Tens of thousands of believers attended Easter mass celebrated in Catholic
and Protestant churches around the country. Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who is
due to retire next week as head of the Czech Catholic Church, celebrated
the main Easter mass at Prague’s St. Vitus Cathedral on Sunday. His
successor, the new Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka took leave of his
congregation in Hradec Králove where he has served as bishop of the
Králove Diocese since 1998. He was appointed the 36th Archbishop of
in February of this year.
Easter Monday is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, though unlike Sunday’s church celebrations, it is linked to pagan traditions celebrating the arrival of spring and the birth of new life.
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk is planning to undertake a several-month-long study stay in Israel after he hands over the post to the new archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka on April 10. A spokesman for the Prague Archbishopric said the outgoing cardinal wanted to give his successor space in forming his own policies, and he also wanted to devote time to travel and religious studies. The cardinal is retiring at his own request on the grounds of health and advanced age.
US and Russian security and logistics teams have arrived in Prague to prepare for an upcoming visit by US President Barack Obama and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. The two heads of state are due to sign a landmark nuclear disarmament treaty in the Czech capital on Thursday and hold a series of bilateral talks. The US president is moreover meeting with 11 Central and East European leaders who are all expected to arrive on Thursday. The high-profile event is accompanied by a massive security operation.
A new visa codex for all Schengen countries has come into effect as of April 5. The new codex introduces a standardized visa application form for all member states and is relevant for stays of over 90 days. In future applicants whose visa request is rejected will be entitled to an explanation and will be able to appeal the decision within a certain time frame.
There is reported to be growing tension between the inhabitants of Prague’s Libuše district and the Vietnamese minority which is centred around the SAPA market place known as Little Hanoi. The economic crisis has left many Vietnamese unemployed and hundreds of them reportedly hang out at the SAPA market place which the locals claim has turned into a ghetto. People living in the market’s immediate vicinity say that they have problems with Vietnamese drug addicts who shoot up in public. According to the CTK news agency the locals are considering setting up community patrols in the area.
Polish Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sikorski is to visit the Czech Republic in mid-April, according to Czech government sources. Talks with his Czech counterpart Jan Kohout are expected to focus on bilateral relations, security concerns and energy security. Czech-Polish ties are traditionally good and the two countries cooperate closely within the Višegrad group of states, a loose economic alliance of Central and East European countries.
A ten-year-old Czech girl, holidaying in the Austrian Alps, is in hospital after falling from a ski-lift. The girl was sharing a bench with her parents and brother when she slid off it and was left handing by one hand. Although her parents tried to haul her up she slipped and fell from a height of ten metres. The hospital in Tamsweg has refused to disclose information regarding her injuries. The ski centre in Fanningberg where the accident happened has ruled out a security lapse.
The first-ever tap-dance festival opened in the Moravian city of Brno on Monday. The week-long event organized by the step-dance studio No Feet includes a seminar with foreign instructors, an exhibition on the history of step-dancing and a gala show featuring the brothers Costel and Dorel Surbeck from Switzerland who are world champions in step-dancing.
Pastry chefs from Olomouc celebrated Easter by producing the biggest-ever sweet cake for the public. The cake, baked in the form of an Easter lamb, was close to two meters long and 68 centimeters high. It weighed an impressive 158 kilos. Although it took two days to make it was consumed within minutes – the chefs served it up to 1,600 visitors.
Czech Tomáš Berdych was defeated by American Andy Roddick in the final of the Miami Masters on Sunday. One break of serve in each set was enough for Roddick, who didn't face a break point in the entire match which he won 7-5, 6-4. His victory brought an end to the impressive run of the 16th-seeded Berdych, who had survived a match point to shock world number one Roger Federer in the fourth round. Berdych said he was disappointed not to have won, but overall he was satisfied with his tournament in which he’d played a couple of really good matches.
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