Hundreds of thousands of Czech Christian celebrate Easter, the most important festival in the Christian calendar. According to the Biblical tradition, Easter Sunday marks the resurrection of the Savior Jesus Christ, who was crucified on Great Friday. The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, delivered his traditional Easter greeting and blessing, known as Urbi et Orbi, in Rome on Sunday in 65 languages; a message in the Czech came 15th. In the Czech Republic, where a majority of the population is not religious, people observe folklore traditions more than the religious ones; on Easter Monday, boys and men whip girls and women with elaborately braided willow sticks in exchange for Easter eggs, which was believed to ensure fertility and good health over the next year.
Brno City Hall officials would like to negotiate with far-right extremists
changes to their march through the city centre on May 1, the news agency
ČTK reported on Sunday. A City Hall official said they would like the
march to start at a different location rather than the originally planned
Koliště park which is not suitable for security reasons. However, Brno
City Hall does not want to push for the change of the route of the march
that will lead through Romany-populated areas in the city centre.
Several hundred far-right extremists are expected to take part in the march officially held in protest against immigrant workers. Brno authorities tried to ban the march but a court overturned the ban. Several NGOs are planning to stage their own counter-rallies in Brno on May 1 to prevent the extremists to march through Romany neighbourhoods.
Eleven people have died on Czech roads since the start of the Easter weekend, despite a police road-safety operation. Traffic police said they would conduct an increased number of checks over the Easter weekend, focusing on speeding and drink driving, the most common cause of accidents in the Czech Republic. Last year, 6 people died in road crashes on Easter, and 16 were killed the previous year.
Czech fans of Michael Jackson walked through Prague on Sunday to raise money for charity. On their way from Old Town to Wenceslas Square, several dozen fans of the late pop icon performed some of Michael Jackson’s original dance sets. In Old Town Square, members of the Czech Republic’s Heal the World project sold Easter-themed souvenirs; the proceeds will go to the children’s department at Prague’s Thomayerova hospital.
Czech meteorologists have warned against torrential rains that will his the country on Sunday night. In the north-eastern part of the Czech Republic, up to 30 mm of rain fall is expected later on Sunday and Monday. Moravia and Silesia, in the east of the country, weather forecasters also expect storms and hail.
The Czech Republic’s national hockey team is facing Sweden in on Sunday, as part of the Czech Hockey Games, a preparatory tournament for the upcoming world championships in Slovakia. Regardless of the game’s result, the Czech won the tournament after beating Finland 2:1 on Friday and Russia 6:3 on Saturday. Czech coach Alois Hadamczik said the team’s first line with Jaromír Jágr, Roman Červenka and Petr Průcha played well together; another star, Patrik Eliáš, has already joined the team but will probably leave out Sunday’s match against Sweden.
More ministers will be replaced in the centre-right Czech government, Prime Minister Petr Nečas told the daily Mladá fronta Dnes on Saturday. Mr Nečas said the shakeup could involve ministers from any coalition party, including TOP 09. Five cabinet members for the TOP 09 party survived this week’s government reshuffle that saw Public Affairs chair Radek John leave the Interior Ministry to be replaced by non-partisan Jan Kubice, while Vít Bárta, of Public Affairs, stepped down as transport minister and was replaced by Radek Šmerda. Mr Nečas specifically mentioned Health Minister Leoš Heger, of TOP 09, and said he was not happy with the advance of the health care reform. The planned shakeup might also involve Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra of the senior coalition Civic Democrats and Education Minister Josef Dobeš, of Public Affairs.
Hundreds of Czech Catholic pilgrims are planning to attend the beatification of John Paul II in Rome on May 1, the pilgrimage’s organizers from the Hradec Králové diocese said. Most of the pilgrims will travel on a special train dispatched by the Czech Railways for the occasion. The ceremony will also be attended by Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka, the archbishop of Olomouc, Jan Graubner, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, and other Czech Catholic dignitaries. Some 2.5 million pilgrims from around the world are expected to arrive in Rome for the beatification of John Paul II who died in 2005.
A spell of sunny weather broke several temperature records around the country on Saturday. A weather station in Příbram, central Bohemia, registered the temperature of 23.1 degrees Celsius, which topped the previous record from 1885. Meteorologists issued a warning against an increased risk of fires on Saturday for the whole of the Czech Republic. Fire fighters also asked for extreme caution when starting outdoor fires as record numbers of fires are registered each April; over the last fire years, fires caused damages worth nearly one billion crowns.
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