Skiers in the Šumava Mountains will symbolically see the New Year in with a torch ride down one of the mountain’s steepest slopes starting at 5,30 this evening. The night’s celebrations will culminate with an open-air party at the bottom of the slope with bonfires, food, drink, live music and a fireworks display at midnight. This popular tradition dates back to 1948.
Former dissident Petr Cibulka has filed a legal complaint with the country’s Constitutional Court, the Czech news agency reported on Sunday. Mr Cibulka filed the complaint two days earlier, questioning whether 50,000 signatures needed by independent candidates to run for president (unlike candidates nominated by a political party) was constitutional. Mr Cibulka, who had aspirations to run but was able to garner only a little more than 300 signatures, would like to see the court postpone the upcoming election until the law on the election, which he sees as unconstitutional, is changed. Another disqualified candidate, Tomio Okamura, has already filed a similar complaint; he was just a few hundred votes short of being able to run. Barring a delay by the Constitutional Court, the first round of the election is set for January 11 and 12. Czechs are choosing from among nine official candidates.
A cross-country skier estimated as being around 50 years of age died on Saturday not far from Horská Kvilda in Šumava. Tourists found the skier unconscious in the snow and called rescue workers to the scene. Despite efforts they were unable, using CPR, to revive the patient. Police are investigating the cause of death.
Repeats of Czech comedies and live-action fairytales continue to dominate among broadcasters at the holidays the Czech news agency reports. Both public and commercial broadcasters bet on classic films, some of which have been repeated more than 20 times. According to ČTK, the all-time record holder is the 60-year-old fairytale Pyšná princezna (Proud Princess) broadcast 30 times in the Czech Republic and the former Czechoslovakia. Back when it was originally shown in the cinemas, it was seen by eight million people. On TV screens, the film is statistically followed by Princezna se zlatou hvězdou na čele (The Princess with the Gold Star on her Brow) which has been repeated 22 times, and classic comedies by Vlasta Burian as well as the 1970s popular retelling of Cinderella Tři oříšky pro Popelku starring Libuše Šafránková.
Russian investigators are examining evidence from the two black boxes recovered from a Tu-204 jet which crashed during landing in Moscow on Saturday after returning from Pardubice in the Czech Republic. Four people from the eight-person crew died in the crash or shortly afterwards; a fifth person succumbed to injuries on Sunday; three remain in hospital with serious injuries. There were no others on board the medium-sized jet which normally carries up to 210 people. The pilots made several attempts to land before the crash: a faulty braking system may have played a role. During the unsuccessful landing the plane departed the runway and crashed through a barricade separating the airfield from a nearby highway. The plane broke into three parts and burst into flames. A Russian tabloid cited a witness who said the plane had been billowing smoke even before the crash.
Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová began the new season with a win in the first round at the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament. The player, ranked 8th in the WTA rankings, downed Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets by a score of 6:3, 6:4. During the match Kvitová broke her opponent’s serve five times but her own service was less than steady, broken three times. The 22-year-old player’s coach David Kotyza described her performance “as solid” but made clear there was room for improvement.
Snow and ice have complicated the situation on roads in parts of the country, namely in the regions of Olomouc, the Czech-Moravian highlands and eastern Bohemia. Central Bohemia by comparison on Sunday saw increased fog. Drivers are advised to exercise maximum caution along smaller routes but also on the country’s main highways, including the D1.
The Czech Armed Forces will take part in fewer military exercises in 2013, news website idnes reports, citing information available to lawmakers. According to idnes, Czech soldiers will train in Slovakia, North America and Africa next year. This year the army held 38 military exercises in the Czech Republic and took part in 99 abroad. Next year the number will be reduced to 34 and 95, respectively. The budget for exercises in 2012 was 72.3 billion; the army will have more money for military training in 2013: 75.4 billion crowns.
A 10-year-old skier was seriously injured on an expert run on a hill in the Orlické Mountains and had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. Witnesses said the boy lost control and slid on his skis and fell on his side from a height of about 1.5 metres, injuring his pelvis. There is suspicion he also broke his femur. A nurse, who happened to be skiing nearby, provided first-aid before the emergency crew arrived. Pelvic injuries can be life-threatening due to extensive internal bleeding.
The Czech news agency has reported that Czechs who took small loans in 2012 did so most often to buy electronic home appliances such as TVs and fridges but also more surprising items such as lottery tickets or funeral wreathes. Some took loans to pay off hospital fees. The marketing director of one lending firm told ČTK that clients were free to use loans as they wished but sometimes offered up personal information: one client, apparently a diehard hockey fan, explained he needed money to buy a television during the Ice Hockey World Championship, while another person calling the client centre explained that unless she received a loan she would be unable to pay for new dentures and would remain toothless. One person took a loan for lottery tickets after having had an “unusually vivid dream” in which he apparently “won” millions.
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