The Czech men’s tennis team have achieved an historic sporting success after beating Spain 3:2 on matches in a dramatic Davis Cup final in front of 13,000 fans at a sold-out O2 Arena in Prague. The Czechs secured victory when veteran Radek Štěpánek beat Nicolas Almagro 6-4 7-6 3-6 6-3 in the final singles rubber of the weekend. The Czech Republic had only won the competition once in the past, while still part of Czechoslovakia in 1980. The Czech women’s team won the Fed Cup in the same venue two weeks ago and it is the first time that the country has held the two prestigious team titles simultaneously.
Around 100 families in the Czech Republic had lunch with the families of immigrants on Sunday as part of a nationwide project named Family Next Door, which was being held for the ninth time. Organisers say they try to match families according to categories like age, education or profession and the age of their children. A spokesperson for the project said that around three fifths of the people who have taken part in the past are still meeting even some years after their initial lunch together.
The Ministry of Finance has presented the government with a new draft budget for next year. Because of a worsening of the macroeconomic outlook the budget figures with incomes and expenditures that are CZK 4.1 billion lower than originally planned. The new version projects a deficit of CZK 100 billion and the deficit is expected to remain at 2.9 percent of gross domestic project. The government will present the budget for approval by the Chamber of Deputies on November 23.
A man of 75 died on Saturday after being shot during a hunt near the Moravian town of Třebíč. Police are investigating which of the other members of the hunting party shot the man. The shooter could face a charge of killing by negligence, which carries a sentence of three years. Elsewhere a 19-year-old shot and slightly injured a 59-year-old man during a hunt near Přerov, which is also in Moravia.
The minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek, has described an anti-government protest by trade unions on Saturday, which was the Czech Republic’s national day of the fight for freedom and democracy and the anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution, as shameless. Mr. Kalousek made the comment on a television debate programme on Sunday. He said the demonstration had been legitimate but that the government was not willing to implement a socialist programme. On a different TV show the chairman of the Senate Milan Štěch, who is a former trade unions leader, said the sentiments expressed in the protest, which was held beneath a banner reading Stop the Government, were shared by most Czechs.
Two new documentary films on the great Czech composer Bedřich Smetana by director Pavel P. Ries are being premiered at Prague’s Světozor cinema on Sunday evening. The first, which features acted sequences, looks at the life of the writer of My Country, while the second is focused on improvements made to his tomb at Prague’s Vyšehrad; it was renovated in the 1980s and there are currently plans to repair it again.
CEZ has complied with the ruling of a court in the Albanian capital Tirana to reconnect electricity supplies to the country’s state-owned water utilities, which owe the Czech power giant 38 million euros, a spokesperson said. The company had disconnected the water utilities on Friday after negotiations had failed to retrieve the debt. The move had put some petrol stations out of action and led to a cut in the supply of water to households and firms. Albanian police on Saturday forced CEZ employees to reconnect the power supply. CEZ has not ruled out taking the issue to a court of arbitration if the debt is not settled.
Hundreds of people protested in České Budějovice on Saturday against the participation of the Communist Party in the government of the region. Students in the South Bohemian city have been protesting this week in the wake of the appointment of the Communists’ Vítězslava Baborová as councillor for education by the regional governor, Jiří Zimola of the Social Democrats. Demonstrators carried banners with slogans such as “Red brothers, go back to your reservation.”
In an address, President Klaus said gatherings such as the one at the student dormitory were held to ensure that people did not forget the past. He said he was concerned that Czechs were now living in what he would characterise as an era of “forgetting and gestures”. Mr. Klaus said he would not describe contemporary society as an information society but rather as an “uninformed society” in which traditional values were being damaged and defiled, adding that gestures and words were being applauded, not actions and principled and consistent behavior. Later, at the memorial on Národní St., the president was met by supporters and opponents; members of the pro-Klaus D.O.S.T. group shouted long live Klaus, while a young man carrying a Czech flag declared that the president was a thief who had robbed and sold off the country.
The Czech Republic are 2:1 up against Spain in the final of the Davis Cup in Spain. After Friday’s singles rubbers the two countries were tied at 1:1 but Radek Štěpánek and Tomáš Berdych on Saturday afternoon gave them what could be a crucial point with a 3-6 7-5 7-5 5-3 6-3 victory over Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in front of 13,000 fans at the sold-out O2 Arena. The final two singles rubbers will be played on Sunday. The Czech Republic’s women recently triumphed in the Fed Cup and a win for the men’s team in the Davis Cup would make it the first time ever that the country has held the two titles.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events