Liberec beat Portugal’s Estoril 2:1 away in their final game of Europa League’s group stage on Thursday night, booking a berth in the competition’s knock-out stage. Liberec, who join Czech titleholders Plzeň in the spring phase of Europa League, have qualified for the knockout stage for the first time in the club’s history.
Czech basketball player Luboš Bartoň is leaving the top domestic devision club Děčín to play for Valencia in the Spanish Liga Endesa. The 33-year-old forward came to Děčín at the start of the season from the German club Phantoms Braunschweig; he played 16 games in the Czech league, averaging over 12 points per game. He returns to Spain where he played for various clubs between 2005 and 2012.
Czech swimmer Simona Baumrtová won the silver medal in 50 metres backstroke at the European Short Court Swimming Championships in Demark on Friday. The 22-year-old came in second in a new national record of 56.28 second, 0.29 second after winner Mie Nielsen of Denmark. The Czech mixed relay team took bronze in 4x50 metres medley, finishing third after Russia and Germany in 1:39.54.
The three parties of the emerging centre-left coalition have reached agreement on the future government’s policy programme. The Social Democrats, ANO and the Christian Democrats met on Thursday to give the document final approval in the wake of several changes. The policy programme, which includes proposed tax changes as of 2015, a hike in the minimum wage and scraps direct payments for medical care, will be released to the press on Friday. Social Democrat leader and the country’s likely next prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka is to brief President Milos Zeman on the outcome of the talks on Thursday evening.
Petr Gazdík from TOP 09 was elected deputy chair of the lower house on Thursday, completing the ranks of the chamber’s newly elected leadership. Mr. Gazdík, who failed to win enough support in a previous vote, was elected following an agreement between the emerging coalition parties. He was the only candidate after Tomio Okamura from the Dawn party withdrew his candidacy. The three other deputy chairs are Jaroslava Jermanová from ANO, Communist party MP Vojtěch Filip and Christian Democrat leader Pavel Belobrádek. The Speaker of the Lower House is Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats who won October’s general elections.
The Czech Food Inspection Office has warned there is still unlicensed and potentially dangerous alcohol on the market. In the third quarter inspectors checked out over 1,000 sales outlets and came across three which had alcohol without license stamps on stock. The warning comes ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations when the sale of alcoholic beverages skyrockets. Police say that in the wake of the methanol scandal which killed close to 40 people in the Czech Republic there could still be thousands of liters of dangerous, methanol-laced spirits on the market.
A stretch of the A-line of Prague’s metro had to be closed down for several hours on Thursday after a burst pipe flooded the lobby of Dejvická metro station. Although the line was re-opened in the afternoon hours emergency crews are still busy with clean-up work. The extent of the damage has yet to be estimated. Several buildings, including army headquarters in the vicinity of the metro station were left without water.
President Milos Zeman met with Interior Minister Martin Pecina on Thursday to discuss the situation in the police force in the wake of a development that has left the country with two police presidents. The former head of the force Petr Lessy was reinstated by the interior minister earlier this month after being cleared of criminal charges while the man who succeeded him in office, Martin Cervicek, refuses to give up his post. Minister Pecina, who has been criticized for not leaving the decision in the hands of the country’s next cabinet, said he would proceed within the bounds of the law to resolve the matter.
Police wiretappings between the former prime minister Petr Nečas and his then chief-of-staff Jana Nagyova reveal that Mr. Nečas bartered his signature on then-president Vaclav Klaus’ controversial amnesty in return for the president’s approval of the government’s austerity package. The former prime minister countersigned the amnesty which he knew to be highly controversial without discussing the matter with his government. He denied this in the past, saying that his signature on the presidential amnesty had been a mere formality.
A gas explosion in Plzen, west Bohemia, has left five people seriously injured, with one of them reported to be in critical condition. Two others suffered lighter injuries. The accident occurred after 11 pm on Wednesday night during emergency repair-work on the gas circuit. The cause of the accident is being investigated.