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Hurricane-force winds battering Czech Republic

Hurricane-force winds have been battering the Czech Republic, taking lives, bringing down trees, power lines and damaging property. The worst problems are reported in the western and central parts of the country where two people were killed by falling trees and thousands of homes are without power.

The power utility CEZ has declared a calamity situation in seven regions. Many roads and rail tracks are blocked by fallen trees and emergency crews have been responding to hundreds of calls since the early hours of Sunday.

Peope have been advised to take extreme caution and not leave their homes if possible. In the mountain regions the force of the wind may reach 160 km per hour. A high wind warning is in force until midnight.

Villages in northern Bohemia on flood alert

Heavy rain overnight and on Sunday has swollen rivers in north Bohemia with a flood alert in place in the Liberec and Hradec Kralove regions. Second and third degree alerts are in place in many villages along the Labe, Jizera and Kamenice rivers which have exerienced flash floods in the past. Anti-flood measures are being effected, such as bags of sand being placed along the embanments. The situation is expected to improve at the start of the week.

Designblok closed after high wind damages roof at Holesovice exhibition hall

High winds damaged the roof of the main building at Prague’s Vystaviste exhibition grounds in Holesovice on Sunday and the entire grounds were closed to the public for safety reasons,Czech Radio reported. The emergency situation has cut short this year’s Designblok which was housed in the premises. The organizers have appologized to the public. The Prague Castle compound and Prague Zoo were also closed for the day for safety reasons.

Babiš working to form minority government

The leader of the ANO party Andrej Babiš, who is to be tasked with forming the new Czech government on Tuesday, is working to form a minority government made up of outgoing ANO cabinet ministers and experts. Babiš told Czech Television on Sunday that all ministers in the outgoing cabinet with the exception of Finance Minister Ivan Pilny had agreed to stay on and he had found two experts from outside party ranks.

The other parties which won seats in the lower house have refused to enter into a coalition with ANO and only the Communist Party has said it would consider whether to support a minority cabinet headed by Babis. There is concern that with support from President Zeman such a cabinet could temporarily govern without a vote of confidence from the lower house.

President awards 39 personalities on Czechoslovak Independence Day

President Miloš Zeman awarded high state distinctions to 39 Czech and foreign personalities on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day. The gala ceremony at Prague Castle marked 99 years since the founding of Czechoslovakia.

Among the foreign laureates were the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the former president of Slovenia Borut Pahor and the former mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl who all received the country’s highest state distinction, the Order of the White Lion.

Among the Czech personalities who received awards were speed-skater Martina Sábliková, singer Jaromír Nohavica and film director Zdenek Troška.

Andrea Hlavackova and Timea Babos win WTA doubles title

Andrea Hlavackova and Timea Babos won the WTA doubles title in Singapore for the first time after a brilliant three-set win over Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson. The Czech-Hungarian duo beat unseeded Kiki Bertens and Johanna Larsson 4-6, 6-4, 10-5. It is the pair's fifth trophy of the year; they teamed up for the first time in May.

Weather forecast

Monday should be overcast with rain or sleet showers in the higher altitudes and day temperatures between 5 and 9 degrees Celsius.