The Prague soccer clubs Slavia and Sparta received fines of CZK 200,000 over crowd trouble at the former’s Eden Stadium during a derby last Saturday. The Czech Football Association’s disciplinary committee also said that Slavia would be forced to play one league game behind closed doors if such scenes were repeated at their ground in the next three months. Fans of both clubs invaded the pitch after the final whistle and the police made over 80 arrests.
The Czech Office for the Protection of Competition has revoked a contract that Czech Railways signed with Austrian Federal Railways for 11 locomotives, the daily Hospodářské noviny reported on Friday. Czech Railways leased the Siemens Taurus locomotives from the Austrian rail operator in 2008. However, the Czech anti-trust agency said the deal was in fact a purchase that was concluded without a public tender. Czech Railways now face a fine of up to CZK 4 million.
The Czech players Tomáš Berdych and Petra Kvitová have both reached the semi-finals of tennis’s China Open in Beijing. After overcoming John Isner of the US 7-5 6-2 on Friday, Berdych will face Spain’s Rafael Nadal for a place in the final. Kvitová, meanwhile, saw off local favourite Li Na 4-6 6-2 6-4 to set up a meeting with the Serb Jelena Jankovic.
A new British-made documentary entitled Lidice – A Light Across the Sea was screened in the Central Bohemian municipality on Thursday night. The village of Lidice was razed to the ground by the Nazis in June 1942 and the film focuses on the work of English doctor and Labour MP Barnett Stross, who soon afterwards started a collection to rebuild it. The mayor of the present-day Lidice, which is a few hundred metres from where the original village stood, said after the screening that it might not be there without Stross’s efforts.
The Ministry of Education plans to ask public broadcaster Czech Television to broadcast more programmes on its children’s station in English. It made a statement to that effect following a meeting on Friday between the minister of education, Dalibor Štys, and representatives of the Czech Secondary School Union. The students’ group recently made headlines with a call for a reduction in the number of dubbed shows on TV screens in the Czech Republic, which they say would improve people’s language skills.
New legislation introduced last year to curb corruption in public procurement has failed, suggests a new survey by the consultancy firm Otidea released on Thursday. 95 percent of companies which took part in the poll said they still encountered public procurement projects tailored to suit a particular bidder; meanwhile, around 70 percent of public officials said tenders were not more transparent than they were before the legislation came into force. The poll also suggests that one in six officials admitted to having accepted undervalued bids which have become a new strategy for companies to win public contracts.
The psychedelic rock band Plastic People of the Universe are marking their 45th anniversary with a concert in Prague on Thursday. The band was founded in the capital in September 1968. It was later banned by the communist authorities and its members were sentenced to prison terms in the 1970s which provoked the creation of the human rights manifesto Charter 77. The band, whose style is sometimes described as “dissident rock”, has recorded nine studio albums that were only officially released after the fall of communism.
The right-of-centre TOP 09 group has come in first in a mock election held at more than 430 Czech secondary schools on Wednesday and Thursday, three weeks before polls open for a real general election. TOP 09, which was part of the previous coalition government, received 17.8 percent of the mock vote, followed by the Pirate Party and ANO, a group founded by Czech multibillionaire Andrej Babiš. More than 50,000 secondary school students aged 15 and over took part in the voting, organized by the human rights NGO People in Need to popularize elections with first-time voters.
The municipal library in the central Bohemian village of Milín has been named the Library of the Year by the Czech Culture Ministry. At a ceremony in Prague on Thursday, the jury praised the library’s outreach and its role in the life of the community. In the village with 2,100 inhabitants, the library last year registered over 11,000 visits. The prize for significant IT improvement was awarded to the library in Litvínov, in northern Bohemia. The library in Hradec Králové was named the best city library of 2013.
A memorial plaque to the former Czechoslovak and Czech president Václav Havel has been unveiled at the Georgetown University campus in Washington D.C. The plaque is situated next to a monument, created by the architect Bořek Šípek, and comprises of two wooden chairs under a linden tree. The former dissident and playwright’s second wife Dagmar Havlová, as well as some of his friends like the priest Tomáš Halík and former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright were present at the unveiling ceremony on Wednesday.
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