Deputy prime minister and Minister of Defence Martin Barták has discounted reports from Saturday that former politician Vladimír Dlouhý is being considered as a candidate for the post of Czech EU commissioner. Mr Barták called the report, which featured in Lidové noviny, “speculation” and said Mr Dlouhý’s name had not been discussed. The caretaker government, led by Prime Minister Jan Fischer, wants the political parties to agree on a joint-candidate, something that the two largest parties the Civic and Social Democrats have not been able to do. Mr Barták warned on Sunday that if a consensus was not reached, the government would have to take the matter into its own hands. The prime minister himself warned earlier that the government could opt for a “wild card” nominee.
Police detained 11 people on Saturday for violent and disorderly conduct ahead of a football match between Baník Ostrava and Sparta Prague. Visiting Baník fans clashed with police at the stadium; there were also several incidents earlier in the day, including a fight between fans of opposing teams and an incident in which football hooligans attempted to set fire to soccer paraphernalia on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. In all some 700 visiting fans from Ostrava attended Saturday's match. Police monitored their departure from Prague after the game ended in a 1:1 draw.
In an appearance on Czech TV on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Barták made clear the government will soon take a greater and more active role in choosing a firm to complete the country’s south Bohemian nuclear power plant Temelin, with the option of building an additional unit in Dukovany in Moravia. Three firms have officially expressed an interest but Mr Barták said ten bids had been put forward. Bid assessment will last until January 1. The Czech energy giant ČEZ has been reluctant to make public the names of the bidders, saying such a move would jeopardise the process. The three to officially confirm participation are Russia’s Atomstroyeksport - in a consortium with Czech company Škoda JS and Russia’s Gidropress. The other two are Areva of France, and the US firm Westinghouse.
Prague Airport’s director Miroslav Dvořák has said the airport is expected to see a 5 percent drop in profit year-on-year. Last year, the firm posted a gross profit 1.7 billion crowns (the equivalent of around 94 million US dollars), but 2009 has seen a drop in the number of passengers as well as the number of transported goods. Speaking on Czech TV on Sunday, the CEO also discussed the troubled national carrier Czech Airlines, saying losses there were estimated at around 400 million crowns next year. He said that the carrier could post mild profits in 2011. Mr Dvořák was recently named CEO of Czech Airlines - in addition to his other post - to introduce cost-saving measures to try and turn the company’s flagging fortunes around.
An additional patient is in intensive care at the regional hospital in Karlovy Vary, with first tests showing evidence of swine flu. The patient, also suffering from pneumonia, is being aided by an artificial respirator and is reportedly in stable condition. Further tests are expected to confirm the presence of H1N1. The condition of a second patient, a 30-year-old with swine flu who entered hospital care last week, meanwhile, has not shown signs of improvement, the hospital said.
The wife of Social Democratic Party leader Jiří Paroubek, Petra Paroubková, gave birth on Sunday to the couple’s first child – a girl. A representative of Prague’s Motol Hospital confirmed that both the mother and child were healthy. He added that the couple will allow a short photo opportunity for journalists when the couple take their baby home in a few days. The baby, named Margarita, is Mr Paroubek’s second child - he also has an adult son from his first marriage.
The academic senate of the Plzeň law faculty is to elect a new dean on Monday to succeed Jaroslav Zachariáš, who stepped down amidst a highly-publicised scandal involving suspected plagiarism at the school. Since then, further details over wide-ranging corruption have emerged, casting a shadow over the faculty. These include allegations of fast-track diplomas, poor record-keeping and other transgressions. The 18-member academic senate is to choose between current acting head, former justice minister Jiří Pospíšil and Prague lawyer Karol Hrádela. To be named dean the successful candidate will have to receive at least ten out of 18 votes.
Filmmaker Jan Gogola has won the prize for the best Czech documentary at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. He won for his film “I like a Boring Life”, examining the story of two overlapping personal diaries. The filmmaker teaches at Prague’s film academy, FAMU, and has been active on the Czech film scene for roughly ten years.
London football club Chelsea declassed opponents Bolton by a score of 4:0 on Saturday, taking the top spot in the English Premiership standings - two points ahead of Manchester. The game was goalkeeper Petr Čech’s third clean-sheet in as many matches. Earlier in the week Chelsea downed the Bolton Wanderers by the same score in the FA Cup.
Czech hockey forward Vladimír Sobotka, who plays for Boston Bruins, scored his first goal of the season on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers. The Bruins won the game 2:0.
In other NHL action, Toronto’s Tomáš Kaberle notched up a goal and three assists against the Montreal Canadiens, but it wasn’t enough for the win. Montreal sealed the game 5:4 in the final shootout. Nevertheless, Toronto’s Kabrle now ranks atop of the standings among defencemen: he has earned 17 points so far this year – 13 of them coming in the last five games.
Rainy conditions are expected through Monday to Wednesday. Daytime temperatures should average around 6 degrees Celsius.