Czechs will be able to test their English language skills at language schools around the country from November 25-30.The event, organized by the Association of Foreign Language Schools and the national centre Europass is intended to raise interest in learning foreign languages and mapping Czechs’ foreign language skills. The comprehension test will also be available online. According to the results of a Eurobarometer study 49 percent of Czechs speak one foreign language, as compared to the EU average of 54 percent.
The two strongest parties of the former centre-right government coalition have lost approximately one million voters since the last general elections in 2010, according to a comparative analysis of opinion surveys conducted by the Factum Invenio polling agency. According to the results half a million former Civic Democrat voters have changed allegiance in favour of Andrej Babis’ ANO 2011 party and others will vote instead for the Christian Democrats and Tomio Okamura’s Dawn of Direct Democracy. TOP 09 stands to lose around 240,000 former supporters in favour of left-wing parties, due to dissatisfaction with the former government’s austerity measures.
The Czech Republic has officially proposed deploying troops as UN peacekeepers in the disputed Golan Heights. According to Defence Minister Vlastimil Picek the country could send some 150 soldiers whenever needed, but the nearest term is in 2015. The UN has meanwhile expressed interest in deploying Czech helicopters in its peace missions in Sudan and Mali. The deployment of Czech troops would have to be approved by the country’s new Parliament which will emerge from October’s general elections.
The Czech Republic’s Petra Kvitová has risen to seventh in tennis’s world rankings after winning the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo at the weekend. Her return to the top 10 after a three-week absence boosts her chances of reaching the prestigious season-ending World Tour Finals, which features the top eight players. Tomáš Berdych, meanwhile, has climbed to fifth in the men’s rankings after reaching the final of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
Monday is the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Munich Agreement allowing the Nazis to annex Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland, border areas chiefly inhabited by ethnic Germans. The deal was agreed on September 29 1938 but actually signed in the early hours of September 30 by the leaders of the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Czechoslovakia was not represented at the talks and considered the deal a betrayal on the part of its nominal allies the UK and France. Six months later the Nazis took over the whole of Bohemia and Moravia.
Police in Prague made 82 arrests on Saturday night in connection with a game between the city’s two biggest soccer clubs Sparta and Slavia at the latter’s Eden Stadium. The majority of those arrested were Sparta fans. Most were detained for misdemeanours, while 13 are suspected of promoting fascism or disorderly behaviour, the Czech New Agency reported. Police said they were also looking for a man who threw a firecracker into a group of Slavia fans. Sparta won the game 2:0 and maintained their lead in the Czech top division.
A moving express train came close to crashing into a stationary express train at Neratovice in central Bohemia on Saturday evening. The fact the two machines were on the same track has been blamed on human error. After the emergency brakes were activated on the moving train it came to a halt around 100 metres from the one that was standing. No passengers were injured in the incident, which follows a similar situation involving two local trains on the outskirts of Brno earlier this month.
A flood protection system at Prague Zoo should be extended within the next three years, the city’s first deputy mayor Jiří Vávra said at an event marking the 82nd anniversary of the institution’s opening. According to an analysis that Mr. Vávra presented, it is possible to erect barriers around the zoo without causing greater flood damage to other spots in the Czech capital. The report was commissioned after flooding in June that badly affected lower parts of the zoo, which had been devastated during severe floods in 2002. This year’s damages are expected to exceed CZK 100 million.
The Czech Republic’s Tomáš Berdych has been beaten in the final of tennis’s Thailand Open in Bangkok. The tournament’s top seed lost 6-7 3-6 to Milos Raonic of Canada on Sunday and remains the only player among the world’s top 10 not to have won a title in 2013. Berdych, who is 28, last lifted a title in Stockholm in October last year.
Major road works on the Czech Republic’s busiest motorway, the D1, have come to an end for this year. A section of the highway between Loket and Hořice was reopened on Sunday morning, meaning the entire road – which runs from Prague to Ostrava – is now open to motorists. The huge modernisation project is set to cost CZK 14 billion, much of which will be drawn from European Union funds.
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