News Football’s Sparta Prague reach group stage of Europa League
Czech football league champions Sparta Prague reached the group stage of the Europa League on Thursday, with a 3:1 second-leg win over Zwolle – a score of 4:2 on aggregate. Sparta, the last Czech club in European competition after exits by Plzeň, Liberec and Mladá Boleslav, drew first blood and scored two more to take a commanding 3:0 by the 63rd minute. Zwolle converted a penalty in the 83rd minute to get the consolation goal. In the next round, Sparta will compete in Group I, against Napoli, Slovan Bratislava and Switzerland’s Young Boys.
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A police officer who is accused of killing one man and injuring another in an off-duty shooting incident in the East Bohemian town of Vysoké Mýto at the weekend has been remanded in custody. The two victims were doormen at a disco in the town. A witness said the officer and two other men had attempted to enter the disco for free, insisting they were taking part in a police operation. A police spokesperson said the officer, who is 42, had been held on remand for fear he could either flee or attempt to influence witnesses.
New temperature records were set for December 23 at a number of places in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. In České Budějovice in South Bohemia a high of 11.9 degrees Celsius was registered, breaking a record in place for almost five decades, while the warmest spot in the country was Pohořelice near Brno, where 13.1 degrees Celsius was also a new record.
Some parts of the Czech Republic are likely to see snow over the Christmas period. While it is expected to rain on Christmas Eve, when Czechs celebrate Christmas, temperatures are expected to fall for a two-day period, bringing small amounts of snow on St. Stephen’s Day. Daytime temperatures should hover around 0 degrees Celsius in the latter part of the week.
Many Czechs are preparing for an unusually long Christmas break from work. The combination of state holidays on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and a regular weekend means that a lot of people around the country will enjoy a five-day break, a situation that will not arise again until 2018. After that it will not recur until 2025. Czechs celebrate Christmas on the evening of December 24.
A lawyer for the company that operates the Vrbětice depot says it will not be possible to prepare the munitions there for transfer by the suggested date of mid-January. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec announced the projected term on Monday night. Speaking for the Imex Group, lawyer Radek Ondruš said the company would be unable to acquire the necessary permits for the international transport of munitions by then. Imex Group plans to sell some of the munitions to buyers outside the Czech Republic. Mr. Ondruš also said the state was refusing to communicate with the firm.
The organs of 250 deceased donors have been used in the Czech Republic in 2014, which is a record for one year. The figure was announced on Tuesday by the director of the Czech Transplanting Coordinating Centre, Miloš Adamec. The country climbed one place to 14th in the world in terms of this form of organ donation. Mr. Adamec said the rise was partly down to a 2013 change in the law under which patients who received organs can contribute to the funeral costs of donors.
The removal of munitions from a depot in eastern Moravia where explosions occurred over a two-month period will take place in the middle of January at the earliest. The minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, made the announcement after a meeting of the State Security Council, which he said had taken advice from the police. Some 2,800 tonnes of munitions will be transported around 200 kilometres from the village of Vrbětice to a depot in Květná in eastern Bohemia, where the material will be stored temporarily. The rest will be sold.
The Czech government has approved a plan to establish a central bank account register. The database, which should be launched in January 2016, will include all private and corporate accounts run by Czech banks and credit unions, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš said. The register should allow tax authorities to monitor the length of existence of the accounts in order to curb tax evasion, according to the finance minister who said that information on account balances will not be included in the register.
Tennis player Petra Kvitová has been voted the Czech sportsperson of the year. In a poll held by Czech sports journalists, the Wimbledon winner finished first ahead of the Olympic champion in snowboard cross Eva Samková and speedskating champion Martina Sáblíková. The title for the best team was awarded to the Czech women’s Fed Cup team including Kvitová. This is the second time the 24-year-old tennis player won the title for the country’s best sportsperson.
The Czech Foreign Ministry on Monday handed a diplomatic note to the Norwegian ambassador in Prague over two boys taken away from their mother by Norway’s social services. In the note, the ministry assures the Norwegian authorities that it can guarantee the boys will be taken care of if they are returned to the Czech Republic, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek told the news website idnes.cz. The Norwegian social services took the boys away from their Czech parents in 2011 over alleged sexual abuse, and have since placed them in foster care. Their mother last week filed a lawsuit with a court in Norway, asking for a revision of the social services’ decision.