Irish singer Glen Hansard is due to perform on the terrace at Prague Castle’s Riding School on Tuesday night. Hansard, who is promoting his first solo album Rhythm and Repose, will be backed by members of The Frames, the band that he has led for over two decades. The musician, who is 43, won an Oscar with the Czech singer Markéta Irglová for the song Falling Slowly and has been a regular visitor to the Czech Republic for many years. Tuesday’s show, which is part of a new initiative to bring live music to Prague Castle, is sold out.
Viktoria Plzeň will welcome the Slovenian side Maribor on Tuesday evening in the first leg of a tie to decide a place in world soccer’s biggest club competition the Champions League. The second leg will take place in Slovenia on Wednesday next week. The West Bohemian club first reached the Champions League in 2011, the same year they won the Czech league for the first time, and last season topped a Europa League group that included Italy’s Napoli.
Highly experienced goalkeeper Radek Černý has described Slavia’s 7:0 home drubbing at the hands of Teplice on Monday evening as the worst day of his footballing life. Černý, who is 39 and spent eight years in England with Tottenham Hotspur and Queen’s Park Rangers, told the website Sport.cz that he and his teammates could only pray for the match to end as Slavia fell apart in the second half. No home team had previously lost by such a score-line in the decade since the foundation of the Czech league.
Czech Rail has increased security measures on the country’s railway
routes in response to the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe by
al-Qaeda. Jakub Ptačinský, the spokesman for the Railway Infrastructure
Agency revealed the news on Monday. The spokesman did not elaborate on the
measures, saying if they were made public, it would defeat the purpose. He
said the agency had received the warning of a possible threat in Europe
several days ago. BIS, the country’s counter-intelligence service,
however, stressed there was no immediate danger in the Czech Republic.
The German daily Bild reported there was a threat of attacks on high-speed tracks, tunnels and trains, citing a call between al-Qaeda members intercepted by the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). The German Interior Ministry, responded, however, by saying the security situation in the country had not worsened and that security measures as reported by Bild had not been taken. BIS spokesman Jan Šubert said Czech counter-intelligence had not received any information from foreign partners about the Czech Republic being targeted.
Former Czech president Václav Klaus is close to making a return to politics, Právo has reported. The newspaper said it had learned of the planned comeback from sources close to Mr Klaus, who is 72 and was prime minister for six years in the 1990s. Právo said his decision was conditional on MPs voting to dissolve Parliament on Tuesday. There had been suggestions that Mr. Klaus could rejoin the party he founded, the Civic Democrats, but both senior party figures and the two-time president have ruled that out. An opinion poll carried by Czech Television on Sunday suggested that three-quarters of voters think he should not return to the political arena.
In related news, Ladislav Jakl, a former aide to Václav Klaus, has denied that the ex-president is weighing a return to politics, telling the Czech News Agency there was no political entity on the current political scene attractive enough. He shrugged off the suggestion Mr Klaus would return by saying it was easy to renew speculation over Mr Klaus’ future. The Czech Republic’s second president stepped down in March of this year after two terms in office. He is currently involved in an institute that bears his name, conceived as a liberal-conservative think tank running conferences, seminars, and events for both experts and the broader public.
The right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party is likely vote against the dissolution of the lower house on Tuesday, according to reports. Deputy party leader Miroslava Němcová said the party leadership had recommended its MPs to vote in favour only if certain legislation being discussed in the Chamber had already been passed, which she stressed was not the case. The party, earlier, had sought a delay on the vote until September 3. Four parties – the Social Democrats, Communists, Public Affairs, and centre-right TOP 09 – called for the vote to pave the way for early elections. Together, they hold the constitutional majority needed. If the move passes, the president has already indicated he will schedule the election for the final weekend in October.
In related news, the four parties seeking early elections confirmed independently on Monday that they expected their MPS to back the dissolution of the lower house in Tuesday’s vote, opening the door to early elections. Most MPs, they said, would be present, with the possible exception of one lawmaker in TOP 09 for health reasons. The head of TOP 09’s deputies’ club Petr Gazdík said he expected the MP, who is going for a medical check-up, to make it on time. One hundred and 20 votes – or a constitutional majority – is required for the proposal to pass; the four parties together have 122.
The Czech travel agency Exim tours is hastening the return of clients currently in Egypt, over growing fears that the security situation in the country, especially in Hurghada, will worsen in the coming days. Its last client in the country is due to return home on Thursday. In all, two thousand Czechs have stayed on for the moment but are also expected to return home in the coming days. The departure of tourists as well as the cancellation of upcoming package vacations represents losses in the millions. Last Friday, the Czech Foreign Ministry warned Czechs not to travel to Egypt in light of deadly violence and growing unrest.
Internationally-recognised photographer Josef Koudelka signed a contract with the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague (UPM) on Monday confirming he is donating a collection of 537 of his photographs to the museum. The collection represents the apex of the photographer’s work. The first half of the collection will be delivered in half a year. The second half, forming part of current retrospectives being exhibited abroad, will be delivered later. The collection is estimated as being worth tens of millions of crowns. Part of the deal is a planned retrospective of Mr Koudelka’s work at the UPM in 2018. The collection will formally retain the status of being on loan until the threat of Czech artwork being seized abroad (due to ongoing arbitration cases) subsides.