Anti-communist resistance fighter Ctirad Mašín, who died on Saturday at the age of 81, will be buried in the United States, his brother Josef has said. The time and place of the funeral have not been announced, though he is expected to receive military honours as a veteran of the US Army Special Forces of five years. The controversial brothers are famous for their resistance activities and escape from Czechoslovakia in the early 1950s, which left a number of people dead, mostly members of the communist secret police. Prime Minister Petr Nečas offered great praise for Ctirad Mašín on Saturday, calling his resistance to the communist dictatorship heroic. Czech society has long been divided on the merit of the brothers’ actions, with some saying they should be decorated for their deeds, while others consider them murderers. The Czech Senate has repeatedly recommended distinctions for the Mašín’s, though left-wing parties have invariably rejected them.
Estimates suggest the Czech economy grew by 2.4% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2011, 0.3% higher than the previous quarter on average. Exports were again the driving force, with construction and private services also expected to short-term growth in GDP. Agriculture however is expected to stagnate while public services may see a decline, some analysts suggest. The economy grew by 2.8% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2011; growth for the year in total is estimate to end up at 2.2% on average.
According to analysts contacted by the Czech Press Agency, net profits of Czech energy colossus ČEZ stumbled by 11% year-on-year in the first half of 2011 to roughly 25.5 billion crowns. Economists put the drop down to lower prices of electricity sold and unfavourable trends in the crown to euro rate. Profits were also brought down by new taxes on emissions vouchers and the solar energy plant tax. ČEZ will publish its results for the first half of the year on Tuesday before stock markets open.
Prague City Hall wants significant changes to the municipal development plan over the coming years, the Czech Press Agency reports. According to the agency, the changes would include a transformation of industrial zones in Vysočany and Ruzně into residential areas and potentially redevelop the area of Strahov Stadium. The current city administration says the new development plan will not be ready until at least 2014, a considerable postponement from the plans of the previous administration. The city is already discussing three packages for major city-wide changes, including the reconstruction of three train stations as well as metro and transport structures.
A Week of Jewish Culture has kicked off in the town of Holešov in Moravia. This year’s festival is devoted to Jewish life from birth to death and features films, lectures and exhibits. There will also be a mock Jewish wedding, concerts and lessons in Jewish dances all running until August 20. Holešov was once one of the largest Jewish communities in Moravia, with a population of 1,700 Jews in the 19th century.
The international Austerlitz Grand Prix wine exhibition ended on Saturday with awards for a Riesling by Brno vintner Oldřich Drápal. A variety of Cahors from Moldavia won the liqueur category of the exhibition. The Austerlitz Grand Prix recalls the 1805 Battle of the Three Emperors, in which Napoleon defeated the Russian and Austrian Empires. Only wines from countries involved in the battle or their allies may compete in the contest. 140 wines were chosen for the final selection, 80 of which were Moravian or Bohemian.
A Czech tourist reportedly died in France at the weekend in a glider accident, according to the French media. The plane crashed in the mountains of the south-eastern Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, and was apparently piloted by a 45-year-old Czech man. A witness said that the plane was changing course, trying to regain altitude when it nosedived into the ground.
Anti-communist resistance fighter Ctirad Mašín has died at the age of 81. The older of the two Mašín brothers succumbed to a prolonged illness in the company of family members in Cleveland in the United States. The brothers are known for their armed resistance to the Communist regime during the early 1950s and their killing of several officers of the secret police, one of whom was unarmed, during their escape from the country. Mašín then served in the American army for five years before becoming a private businessman. The brothers remain subjects of controversy today, with some saying they should be decorated for their deeds, while others consider them murderers.
Prime Minister Petr Nečas highly praised Ctirad Mašín on Saturday, in response to news of his death. The Prime Minister said Mašín was a courageous man who he greatly respected, and called his resistance to the totalitarian dictatorship heroic. His legacy, he said, should be remembered. Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra also addressed the news, saying Mašín deserved the respect due a hero, and that he thought it sad that he did not live to achieve full personal distinction. The Czech Senate has repeatedly recommended such a distinction, though left-wing parties have invariably rejected them.
The first Prague Pride march in support of sexual minorities set off across the city centre on Saturday, the main event of the five-day Tolerance Festival. Roughly 5,000 rainbow-clad marchers met at Náměstí Republiky at 1 p.m. and set out for Střelecký Ostrov, where a music festival will be held. Thousands of bystanders also stopped to watch the parade. The prcession was met by a small group of some 40 right-wing extremists at Jungmannově náměstí, some of whom hurled plastic bottles and insults; no other conflicts occurred. A counter-event organised by young Christian Democrats saw about 200 and ended before the gay pride march began.
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