News Czech Fair Play awards handed out
Hockey player Tomáš Slovák, bike rider David Pabiška and former cyclist Jan Smolík received the Czech Fair Play awards on Wednesday. Škoda Plzeň defenceman Slovák was honoured for admitting to the referee he had deflected a puck out of play during the decisive match of last year’s play-offs finals. David Pabiška, meanwhile, assisted an injured rider during last year’s Dakar Rally; he called a medical helicopter and waited with the injured Italian biker until it arrived. Former cyclist Jan Smolík, who won the international Peace Race event in 1964, received an award for his life-time commitment to fair play principles, the organizers from the Czech Olympic Committee said.
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Trains between Prague and Dresden, Germany, have been disrupted by a landslide just across the joint border in Germany. A goods which collided with the debris was partially derailed on Monday night. Nobody was injured. The landslide is believed to have been caused by heavy rain. Train services could be resumed on Tuesday. In the meantime, an emergency bus service will be in place.
Joint patrols of soldiers and police will end, the government decided on Monday. The joint patrols were introduced in the immediate aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks on March 22. Stepped up police surveillance will continue with the security alert remaining at the post-Brussels level of one, defense minister Martin Stropnický said. The joint patrols have come under fire from the centre-right opposition party, the Civic Democrats, as excessive. A video of how police and soldiers used excessive force on a Prague citizen who refused to hand over identity documents also stirred criticism of the patrols.
Czech tennis player Lukáš Rosol created a scare for reigning French Open singles champion Stan Wawrinka. Rosol took a two sets to one lead in the first round match on Monday before the Swiss player won the final two sets and the match in just over three hours. The final score was 4:6, 6:1, 3:6, 6:3, 5:4. Wawrinka is seeded three for this year’s French Open. Wawrinka and Rosol clashed four days ago in the semi-finals of the Geneva competition with the Swiss winning in three sets.
The Czech government is one of the creditors of struggling hard coal mining company OKD. Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said that employer’s social insurance payments to the tune of around 79 million crowns are owing. If the sum remains unpaid then the state could join a creditors’ committee and influence the restructuring of the company. OKD filed for insolvency at the start of May with overall debts estimated at 17 billion crowns. At a meeting between government representatives, the unions, and the Moravia-Silesia hejtman on Monday, the head of the Confederation of Czech Trades Union, Josef Středula, warned that it was not clear if OKD’s around 10,000-strong workforce would be paid for May. Protests would result if that was the case, he warned.
Charges have been filed against three members of an artistic group who last year hoisted a giant pair of red underpants over Prague Castle, the official seat of President Miloš Zeman. The charges laid against the members of the Ztohoven group cover disorderly conduct, theft, and damage. The art activists hoisted the underpants over the castle in protest at the president’s policies on September 19 last year. A court initially refused to pursue the case for lack of evidence. Police have since returned with a new dossier of evidence.
Czech police will be aiding their French counterparts during football’s Euro 2016 competition which begins on June 10. The Czech officers will mainly be on hand at areas reserved for supporters and at railway stations and airport. Some will assist help French frontier police. The Czech contingent has been made available following a request for help from the French Ministry of Interior. The Czech group games takes place at Toulouse, St. Etienne, and Lens.
Czech Archaeologists have described as the find of a lifetime a 3,000 year old bronze bowl which was discovered in a field outside Prague. The discovery has been kept secret for around a year until the reward of 92,000 crowns to the finder was settled. News of the find was made public by Czech Radio. The public will have to wait until the two handled amphora undergoes substantial restoration work in Germany before it goes on show.
Two of the country’s biggest construction companies, Skanska and Eurovia, will each have to pay fines of around 500 million crowns each by the start of August. The regional court in Brno confirmed that deadline in rejecting the companies’ appeals against fines from the Czech competition officie. The two companies were fined for membership of a cartel which split up the work on a major road development in the Czech Republic. Skanska’s parent company is based in Sweden. Eurovia is part of the France-based Vinci multinational group.
In tennis, top men’s Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych has maintained his eighth spot in the singles ranking. Top women player Petra Kvitová is 12th, just ahead of countrywoman Lucie Šafářová in 13th place. Berdych begins the French Open against Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Kvitová stuggled in three sets to the second round on Sunday.
Czech spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office, has lodged a criminal complaint against the state body tasked with promoting tourism, Czech Tourism. The complaint is based on multiple counts of poor housekeeping at the agency. The spending watchdog in particular highlighted a series of cases where orders were made and contracts signed without any attempt to find the cheapest offer on the market. That covered, for example, the purchase of legal services and airline tickets. The alleged flaws took place between 2011 and 2014. The minister for Regional Development also lodged a criminal complaint against the tourism office in March but police investigations were later suspended.