Around 1,000 visitors including Senate chairman Přemysl Sobotka, met at the National Cemetery at Terezín in northern Bohemia on Sunday for a commemoration service honouring those who died in the Holocaust. In the years 1941 to 1945 the Nazis forced 155,000 Jews from all over Europe into the Terezín ghetto. Of that number, 117,000 did not live to see the end of the war - the majority sent to Nazi extermination camps such as Auschwitz. Sunday’s ceremony came roughly a month after the cemetery was hit by theft: more than 800 bronze plaques were stolen in April, apparently for scrap metal. Damages have been estimated at 2.5 million crowns. Police apprehended a 29-year-old suspect in the case and are looking into whether there were other accomplices. The act of theft has led to a wave of solidarity from donors, including schools, hoping to raise money for the site.
Vojtěch Filip will retain the post of leader of the Communist Party for the next four years: he was re-elected by a majority of delegates at the party’s congress on Saturday. Mr Filip received 176 out of 275 votes. He was rivalled by three challengers: Stanislav Grospič who received 70 votes, MEP Miloslav Ransdorf who tallied 22, and Soňa Marková who received five.Following the results, Mr Ransdorf withdrew his candidacy for the post of deputy chairman. Earlier in the day he had criticised the leadership of the party, comparing it to the former East German automobile, the Trabant, saying “it served but didn’t impress.” Vojtěch Filip, meanwhile, is considered an experienced and pragmatic politician. He was first elected chairman of his party in October 2005, replacing Miroslav Grebeníček.
In related news, Vojtěch Filip admitted in a debate programme on Sunday that it was apparent the Communists would not be cooperating with the Social Democrats on the government level in the near future. In the past the Social Democrats pledged not to bring the Communists into any government, a pledge which remains in effect. In a text message, Social Democrat deputy leader Milan Urban confirmed cooperation was out of the question. Ties between the Communists and the Social Democrats cooled in the wake of this year’s presidential election. Most recently, Social Democrat leader Jiří Paroubek turned down an invitation to speak at the Communists’ congress on the grounds he disagreed with the party’s positive stance towards the February 1948 putsch in Czechoslovakia.
A 41-year-old tightrope artist from the famous Berousek family circus, died on Saturday from injuries suffered in an eight-metre fall. Manuel Berousek lost his balance during a performance in Nový Jičín, suffering heavy injuries and losing consciousness. He died later in hospital. A seven-year-old girl was struck in the accident and also had to be rushed to hospital. She remains in intensive care.
A still-life by French painter Georges Braque called The Green Basin (1942) was sold in auction in Prague on Sunday for 11.5 million crowns (the equivalent of around 716,000 US dollars). The price is the 5th highest ever paid for a work of art in a Czech auction house. The record belongs to Elevation, a work by Czech painter Frantíšek Kupka, which sold for 22.1 million crowns in October.
Hundreds of fans of horror and so-called zombie flicks took part in Prague’s first-ever “Zombiewalk” on Saturday. Those taking part put on make-up and costumes for a short parade from the Old Town to Prague’s Wenceslas Square. The event drew on similar parades in other parts of Europe as well as North America. The largest such event took place last year at the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, where director George A. Romero shot one of the most famous zombie pictures, Dawn of the Dead.
Football’s Slavia Prague drew in their last season game on Saturday to be crowned league champions. The team tied 2:2 against Jablonec. Slavia had not won the title since 1996. Defending champions Sparta Prague, meanwhile, finished in second place, three points behind. On Saturday the team lost 4:3 to Slovan Liberec.
English Premiership side Portsmouth have defeated Cardiff City 1:0 to win this year’s FA Cup. The game took place at London’s Wembley Stadium. Czech striker Milan Baroš – on loan from Lyon – took to the field for Portmouth in the game’s final minutes. Baroš has now played in 16 matches for the side. Along with winning the FA Cup, Baroš was also part of the Liverpool squad which won the Champions League in 2005.
The Dallas Stars have won back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings to get back into their semi-final series in hockey’s Stanley Cup playoffs. On Saturday Dallas won 2-1 in Detroit. Red Wings’ centre Jiří Hudler scored Detroit’s lone goal. The Red Wings retain a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series; Game 6 will now take place in Dallas.
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