President Miloš Zeman will not attend the national celebrations of St Wenceslas in Stará Boleslav on Saturday, breaking with a tradition established by his predecessor in office, Václav Klaus. Mr Zeman will instead celebrate his 69th birthday on that day, a spokeswoman for the president said. The celebrations mark the anniversary of the death of St Wenceslas, the Catholic patron saint of the Czech lands and founder of the mediaeval Czech state. September 28 is a national holiday in the Czech Republic. During his term as president, Václav Klaus regularly attended the festivities, using the opportunity to speak on issues of Czech statehood and the national identity.
Two JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets of the Czech Air Force were called out on Wednesday to help a sport plane en route from Germany suffering technical difficulties in Czech air space. The fighter jets helped guide the SR22 Cirrus, with three passengers and one pilot on board, safely to an airfield in Kladno outside of Prague. The plane’s automated communication system had suffered a glitch.
A section of the main Czech D1 motorway between Prague and Brno will be closed several times on Saturday as a new bridge will be constructed at the site, the Transport Ministry said. A 10-kilometre long stretch between Loket and Hořice in central Bohemia will be closed for four 1.5-hour periods starting at 8 PM on Saturday. Cars and vans will be diverted to an alternate route while trucks will have to wait for the road to reopen.
The district of Prague 1 has approved a controversial plan to demolish a building on the corner of Prague’s Wenceslas Square and Opletalová Street, a spokeswoman for the district said. The owner of the building is planning to erect a new structure on the site but was waiting for final approval before taking steps. If no one raises objections within 30 days, the project will be able to move ahead. The planned demolition has drawn protests from a part of the public and saw heated debate; however, the building was denied protection as a historic monument by the authorities.
The lagers Starobrno and Litovel Premium won the Lager of the Year category of the 13th annual Czech Beer contest. Starobrno also won the category of the light draft beers, along with Staropramen while Zubr free was chosen as the best non-alcoholic brew. Over 60 brews participated in this year’s beer tasting contest, organized by the Czech Beer and Malt Association.
Premonstratensian monks at the Želiv monastery in the Vysočina region elected Jáchym Jaroslav Šimek their 51st abbot on Thursday. Father Šimek has until now served as an official of the community. The monastery’s previous abbot resigned due to health reasons after 14 years in office. The Želiv monastery was founded in 1139; in 1950, it was closed by the communist authorities and turned into an internment camp for clergymen. It then housed a psychiatric facility until it was returned to the monastic order and reopened as a monastery after the fall of communism in the 1990s.
A court in České Budějovice on Thursday sentenced 16 members of an international drug ring for the production and possession of marihuana, the sale of equipment for marihuana growing, and providing consultations on the process. The terms vary from a year-long suspended sentence to seven years in prison. Besides Czech nationals, the group included Vietnamese, Chinese and Slovenian citizens. The police broke the ring in 2011, and confiscated hundreds of marihuana plants, as well as dried marihuana ready for distribution.
Top Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová beat Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-1 in the quarterfinal of an WTA tournament in Tokyo on Thursday and advanced to the event’s semifinals. The seventh-seeded Czech first defeated Madison Keys in the delayed third-round game on Thursday before taking on the Russian player later in the day. Another Czech, Lucie Šafářová lost to fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-2, 3-6, 2-6 and has been knocked out of the tournament.
The disciplinary committee of the Czech hockey extraliga on Thursday fined Kometa Brno forward Tomáš Svoboda over diving. The incident took place in Kometa’s Tuesday game against Liberec when Svoboda simulated a foul had been committed against him, and fell on the ice. Both Svoboda and the tackling player were sent off after the incident. Svoboda, the third player of the top Czech hockey league to be punished for diving, was fined 10 percent of his monthly salary.
The government passed its proposal for next year’s state budget, outgoing Finance Minister Jan Fischer has confirmed. In its draft budget, the Rusnok cabinet is counting on a deficit of 112 billion crowns next year. According to the finance minister, the deficit should not exceed three percent of GDP. The deficit was raised by two billion crowns from the initial proposal put forward by Mr Fischer. The draft budget has already been criticised by former finance minister Miroslav Kalousek who had proposed a deficit of seven billion crowns less prior to the collapse of the previous government.