Karolina Pliskova Loses Her Cool At The Italian Open

Pliskova needs to keep her temper in Czech..

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Karolina Pliskova, the Czech former world No. 1 and the No. 6 seed at the Italian Open, lost her temper yesterday after a poor refereeing decision sent her out of the Italian Open.

Under the grey skies of an expected storm, Pliskova caused a storm on the court after a bad decision by the umpire sent her out of the competition. The score was tied at 5-5 in the deciding set in her second-round match against Greece’s Maria Sakkari, when the umpire called out on a shot.

Replays show the ball was quite clearly in by at least an inch, but with clay matches not using Hawkeye for confirmation, the umpire uses their own judgement and markings in the clay.

The linesperson called out, but couldn’t exactly point out a ball mark in the clay; the umpire couldn’t see a mark either, but decided not to overrule the call; a supervisor was called, but could do nothing to fix the situation and Pliskova was extremely upset about the call. On replay, you can clearly see Pliskova’s ball landing inside the court.

Pliskova, clearly agitated with the incident, went on to lose the game and would not forget it. Sakkari carried on with the match to win 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, taking the biggest scalp of her career before and the two players shook hands at the net. Then, after faking a handshake with the umpire, Pliskova let her know what she really thought about her decision. Sakkari, looking a tad frightened, took a step back.

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Pliskova can expect a hefty fine for the outburst and bringing the Women’s Tennis Association into disrepute.

Karolina Pliskova’s twin sister, Krystina, also a tennis player in the world’s top 100, tweeted her frustration at the poor decision.

As for the idea of an umpire “blacklist” raised by Kristyna Pliskova, we have seen this sort of thing before, notably when Rafael Nadal admitted in 2015 that he had asked for the respected chair umpire Carlos Bernardes to be kept away from his matches.

Supervisors do sometimes take previous bad blood into account when they allocate officials, but it is not a good look for the sport.

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Ice Hockey World Championships: Czech Republic Vs USA Preview

It may not be the most important competition for US fans, but the Czech Republic will go insane if they get beat the USA this Thursday.

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It’s been 6 long years since the Czech Republic last took home a medal from the Hockey World Championships but a subtle sense of optimism has been slowly developing among Czech hockey fans of late. In 2012, the Czechs lost to Slovakia in the semis before beating Finland in the bronze medal match. This time around, the Czechs are quietly hoping for even more.

Standing in their way are team USA, who despite getting turned over by Finland in their last match are always a huge threat and one of the tournament favourites.

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The Czechs started off a little inconsistently, losing to the old nemesis, Sweden before narrowly beating Switzerland. The last few matches have seen a big turnaround with David Pastrňák and David Krejčí being introduced to the team after the Boston Bruins exited the Stanley Cup.

The Main Men:

Team USA: Patrick Kane

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Patrick Kane isn’t usually a regular at the annual IIHF World Championships because he’s often on a lengthy playoff run with the Chicago Blackhawks.

This year, however, the Blackhawks failed to qualify for the Stanley Cup, so Kane decided to support his country and the fans are sure glad he did, as on Tuesday he broke the record for most points recorded by an American in a single tournament. Kane scored a goal and added an assist in his team’s group finale against Finland, bringing his tournament totals to six goals and 11 assists. The previous record was 16 points set by Richard Roberge way back in 1962.

“It’s not a good feeling losing,” Kane said following the loss to Finland. “It could be good for us to make sure we won’t deal with this again and stay positive. We’re a good team, we’ve had a good tournament to this point. [The Czechs] have some talents, it will be a tough game against them.”

Team CZ: David Pastrnak

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Bruins forward David Pastrnak had only just joined the Czech team last Thursday morning after being knocked out of the NHL playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning, but immediately made his presence felt in a 4-3 overtime victory against Russia. Pastrnak scored two goals, including the winner with 1:37 left in OT, and added one assist while Bruins teammate David Krejci finished with a goal and three assists.

Pastrnak is young and relatively experienced, but he’s also a great skater, skilled with the puck and a really strong player. The Bruins rate him highly and Team CZ will be hoping that he can put one over his NHL rivals in the American team.

The Quarters:

The Czechs enter the IHFF quarters in third position, meaning they’ll face the USA who came second in theirs after that 6-2 loss to Finland.

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Russia face Canada in what promises to be a pretty memorable match, whilst one of the favourites, Finland, face Switzerland and the Swedes line up against unfancied Latvia.

Prediction:

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The game starts at 16:15 CET on Thursday 17th May

As a Czech resident and a fan of Czech hockey and the underdog, I’m going for a Czech win in OT. 2-2 in normal time, Pastrnak with an OT winner to send Team CZ onto a semifinal against Sweden.

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Easter Holiday Store Opening Hours

If you need to take a break from whipping women this Easter and find an open store, here’s a guide to the shops that are open.

I always get seem to get confused on public holidays. Some people tell me the stores are closed so I don’t bother going, then drive past and see them open. Other times I head out and they’re all closed. So here’s the definitive list of opening and closing times for Czech stores this Easter.

The Law:

Stores with an area of ​​over 200 m² must be closed on Easter Monday. They are, however, allowed to open at the owner’s discretion on Good Friday. This law came into effect in July 2016 and forces larger stores to close on 6 public holidays throughout the year.

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The following dates are holidays when the stores with the area above 200 m² must be closed:

January 1st – New Years Day

Easter Monday

May 8th – Victory Day

September 28th – The Day of Czech Statehood

October 28th – The Day of the Establishment of the Independent Czechoslovak State

December 24th – Open only until 12 o’clock

December 25th – Christmas Day

December 26th – Boxing Day

Stores can be open on the following public holidays:

Good Friday

July 5th – St. Cyril and Methodius’ Day

July 6th – The Day of the Burning of Master Jan Hus

November 17th – Day of the Fight for Freedom and Democracy

December 24th – Open only until 12 o’clock

Opening times for Easter shopping 2018

Billa

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Billa stores will be business as usual on Friday 30th March, but closed on Mondat 2nd. There is an exception to the rule on Easter Monday, as the Billa at the main railway station and the airport will be open.

Lidl

On Good Friday and during the weekend, Lidl will be business as usual, but all stores will be closed on the Monday.

PennyMarket

On Good Friday and during the weekend, PennyMarket will be business as usual, but all stores will be closed on the Monday.

Tesco

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Tesco Hypermarkets with non-stop opening hours or until 24:00 will close at 23:00 on Sunday. Other stores run until Sunday with standard opening hours. Closed on Monday although the petrol stations outside Letňan and Brno Vídeňská remain open.

Others

All other stores should follow the law as above. The larger stores will be closed on Monday, whilst smaller stores may operate at the owners discretion, often with reduced opening times.

Not all politicians are happy about the law and some are calling for it to be overturned. Trade and Tourism Association were especially against the ruling and previously estimated a loss for traders of about CZK 4 billion. A group of senators have filed a constitutional complaint against the law, although no progress has yet been reported.

Some shopping centers have decided that they do not want to open for a few hours, so they will close completely. The law paradoxically will affect some of the smaller traders in some places, which by its nature it should protect.

And if you were wondering about the whipping women bit…

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Keep An Eye On The Sky This Weekend In Prague

Providing the weather in Prague holds out this weekend, keep an eye out as the skies above should be filled with more than 30 hot air balloons.

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The first Balloon of Prague event is organized by the Czech Balloon Union and its aim is to highlight the achievements of Czech balloon flying so far. They also aim to raise money for the handicapped children’s center whilst giving pilots and balloon crews a unique experience in flying over the historic European city.

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The organizers have so far registered 32 crews to start. They should fly either this or the following weekend if the weather turns sour. The exact place and start time will be announced on Friday, depending on the weather.

How does it work?

Hot air balloons work because hot air rises. By heating the air inside the balloon with the burner, it becomes lighter than the cooler air on the outside. This causes the balloon to float upwards, as if it were in water. Obviously, if the air is allowed to cools, the balloon begins to slowly come down.

“We need winds of certain speed and strength to make such a flight.” – Jan Suchý , vice president of the Czech Balloon Union.

The funds raised by the crews and their sponsors will be dedicated to the Children’s Center Paprsek, which operates several complex care facilities for children and young people with mental and combined disabilities and their families in Prague.

The Facebook event can be found here

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The Czech Beauty Wars Intensify

When asking a foreigner why they moved to the Czech Republic, one of the most common answers you will hear is because of a girl.

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(Center – Michaela Habanova – Czech Miss 2017)

It isn’t much of a coincidence that men from across the world meet Czech girls and promptly decide to uproot and follow them home, as one expat once eloquently remarked ‘even the ugly girls are attractive’. Czech and Slovak girls are often extremely beautiful, so you would imagine that the Miss Czech Republic beauty pageant is a joyous event to behold.

This year, however, 3 separate beauty pageants by different organizers are being held and the competition to become the most recognized of the 3 is heating up. Legal action and political wrangling between the organizers has added spice to the events this year, known as The Czech Miss, Miss Czech Republic and Czech Republic Miss.

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The latest competitor on the scene, Miss Czech Republic, has held similar pageants before but never claiming to be representative of the most beautiful girl in the country. They are pushing, however, to become the biggest competition and promise a revitalized format and atmosphere.

“Within three years, we would like to become the main Czech beauty contest. Women and their charm are a phenomenon that’s been out of the question, and we want to give it our tribute to our competitions. We would like to clearly define ourselves in relation to competitive misses in the Czech Republic which, in our opinion, have been the wrong way. We will treat the Miss Czech Republic in all seriousness it deserves.” The Czech Miss Director Robert Novotný.

Tatyana Makarenko, a former model and contestant herself, has caused controversy by changing the name of her competition from Miss Face to Miss Czech Republic and legal battles have ensued.

“Tatyana Makarenko has begun to use the name Miss Czech Republic since January of this year for Miss Face. Our lawyers are intensively addressing this situation and have already taken appropriate legal action. They are also preparing claims for damages, because Mrs. Makarenko’s actions include, among other things, breaches of unfair competition law, knowingly and deliberately attempting to deceive the public and business partners with this mark.” The Czech Miss

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Czech Miss – 2017 Contestants

Czech beauty pageants aren’t new to scandal and mystery though..

Miss Czech Republic 2001, Diana Kobzano, had to return the crown due to erotic photos surfacing that had been taken years before for a men’s adult magazine.

Czech Entrepreneur, Jan Motovsky, bought the Miss Czech Republic competition in 2008 but the ownership was thrown into chaos after he went missing on a business trip to France. He was never seen again.

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Nikol Švantnerová – Czech Miss 2016

Are beauty pageants still relevant?

In an age of equality, social justice warriors and political correctness, are beauty competitions still relevant to modern society? They can be if done correctly.

One American contestant said:

Yes. Beauty pageants are still relevant in today’s society because it allows me to showcase my potential and my personality. It is a platform for me to spread awareness about the recent happenings. Also, it could be the best venue to enhance and develop my self-confidence, communication skills and leadership skills. Again, beauty pageants really do have relevance in today’s society.

Whilst this may be true, they are still mainly based on beauty and the judge’s definitions of what makes someone beautiful, which is by its very definition, subjective. So I guess the answer is that you should make up your own mind whether to watch or not.

But if we think about it, isn’t Instagram just a giant beauty pageant?

 

Stop the immigrants and Drahoš – Zeman Ads Give Cause For Concern

The Friends of Miloš Zeman Association have decided that the best form of advertising is attacking immigrants and his opponent, Jiri Drahoš.

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The Czech Republic is not immune from the lies and false truths that signify politics in the 21st century. Zeman has been hit by recent rumors on social media, stating that he was in the secret Communist police force, he has pedophilic tendencies and is weeks from death from his various illnesses. Whilst he doesn’t look too healthy on public appearances, and is usually drunk, none of those rumors have any evidence or proof.

To fight back at these rumors, The Friends of Miloš Zeman Friends Association have run an advert that is eloquently titled: Stop the immigrants and Drahoš. The ad claims that Drahoš will accept the EU migrant quotas and that waves of homeless, jobless immigrants will come to the Czech Republic.

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Drahos responded to the ad:

“I was expecting this type of lies and disinformation. It’s a common slander. I agree with controlled immigration. None of us want uncontrollable waves of immigrants here in the Czech Republic.”

This would not be the first time a slanderous advert from Zeman and his cronies has appeared in the press. In the last election 5 years ago, the main opponent of Zeman, Karel Schwarzenberg, was accused of trying to return land and property to the decedents of Nazi war criminals. His family were also implicated in this baseless rumor which ran in the newspapers and accused them of being Nazi sympathizers.

Opinion:

Usually, I try to be fairly impartial in my description of Czech politics, and I always try to look at the decisions and views of politicians objectively. But, when you see something like this, especially as a foreigner who has lived and worked and contributed to the Czech economy and culture, it’s pretty tough to remain neutral.

The halfwits who wrote this ad must be extremely proud of themselves. When coming up with this charming slogan, I imagine a room full of old men drinking beer and smoking at 9AM talking about what they hate; immigrants and Jiri Drahoš. One looks up; ‘I have it! Stop immigrants and Drahoš’ and they all cheer and get drunk.

Czech politics needs a change.

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In all seriousness, I do feel that Czech politics needs to change. You might look at me as a British person living in Prague and wonder what it has to do with me; if the morons in the British government get their way, I might be shipped back to London after Brexit anyway. But looking at this from an outside perspective, I see some rather untrustworthy characters gaining influence in a country that, in truth, hasn’t been democratic for all that long. Babis, Okamura, Zeman and Co are among a group of corrupt group of populist individuals, preying on the fears of the population and using their influence only to increase their own power and ego, and lining their pockets whilst they’re at it.

Just to remember, this is the guy that represents the Czech Republic to the rest of the world…

Don’t ask me how to change it, but something needs to change..

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Czech The Records: Vaclav Havel Was Technically President of 4 Different Nations

Vaclav Havel was a Czech writer and dissident whose eloquent dissections of Communist oppression helped to destroy it in revolutions that reverberated across Europe and culminated with the bringing down of the Berlin Wall and the end of the USSR.

But did you know that he was (technically) the president of 4 different countries?

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He was elected as post-Communist Czechoslovakia’s first leader, a position he believed was more a duty to the state than any personal aspiration. When the country split in January 1993, he became president of the Czech Republic. Signified by a genuine friendship with Bill Clinton, Havel linked the country firmly to the West, clearing the way for the Czech Republic to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1999 and the European Union five years later.

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He was described as a shy yet resilient man, unfailingly polite but dogged man who articulated the power of the powerless, Mr. Havel spent half a decade in communist prisons, lived for two decades under close secret-police surveillance and endured the suppression of his plays and publications. He served for 14 years as president, created 19 plays, inspired a movie and a hip hop song, and remained one of his generation’s most seductively nonconformist writers.

Vaclav Havel passed away on the 18th December 2011 at his home. He had been battling respiratory problems for some time.

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Havel was not the longest serving President, but he was in charge of the most different nations.

The Czech Republic has had its fair share of charismatic leaders, both good and bad, and some stayed in politics for many years. Havel had his peacetime critics, as any politician, but nobody can doubt the service he did in rejecting and helping to oust the Communist oppressors. Whilst Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk was the longest serving Czech leader, with Seventeen years and one month in office, Václav Havel holds the record as the leader who was in charge of the most different states; albeit without leaving his seat in Prague Castle. He was elected president of both Czechoslovakia and after the split, the Czech Republic. The country was originally called the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, before a small movement in the spring of 1990 called for it to be renamed the Czechoslovak Federative Republic. The country then became what we call today, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. I don’t think he would have liked Czechia very much.

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Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (Left)

Vaclav Klaus spent the longest time in an elected capacity, first taking the role of Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister, President of the House and President. He spent a total of 23 years, 2 months and 25 days in politics, even though 64,000 people did once sign a petition to have him tried for treason.

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