The Social Democrats are still way out in front of their rivals in terms of voter support, suggests an opinion poll conducted this month by the STEM agency. The party would receive 27.7 percent support among those planning to vote, the survey indicates, followed by TOP 09 with 11.4 percent. Some 10.3 percent of respondents said they would cast their ballots for the Communists, while 8.9 percent said they would vote for the Civic Democrats.
The Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, has condemned Monday’s bomb attack in Boston. Mr. Nečas said he firmly believed that such an “unacceptable and disgusting terrorist act” would be investigated and those responsible held to account, adding that there was no place for such barbaric and cruel behaviour. Three people were killed and over 170 injured in Monday’s attack, which took place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The Czech police have boosted security at the US Embassy in Prague and said they would take special measures ahead of next month’s Prague Marathon.
The executive committee of the Czech Football Association have decided to retain Michal Bílek as manager of the national squad. Officials said he had their confidence as long as it was still theoretically possible for the Czech Republic to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil next year. Bílek had come under pressure after a home defeat against Denmark that left his charges with a major hill to climb if they are to reach the competition. The one-time Sparta Prague coach has been in charge since 2009 and led the Czechs to Euro 2012 via the playoffs.
Prague police officers are searching for a man who – posing as a buyer last July – successfully stole diamonds worth 200 million crowns. Police spokesman Jan Daněk said that the man, who was recorded on a security camera at a Prague store, took advantage of a moment when he wasn’t being watched and switched real diamonds on sale for zircon replicas. The suspect spoke Russian, identified himself as Konstantin Lebekin, and is thought to be either from a former Soviet bloc country or the Balkans.
President Miloš Zeman, his wife Ivana and their daughter Kateřina are preparing to move into the Lumbe villa, located near Prague Castle, in May. The building is the former residence of ex-president Václav Klaus and former first lady Livie Klausová. Mr Zeman’s spokeswoman Hana Buriánová said the Zemans will have 200 square metres in the villa, adding that the interiors had been newly re-painted. The Lumbe villa dates back to the mid-19th century; it was once home to the painter Miloš Jiránek.
Defending FA Cup champions Chelsea – with goalie Petr Čech – were knocked out of the completion on Sunday in their semi-final against Manchester City. Chelsea, who trailed by two early in the second half, managed to pull within one but had a penalty denied (shirt-pulling on Torres when moved into the area). Petr Čech and Chelsea won the FA Cup four times in the last six years.
In related news, Prime Minister Petr Nečas described the situation at the institute as “scandalous”. The prime minister claimed recent developments were an effort by the opposition to control information in the Security Services Archive (ABS). The prime minister suggested material in the archives could threaten alleged future cooperation between the opposition Social Democrats and the Communist Party, if the Social Democrats win the next election and end up forming the next government. Opinion polls have suggested the Social Democrats will win next year by a fair margin.
The Supreme Audit Office announced on Monday that it found a number of problems in the finances of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute between the years 2009 to 2011. In 2010, the institute provided lower annual budget figures while in the following year it overshot by more than a million crowns. The biggest problems (for which the Hydrometeorological Institute may have to pay a penalty) concerned property records and accounting.
Plzeň on Sunday won at home to square their best-of-seven series in the final of the Czech play-offs against Zlín at two apiece. Plzeň came into Sunday’s match needing to rebound from a loss a day earlier and were helped by two goals just 30 or so seconds apart in the first period. The club went on to take the game 5:2. Game 5 will be played in Zlín on Wednesday.
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