Daily news summary
Tributes paid to Václav Havel on fifth anniversary of his death
Commemorations have been held across the Czech Republic for former dissident and president Václav Havel. Havel died five years ago to the day at the age of 75. A commemorative mass was held at St. Vitus’ Cathedral by Prague archbishop Dominik Duka. Duka paid tribute to Havel saying that he did not seek power but did seek to restore freedom to the country. Havel took the lead of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 which toppled the Communist regime from power after more than four decades. A public reading of Havel’s works and plays was held in the centre of Prague. Candles were also lit in the centre of the capital and at the Prague cemetery where his ashes rest. An illuminated heart was lit at a small square near the national theatre in Prague which now bears Havel’s name.
One person killed after 17 car pile- up on main D1 motorway
One person died after a crash involving 17 vehicles on the main Prague-Brno D1 motorway at Mirošovice, around 25 kilometers from Prague. Other people have been seriously injured. Part of the D1 has been closed. Severe ice formed overnight with police in the central Bohemia region calling for drivers not to use roads unless absolutely necessary.
Former Ustí governor implicated in fraud scandal remains in Social Democrat party
The former regional governor, or hejtman, of the Ustí region, Jana Vaňhová, remains a member of the leader government party, the Social Democrats, in spite of the prime minister’s call for all those implicated in a major fraud case involving European funds to resign. Vaňhová failed to turn at a regional meeting of party members and neither resigned or suspended her membership, party leaders told Czech Television. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka had called on those implicated in the fraud of European funds in northwest Bohemia to resign. Altogether police have questioned 24 suspects in the fraud case, many of them in the regional Social Democratic leadership. Vaňhová’s former regional deputy, Arno Fišer, resigned from the party on Thursday.
No white Christmas predicted for most of Czech Republic
It’s unlikely to be a white Christmas across most of the Czech Republic according to forecasters. They expect daytime temperatures to hover just above zero but freezing during the night. Temperatures are expected to get colder at the start of January which is expected to be the coldest period during the next four weeks according to the national weather centre. Many ski resorts currently complain they lack sufficient snow.
Gabriela Koukalová wins mass start event at Nové Město na Moravě
Biathlete Gabriela Koukalová won the mass start competition at the world cup competition at Nové Město na Moravě on Sunday. With just one mistake on the shooting range, Koukalová beat Germany’s Laura Dahlmeir into second place. She was the sole Czech medal winner at the top Czech biathlon meeting. It is Koukalová’s second first of the world cup season so far.
Ester Ledecká wins world cup parallel slalom competition at Cortina
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecká has won the parallel slalom snowboard world cup event at Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo. In the final head to head, Austria’s Daniela Ulbing veered off the course half way down as she tried to catch up the 21 year old Czech. The snowboard season started Thursday in Carezza with Ledecká second in the giant slalom event.
Czechs win against Sweden in Channel One Cup
In ice hockey, the Czech team ended their run of defeats in the Channel One Cup competition with a 4:1 win against Sweden. The Czechs took the lead before the Swedes drew level in the first period and went ahead again in the 35th minute with the remaining goals late in the game. The Czechs had previously lost to Russia and Finland. Goal tender Pavel Francouz was given much of the credit for keeping out the Swedish attack. In spite of the win, the Czechs still end the tournament in bottom place.
The weather Monday will be overcast with top daytime temperatures ranging between one and three degrees Celsius.