to top after show-jumping. In the final event, a cross-country run combined with shooting, David Svoboda managed to stay clear of China’s Zhongrong Cao on second place. The medal is the Czech team’s third gold.
Hundreds of people came on Saturday to explore the underground passages of the Plasy monastery near Plzeň, in western Bohemia. The underground air and water supply system, which is not normally closed for the public, was built in the 18th century, and is a unique technical monument in the country. The Baroque monastery of the Cistercian order was erected on marshland; its architect, Jan Blažej Santini used thousand of wooden poles to strengthen the building’s foundations.
In an interview with the newspaper Právo published on Friday, Czech police president Petr Lessy claimed that Minister of the Interior Jan Kubice was using extortion-like methods to pressure Lessy to leave his post. As one such example Lessy claimed that he was being deliberately denied bonuses equating to around a third of his expected pay. The conflict between the two officials goes back to the police president’s nomination for the post at the end of 2010, which was supported by former Interior Minister Radek John but not by current minister Kubice. Lessy made news recently when he accused Finance Minister Kalousek of exerting pressure on him in an anti-corruption investigation related to allegedly overpriced purchases of military hardware by the Ministry of Defence.
American actor Tim Robbins, star of movies such as “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Player” has reached a deal to direct a movie to be called “Wenceslas Square” about the events of the 1989 revolution that led to the downfall of communism in Czechoslovakia. The movie, to be shot in Prague, will reportedly centre around a male CIA agent and a female agent of the communist secret police known as StB, who is tasked with attempting to undermine her American counterpart. The film is based on a 2007 short story of the same name by US author Arthur Phillips. Casting for the project is set to begin later this year, with filming taking place in the spring of 2013. This will be the first fictional movie to directly and centrally dramatise the events of November 1989.
According to a new report published by Akamai, a computer analytics company measuring Internet connection speeds across the globe, the Czech Republic now has the eighth fastest Internet connection speeds in the world (7.1 Mbps). According to the study, the fastest average speeds are found in South Korea (15.7 Mbps), while the global average stands at 2.6 Mbps. Also faster than the Czech Republic are Japan, Hong Kong, Holland, Latvia, Switzerland and Ireland. The report also shows that Internet speeds in the Czech Republic have increased by about 1 Mbps in the last year.
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