The Czech Republic have reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup after opening up an unassailable 3:1 lead over Kazakhstan in Astana. The Czech team – without the country’s men’s number one, Tomáš Berdych – won the first two singles rubbers on Friday before losing in Saturday’s doubles to allow the hosts back into the tie. However, Lukáš Rosol calmed Czech nerves by beating Evgeny Korolev 7-6 6-7 7-6 6-2 on Sunday. The Czech Republic are the defending Davis Cup champions after taking the trophy in Prague at the end of last year, while the country also holds the Fed Cup.
Around 500 people took part in an anti-government demonstration on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Sunday. The protest was organised by the south-Moravia based Holešovská výzva (Holešov Appeal), an umbrella group formed about a year ago that demands the resignation of the coalition government of Petr Nečas and other changes. They named their demonstration Twilight of the Godfathers, indicating their wish to see the end of alleged mafia involvement in Czech politics.
The wintery weather the Czech Republic has been experiencing lately is evidently coming to an end, with temperatures set to gradually increase. The Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute said in its regular monthly forecast that the average daily temperature over the next four weeks should get close to 9.4 degrees Celsius, which is the norm for the time of year. The third week of April should be the warmest of the month.
The number of apartment buildings and districts inhabited by the poor in the Czech Republic is on the rise, the Czech News Agency quoted the head of the government’s social integration agency, Martin Šimáček, as saying on Sunday. While there were an estimated 330 ghettos in the country in 2006 and 400 in 2011, that number is now higher, said Mr. Šimáček, adding, however, that precise figures will not be available until next year. He said many poor people have been forced to move from apartments to hostel-style accommodation due to indebtedness.
The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is to decide on Monday how to respond to a warning from the North Korean authorities on Friday that embassies in Pyongyang should consider evacuating their employees in view of current tensions with South Korea. While no foreign embassies have to date announced plans to evacuate, a Czech Foreign Ministry official said on Sunday that it had been monitoring the situation over the weekend with a view to deciding on a course of action. The Czech Republic closed its embassy in Pyongyang in 1993 and reopened it in 2004, when Czech diplomats offered North Korea help in overcoming its international isolation.
Viktoria Plzeň are still heading Czech soccer’s first division after a 2:1 home win over relegation-threatened Teplice on Sunday. Plzeň are only ahead of rivals Sparta Prague, who also have 47 points after 22 games played, thanks to a goal difference of two. Sparta beat Olomouc 3:0 away on Saturday.
The minister of labour and social affairs, Ludmila Müllerová, says her ministry will this year lack billions of crowns needed for social welfare payments. Speaking on a TV debate show on Sunday, she said she would ask the Ministry of Finance for increased funding. However, the minister of finance, Miroslav Kalousek (who is also from the TOP 09 party), said he could find no extra money for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Mr. Kalousek said Ms. Müllerová would have to find the money needed within her own department, which receives the greatest amount for outlays of any ministry.
Saturday marks the 135th anniversary of the foundation of the Social Democratic Party, which is today the Czech Republic’s largest left-wing grouping. The party was established at the Kaštan house of culture in the Prague district of Břevnov on April 7 1878 as part of the Austrian Social Democrats. Present-day leaders laid a wreath at the still-functioning Kaštan on Friday, while on Saturday an anniversary ball is being held at the National House in Prague’s Vinohrady district.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg, has raised the possibility of a deal with President Miloš Zeman on the appointment of ambassadors, an issue on which the two men have been at loggerheads. In a newspaper interview, Mr. Schwarzenberg said he would propose Communist Party MEP and former cosmonaut Vladimír Remek, who enjoys Mr. Zeman’s support, for the post of envoy to Moscow, if the president approved his suggestions for other ambassadorial positions. In a separate interview, the foreign minister said former defence minister Alexandr Vondra would make a good ambassador to Israel. However, he has insisted that former first lady Lidia Klausová, who Mr. Zeman is pushing, is not qualified to become Czech ambassador to Bratislava.
The Czech soccer captain Tomáš Rosický scored both goals for Arsenal in a 2:1 win over West Bromwich Albion in an English Premier League game on Saturday. They were his first league goals of the season. The midfielder, who is 32, had headed a shot of the line to prevent a West Brom lead when the score stood at 0:0. Rosický has said he will consider his future at Arsenal in the summer, after not being a regular starter this term.
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