In football, last season’s Czech runners-up Sparta Prague was drawn on Friday against Olympic Lyonnais of France, Spain’s Athletic Bilbao and the reigning Israeli champions Kiryat Shmona in Group I of Europa League. The other Czech club which reached the group stage of the competition, Viktoria Plzeň will play last year’s Europa League champions Atletico Madrid, the Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv and Academica Coimbra of Portugal in Group B. The first matches of the group stage are schedules for September 20.
Czech police have broken up a major international ring of document forgers
which was based in Prague and Brno but operated in several other European
countries, a spokesman for the organized crime unit of the Czech police
force said on Friday. Seventeen people including one Czech citizen were
arrested during police raids over the last week. The gang was headed by
five Albanian and Bulgarian men with permanent residency in the Czech
Republic. They forged Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish
Danish passports, IDs and driving licences, as well as those of various
The police said the gang had gained control of the European black market for forged documents over the last decade as its counterfeits could not really be detected during ordinary checks. If convicted, gang members face up to 10 years in prison.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas on Thursday urged coalition parties not to withdraw their support for the government’s key bills over the dismissal of the police president. The warning came after deputy prime minister, and head of the LIDEM party, Karolína Peake, called for a meeting of coalition leaders over Wednesday’s dismissal of police president Petr Lessy which she said complicated matters within the coalition. The lower house is set to vote next week on two crucial government bills on the restitution of church property and raising the VAT rates. Prime Minister Nečas said the issues were not related and warned the government would fall if its reform legislation is rejected.
The condition of Czech skier Šárka Záhrobská, who in July underwent surgery to remove a brain tumour, has improved, according to a report by the gossip website blesk.cz. The website said the 27-year-old skiing champion had resumed training and could be fit in time for the new season. Her agent said they were awaiting the latest test results. Šárka Záhrobská is scheduled to appear at a news conference on Saturday.
Czech firm Wikov Wind has signed a two-billion-crown deal to build wind farms in the Sindh province of Pakistan, the news agency ČTK reported quoting the Pakistani publication Business Recorder. The firm signed the deal with the provincial government; the construction of 25 wind generators that will produce 50 megawatts of power, should begin in January 2013 and conclude by the end of that year.
Only 14 percent of Czechs understand the basic principles of the pension reform, according to a survey by the STEM/MARK agency released on Thursday. 70 percent of those polled said they did not know the rules for joining the so-called second pillar of the system, which means they would pay part of the pension tax to private funds. The government’s pension reform will allow those under the age of 35 to join the second pillar beginning in 2013; those aged 35 and over will only have a chance to join the programme in the first six months of that year.
At a meeting with police union leaders on Thursday, the new head of Czech police, Martin Červíček, promised to increase next year’s budget of the police force by 700 million crowns. Police unions objected Wednesday’s decision by the interior minister to sack Mr Červíček’s predecessor, Petr Lessy. Interior Minister Jan Kubice dismissed Petr Lessy after criminal charges of libel and abuse of authority were filled against him. After Thursday’s meeting with the new police boss, union leaders said it was a good start for future co-operation.
Czech hockey player František Kaberle, a five-time world champion and a Stanley Cup winner, has ended his career. The 38-year-old defenceman, who in the last season played for HC Plzeň in the Czech top division, said a series of minor injuries prevented him from getting fully into training. In the NHL, Kaberle played for the Atlanta Thrashers, the Los Angeles Kings and the Carolina Hurricanes with whom he won the Stanley Cup before returning to the Czech Republic in 2009. As part of the Czech national team, František Kaberle also won a bronze medal at the 2006 winter Olympics in Torino.
The prices of fuel at Czech gas stations hit a record high last week when a litre of gasoline Natural 95 sold at an average price of 38.17 crowns, 13 hellers more than the previous week, according to the latest figures by the CCS firm released on Thursday. The prices of diesel also reached a new high of 37.17 crowns per litre. The firm said however that many gas stations sold fuel at prices of over 40 crowns per litre. Analysts believe the surge in fuel prices had been caused by rising prices of oil on world markets as well as the weakening Czech crown to the dollar.
The Czech Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a complaint by the justice minister and ordered Roman Smetana to serve the rest of his prison sentence. Mr Smetana, then a bus driver in Olomouc, was sentenced in 2011 for defacing political campaign posters of several political parties; he was sentenced to pay the damages and do 100 hours of community service. While he complied with the former, he rejected the latter and was therefore ordered to serve 100 days in prison. He spent some 30 days in jail before then-justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil filed a compliant in his favour. However, the Supreme Court said on Thursday the complaint was unjustified.
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