A military training centre in Výškov will see an increase in the number of recruits trained in the coming years, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka confirmed during a visit on Saturday. The number of recruits and members of the active reserve should increase by some 2,000 annually. The PM made clear that the Výškov Defence Academy was prepared to shoulder the extra workload and higher number of trainees. He also confirmed the government aimed to increase defence spending from the present 1 percent to 1.4 percent by 2020. Finance Minister Anrej Babiš said late Saturday he had promised to gradually increase the defence budget by 20 billion crowns; the minister is currently on a visit to the US.
Hundreds of people from seven localities on Saturday held simultaneous events in protest of a nuclear waste repository being planned by the government. Protestors walked along paths that would be closed to the public if a repository were built in their respective area. This was the first time that protests were held on the same day in all seven areas. If built, the nuclear waste repository will go into operation in 2065. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he believed that the state would find a reasonable solution that people would not oppose. He told Czech TV the aim was to create a repository which would not be a threat to the environment. Once a suitable location is chosen, the deep geological facility will take some 15 years to complete.
Former prime minister Mirek Topolánek, who led the centre-right Civic Democrats until 2009, has left the ranks of his former party by not renewing membership by not paying his dues. Mr Topolánek confirmed he had left the party, having spoken not long ago with current leader Petr Fiala. Since leaving politics, the former PM has worked in the energy sector. In his political heyday Mr Topolánek clashed most often with former Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek; during the Czech EU presidency, Topolánek's government was toppled in a vote of no confidence. He stayed on as party leader but was forced to step down amidst controversial remarks for a gay magazine in 2010.
Firefighters worked on Saturday evening and most of the night to control a blaze at a ranch in the area of Beroun, outside of Prague, which began at around 5 PM. Firefighters appeared to get the fire under control by 8 PM but found there were still flash fires in the attic sections. A spokesman confirmed the operation was a difficult one. Damage to the site has been estimated at six million crowns.
A 5 x 20 metre concrete slab serving as siding of the bridge-like construction that serves Chotkova Street in the Prague city centre broke off on Sunday morning, requiring technicians to secure the section and test additional panels for safety. The slab broke off at around 6 AM. No one was hurt but guests were evacuated from two rooms at a nearby boutique hotel - the Hofmeister - as a precautionary measure. An additional side panel was found to be loose and had to be secured. Chotkova is a heavily used street winding up from the city's Malá strana quarter to Letná Park and Prague Castle, seeing traffic from both trams and motor vehicles. The concrete panel which collapsed was not a load-bearing part of the construction.
Hockey goaltender Petr Mrázek may have been phenomenal in the Red Wings opening game in the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but was less than stellar on Saturday when he allowed four goals on 18 shots. He was pulled after allowing the fourth; the Lightening went on to win 5:1. Mrázek will reportedly return for Game 3. The series is currently tied at one apiece.
The Winnipeg Jets' Ondřej Pavelec, meanwhile, stopped 37 shots on Saturday but his team still lost by a score of 2:1 against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
The Czech women's tennis team has secured a berth in the final of this year's Fed Cup. The squad clinched a third point on Sunday, putting the final out of reach for the French, when Petra Kvitová defeated opponent Caroline Garcia in straight sets. The final score was 6:4, 6:4. The Czechs are the defending champions; they will face either Germany or Russia in the final, held in November.
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