Authorities have confirmed that the Czech Republic will hold a day of national mourning in honour of the Polish President Lech Kaczynski and others killed in Saturday’s plane crash in Smolensk, Russia. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said that the president and government had agreed that it will be marked on the day of Mr Kaczynski’s funeral; a minute’s silence will be observed and flags on government buildings will be flown at half mast. The Polish president, his wife, and 94 others - part of a delegation en route to commemorate the victims of the Katyn massacre of 70 years ago – died when the presidential plane crashed on Saturday while trying to land. The Polish authorities have not yet revealed the date for Mr Kaczynski's funeral.
In related news, the Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka will hold a special
mass at Prague’s St Vitus Cathedral in memory of those who died in the
accident. The mass will take place next Friday at 10 am. President Václav
Klaus, Prime Minister Jan Fischer and the Polish ambassador to Prague Jan
Pastwa have said in advance they would attend, the spokesman for the
The Czech football league has confirmed it will also pay homage to the victims of Saturday’s crash in a minute of silence ahead of all 1st and 2nd division matches on Sunday and Monday.
On Saturday, after news of the tragedy broke, President Klaus ordered the Polish flag, with black mourning ribbons, to be flown alongside the Czech flag at Prague Castle.
The leaders of the two strongest political parties in the Czech Republic,
Jiří Paroubek and Petr Nečas, faced off in a popular TV debate
on Sunday, discussing how they would govern and with whom if they head the
next ruling coalition following the election. Social Democrat Jiří
Paroubek outlined conditions central for his party to take part in any
ruling coalition, namely the aim to strike down healthcare fees introduced
by the previous government, as well as to reintroduce progressive
Mr Nečas, who recently took over as his party’s election leader, outlined priorities for the right-of-centre Civic Democrats – the top of which include lowering the country’s debt, fighting against corruption, and focusing on NATO and the EU, he said. During the debate, both leaders traded barbs over whose party had negatively impacted the country.
This year’s Frantíšek Kriegl Award will go to children’s neurologist and politician in the northeast Bohemian town of Most, Alena Dernerová. The award, recognising outstanding civic courage, is given by the Charter 77 Foundation. The award bears the name of Charter 77 signatory Frantíšek Kriegel, who was the only Czechoslovak political leader who refused to sign Moscow's humiliating dictate after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August of 1968. Ms Dernerová is being recognised for her efforts in fighting corruption in the health sector, putting the spotlight, for example, on corruption in public tenders for hospital healthcare equipment. Alena Dernerová will receive the award in May.
One person was killed and 18 suffered light injuries on Sunday morning after a car collided head-on with an oncoming bus. The man killed was the driver of the personal vehicle. The accident took place near Louny. The 18 injured were students from different countries: Slovakia and Ukraine as well as the Czech Republic, on their way to a conference in Germany.Some of them were treated in hospital. Police are looking into the incident .
A 28-year-old man in the district of Břevnov in Prague on Sunday fell ten stories from an apartment balcony to his death. A police spokeswoman said that the man, who was in a state of inebriation, apparently tried to climb to a neighboring balcony but failed. He died instantly. According to the police, his was not the only fall to which the authorities were alerted at the weekend: on Saturday evening police were alerted to a 58-year-old man who had fallen onto the subway tracks at Národní třída station; he was lifted out just moments before the arrival of a metro train. According to the police, the man had been drinking.
Seven teams of fire fighters on Saturday had to intervene after 11 pm, Saturday, to put out a fire at a casino in Cheb involving three separate buildings. The damage has been estimated at around 20 million crowns and police suspect the fire was set intentionally; the buildings are part of a complex outside of the town. Fire fighters had to work throughout the night to get the fire under control and it had been mostly put out by morning. An investigation is underway.
Several hundred people in Harrachov in the Krkonoše Mountains, as
well as skiers in Liberec, hit the slopes at the weekend even though
conditions have well set in elsewhere. Harrachov still enjoys some 90
centimetres of snow on the slopes while other parts of the country have
seen mostly rain. The area saw both sun and periods of snowfall at the
weekend. Some sites, though, will begin to close on Monday.
In the Liberec area, skiers visited a hill known as Černá říčka, where the snow was described as good; organisers had officially closed already, but re-opened for the weekend because of the favourable conditions.
Former World No. 1 in men’s tennis Ivan Lendl played his first match in 15 years on Sunday, an exhibition tournament against former 1980s rival Mats Wilander. The two played just one set at Atlantic City in front of some 7,000 viewers. Lendl lost by a score of 6:3. The player, who gave up the men’s tennis circuit in 1994 due to continuing back problems, is 50 years of age. After the match, Lendl said he had enjoyed playing again, although he also called it frustrating. He said that although he knew exactly where he wanted the ball to go, his accuracy was off. Quipping with opponent Wilander, Lendl said that next time he would "do better".
Czech forward Patrik Eliáš scored twice in New Jersey’s lopsided win
on Saturday over the New York Islanders. The Devils routed the Islanders
a score of 7:1. The win put New Jersey at top spot in their division, as
closest competitors Pittsburgh lost against Atlanta. In the playoffs the
Devils are lined-up to face the Montreal Canadiens.
In other NHL action, Boston’s David Krejčí earned an assist on one of three shorthanded goals that the Bruins scored in a remarkable 64 seconds. The Bruins won the game against Carolina 4:2 and clinched a spot in the upcoming playoffs.
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Facemask requirement eased but new restrictions for area hit by spike in Covid-19 cases
Traditional tourist sites open to visitors after long break