The Christian Democrats and Freedom Union, the two smaller parties in the Czech governing coalition, have voiced preliminary support for university professor Jan Sokol as their candidate in the third round of presidential elections, due to be held on February 28th. Mr. Sokol, whose nomination was officially approved by the Social Democratic Party leadership on Saturday, appears to be the most acceptable figure so far to the three parties of the governing coalition who, due to their slim majority in parliament, need to unite behind a single candidate. If nominated, Mr. Sokol will stand against the former Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, the official candidate of the opposition Civic Democrats. A third failure to elect a new president would most likely tip the scales in favour of direct presidential elections.
Two skiers who spent the night in sub degree temperatures after getting lost in the Jeseniky mountains survived the ordeal thanks to a mobile phone and a box of matches. The couple, both in their twenties, accidentally skied off the trail on Saturday and although they were able to call for help on their mobile phone they proved unable to give rescue workers any information regarding their whereabouts. A search for them continued throughout the night with rescue teams using snow scooters rather than helicopters because of poor visibility. The couple were able to build a shelter in the forest and light a fire which reportedly saved their lives. Rescue workers found them unhurt but badly shaken on Sunday morning.
The famous Czech traveller Jiri Hanzelka has died at the age of 82. Hanzelka and his friend Miroslav Zikmund fulfilled their dream to explore the world, setting off on their first expedition across Africa and Latin America in 1947. They returned with precious ethnographic material and hundreds of photographs, sharing their experiences in travel books and numerous lectures. In communist Czechoslovakia their work was one of the main sources of information about life on other continents. Twelve years after their first trip they set off on an expedition to Australia, Asia and the former Soviet empire. Their very realistic picture of poverty and hardship in the former Soviet Union got them into trouble with the communist authorities and prevented further expeditions, until the fall of communism in 1989. Even so, they managed to visit dozens of countries, made numerous documentaries and wrote captivating books about their travels.
The whole stretch of Prague's B-metro line is to be made operational on Monday, six months after it was severely damaged by floods. The three key metro stations -Muzeum- Florenc and Mustek - will thus be fully operational again, which should alleviate the long-term pressure on Prague busses and trams. According to the city transport authority trains will run the full length of the B line but 4 stations will remain closed for further repair work. All repairs should be completed by the end of March, when city transport in the Czech capital will finally return to normal.
Monday should be cold and partly cloudy with day temperatures between minus six and minus two degrees Celsius.
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