The president-elect, Miloš Zeman, has told the Czech daily Právo that
the flag of the European Union will fly at Prague Castle after he assumes
office. Mr Zeman told the newspaper that he would invite European
Commission President Jose Barroso to attend a special ceremony during
the EU flag would be raised. The step is a departure from that of Mr
Zeman’s predecessor Václav Klaus, a well-known critic of the EU, who
refused such a move.
In the interview, the president-elect also told Právo that he would transfer the agenda of presidential pardons to the Justice Ministry; ahead of the elections, Mr Zeman maintained that he would never declare an amnesty, a reaction – at least in part – to one declared in January by Mr Klaus. The New Years Day amnesty controversially halted, or threatens to halt, a number of major corruption and economic crime cases.
Mid-level flood alerts are in effect on two rivers in southern Bohemia, the Lužnice and Nežárka. The Lužnice River rose most markedly in the area of Bechyně and Klenovice, while the Nežárka rose most at the village of Hamr near Soběslav. Officials the Hydrometeorological Institute in České Budějovice said, all the same, that water levels were gradually receding in the region. Lower-level warnings are in place on a number of other rivers.
A 30-year-old skier suffered serious injury on a ski hill near Most on Sunday afternoon after apparently losing control on a jump on a specialized trail. No witnesses saw the accident but the skier was found unconscious below. According to officials, the skier suffered serious trauma to his head, made worse by the fact he had not worn a helmet. Specialists called skiing without a helmet extremely hazardous, explaining that although trails could be covered with fresh powder, the snow beneath was hard-packed and a hard surface for falls.
Darina Hájková, the daughter of highly-respected jazz guitarist Rudolf Dašek, has revealed that her father died on January 31 at the age of 79. Ms Hájková told the Czech news agency that a service in his memory will held on February 7 in Prague. As a musician, Mr Dašek often teamed up with well-known flutist Jiří Stivín; music critic Antonín Matzner told CTK that the duo of Stivín and Dašek was the best export item from 1970s Czechoslovakia, adding that Mr Dašek was considered the best jazz guitarist in Europe at the time.
Nominations for the 20th inception of Český lev, the Czech Lion national film awards, were announced at Prague’s Lucerna cinema on Saturday night. The event, which will be shown live on public broadcaster Czech Television, preceded the actual awards ceremony, which takes place in exactly a month’s time. Members of the Czech Academy of Film and Television chose from among 30 feature films and 15 documentaries that premiered in 2012. Director Bohdan Slama’s film Čtyři slunce (Four Suns) received the most nominations – 12 – including best picture. The four films other nominated for best film are Odpad město smrt, Okresní přebor, Polski film and Ve stínu.
The Czech Republic has defeated Switzerland in their-best-of-five match-up to advance to the quarterfinals of the Davis Cup. Tennis player Tomas Berdych secured the decisive third point against the Swiss team by downing opponent Stanislaw Wawrinka on Sunday afternoon. The match saw four sets played; the final score was 6:3, 6:4, 3:6, 7:6. The final singles match of the day, pitting Veselý against Henri Laaksonen, will have no influence on the outcome.
In related news, a day earlier Tomáš Berdych and Lukáš Rosol won the longest match in Davis Cup history to give the Czech Republic 2-1 edge over Switzerland. The doubles match against opponents Stanislas Wawrinka and Marco Chiudinelli took a record 7 hours and two minutes; the deciding fifth set alone took 215 minutes. The final score was 6:4, 5:7, 6:4, 6:7, 24:22. The previous longest Davis Cup match dates back to 1982 and lasted 6 hours and 22 minutes: John McEnroe defeated Sweden’s Mats Wilander.
President-elect Miloš Zeman met with the current head of the president’s office, Jiří Weigl, as well as Prague Castle administrative director Ivo Velíšek on Friday to discuss transition steps. Mr Zeman will be inaugurated as the Czech Republic’s third president in March. The president-elect said he aimed to meet with Prague Castle employees to find out who would be staying on following the departure of the current head-of-state Václav Klaus. Mr Zeman revealed he had already chosen future aides at the Castle, one of whom is his secretary Jaroslav Hlinovksý, in the past employed by Mr Zeman’s controversial former aide Miroslav Šlouf, the Czech news agency reported.
In related news, Miloš Zeman will meet with the outgoing president,
Václav Klaus, on Tuesday afternoon and with Prime Minister Petr Nečas on
Tuesday evening, the Czech news agency reports citing unofficial sources.
Mr Zeman’s first, ČTK writes, is expected to be amicable. Alleged
political differences aside, Mr Klaus and other members of his family,
clear ahead of the election they favored Mr Zeman as the next president.
Klaus steps down after two terms on March 7.
The president-elect’s meeting with the prime minister, by contrast, is expected to be more formal in nature; the day he was elected, Mr Zeman questioned the legitimacy of the centre-right coalition, saying it would be better if the country saw early elections.
The sister TV stations Pětka and Metropol have stopped production of new programming and has opted to air re-runs news website mediar.cz says. According to the site, the stations have been out of money for two months. Earlier reports said that Metropol Productions, the firm behind both stations, had lost funding from businessman Luboš Měkota, whose holdings have been frozen by the police. Empressa Media is reportedly interested in the sister stations. Financial website IHNED, meanwhile, writes that the staff and management will learn more in mid-February; employees are already owed two months in unpaid wages, a station official confirmed.