News Under-18 hockey squad loses to United States at World Championships
After edging earlier tournament favourites such as Russia or the defending champions Canada at the U-18 hockey worlds the Czech Republic's U-18 squad hit a wall against the United States, losing the final in Finland on Sunday by a score of 5:2. The silver medal finish is nevertheless an historic result for the Czech U-18 squad, which had never before made it to the gold medal match in the competition.
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The Senate is to debate a proposed amendment to the law which would change the present zero alcohol tolerance for cyclists in the Czech Republic to a small amount of alcohol permitted. The proposal is based on the current norm in Austria which allows a blood alcohol level of up to 0.8 milliliters, the second most benevolent norm in Europe after Germany. This roughly corresponds to two or three beers or two glasses of wine. The proposed amendment was drafted on the grounds of a petition from close to 5,000 bikers. The Transport Ministry is vehemently opposed to the proposed change on the grounds that it would significantly decrease road safety.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to hold talks with top officials in Prague on Thursday, within a tour of several EU member states. Her talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and President Miloš Zeman are expected to focus on the future of the EU after Brexit, the migration crisis and bilateral cooperation in the field of science and research. Shortly after meeting with President Zeman at around 6pm, Chancellor Merkel will attend a dinner given in her honour at Prague’s Lichtenstein Palace. Several demonstrations have been announced in connection with the chancellor’s visit by both her critics and supporters.
The eastern parts of Prague are set to undergo one of the biggest shutdowns of the municipal water system in years, due to an extensive renovation of a water main. The water was shut down on Thursday morning and water will not flow until August 29. The outage will affect some 17,000 residents in the eastern part of Prague as well as some villages outside the city limits. The Prague Water Supply and Sewerage Company has placed fifty water tanks in the streets but also advised people to stock up on water.
A Czech woman who was lost in a remote area of New Zealand for a month has been found alive in an unattended warden’s cabin, New Zealand media reported on Thursday. The woman and her partner had set out to hike the Routeburn Track, which winds through the mountains in the South Island. According to police the couple set on the trail on 26 July and the man fell down a steep slope on 28 July. The woman said she climbed down the slope and reached him but he died shortly afterwards. She had been taken to hospital for assessment and was in good health.
Former lobbyist Marek Dalík is to report to Prague’s Ruzyně prison by September 1 to begin serving his four-year sentence for corruption, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. Dalík, who was a close associate of former prime minister Mirek Topolánek in the second half of the last decade, was found guilty of corruption in a case involving the purchase of armoured vehicles for the Czech Army from the Austrian arms manufacturer Steyr. Dalík’s defence lawyers have filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš and Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek are scheduled to attend Thursday’s meeting of the Czech president Miloš Zeman and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The information was confirmed on Wednesday by president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček. The meeting will also be attended by Czech ambassador to Germany. Among the main topics on their agenda should be migration crisis and the impact of Brexit on the EU. Mrs Merkel, who will arrive in Prague for a one-day official visit, is also scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and pay a visit to the Czech Technical University.
A district court in Prague ruled on Wednesday that the activists who last year hoisted a giant pair of red underpants over Prague Castle in protest at the policies of President Miloš Zeman had not committed a criminal act. The three members of the Ztohoven guerrilla art group faced jail sentences of up to three years on charges of theft, disorderly conduct and damage to property. The court advanced the matter to the district authority of Prague 1, which is to decide if the act should be treated as a misdemeanour. The group replaced the presidential banner with a pair of underpants in a stunt in September last year. They later announced that they cut up the standard into 1152 pieces and gave it to people across the Czech Republic.
The government on Wednesday approved a hike in the salaries of teachers and other school staff, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka informed on his Twitter account. The teachers will get an eight-percent pay rise, while other school staff will have their wages raised by five percent. According to the newly approved regulation, young teachers can expect their first salary hike after two years of teaching instead of the current six years.
A court in Olomouc on Wednesday ruled that Bouzov castle in Moravia will remain in state ownership. The judge rejected the claim of a German Catholic Order against the Czech National Heritage Institute, which refused to hand the castle over within the church restitution process back in 2014. The court upheld the stand of the Heritage Institute which argued that the restitution law did not apply to that particular property. Bouzov Castle was confiscated under the post-war Benes Decrees, i.e. before the 1948-1989 communist period to which the church restitution law applies.
Several dozen people gathered outside the Chinese embassy in Prague on Wednesday to protest against the persecutions of Falun Gong practitioners in China. The demonstrators, accompanied by a brass band, are set to march from Wenceslas Square to Prague Castle. According to the organizers of the rally, over 3,600 Falun Gong practitioners have been tortured to death and around 100,000 followers have been detained by the Chinese authorities. Falun Gong is a Chinese spiritual practice that combines meditation and qigong exercises with a moral philosophy.