The Mladá Boleslav-based carmaker Škoda Auto, part of the Volkswagen Group, announced on Monday that 1.2 million of its diesel cars are affected by diesel-engine manipulation. Volkswagen was hit by the scandal involving illegal software installed in cars which manipulated emission results. A total of around 11 million of Volkswagen Group vehicles are reportedly affected. A downswing in the Volkswagen Group's fortunes could negatively impact Czech sub-contractors.
More than one hundred protestors took part in a demonstration on Prague's Wenceslas Square on Monday organised by the No to Bases Initiative, slamming Czech membership in NATO. Attendees called for the Czech Republic's immediate withdrawal, with some, like Communist MP Marta Semelová, calling NATO a "criminal organization". One activist, Jan Korál, said he would always oppose what he described as the "dictatorship of Messrs. Havel, Vondra, and Klaus" who he described as "sellouts".
Countless stargazers in the Czech Republic stayed up to view the supermoon lunar eclipse between 3 and 4 AM early on Monday, an event viewable once every 20 years or so. The next will be in 2033. The supermoon appears some 14 percent larger; combined with a full lunar eclipse, the moon takes on an orange or red hue, also called a "blood moon". The spokesman for the Czech Astronomical Institute, Pavel Suchan, confirmed that interest in the event had been high and that dozens of visitors viewed the eclipse from the Ondřejov observatory in central Bohemia.
A bus from Poland crashed in the early hours of Monday in the area of Vyškov near Olomouc, leaving ten people, including a child, injured. The crash took place on the R46. One person was transferred to hospital by helicopter for the treatment, the rest were taken by ambulance. An official said the injuries were light and none were life-threatening. Earlier this month, six Polish nationals lost their lives in a single traffic accident also in the Vyškov area.
Thirteen fire fighting units responded on Sunday to a haystack blaze in the Beroun area which threatened a nearby cowshed, the Czech News Agency reported. The fire of hay stacked 50 x 10 metres, was reported shortly after 7 PM; firefighters were able to get the blaze under control by midnight. The fire caused about half a million crowns in damage - which could have been much higher - up to 8.2 million crowns. A spokesman said that the fire could have been set on purpose or was the result of spontaneous combustion.
Almost 5,000 people attended the unveiling of a statue on Sunday in Křižanov near Ždár nad Sazavou celebrating the life of Czech Catholic Saint Zdislava, who was born in the village around the year 1220. At the the age of 17, Zdislava married Havel of Markvartice, the founder of Lemberk. She is the patron saint of families and was known for helping the sick and the poor. She was canonized a saint in 2005 during a visit to Olomouc by Pope John Paul II.
Monday is the Day of Czech Statehood, a national holiday that is held annually on St. Wenceslas Day. It was on September 28, 935 that St. Wenceslas, the Duke of Bohemia and today patron of the Czech state, was murdered by his brother Boleslav the Cruel. Like last year, the holiday is accompanied by an exhibition for children entitled My State explaining symbols of the Czech nation; this year it opened several days ahead of the anniversary outside Liechtenstein Palace at Prague's Kampa.
In football, Slavia won the traditional city derby against Sparta Prague 1:0. The sole goal of the encounter was scored by Jaromír Zmrhal in the 45th minute. It is the first time since the end of 2012 that Slavia have won a league game against Sparta. The previous five matches had all been defeats. Slavia’s win ends Sparta’s unbeaten record in the top Synot league so far this season.
Former Constitutional Court judge and current member of the Czech upper house, the Senate, Eliška Wagnerová, warned on Sunday that the Czech Republic could face proceedings in the European Court of Justice for keeping the children of refugees in detention centres. Minister of Interior Milan Chovanc, however, has insisted that the country is respecting all EU rules. It would be much worse to split families than keep them together in detention centres, he added. Chovanc said that half of the 3,000 immigrants who have been detained since June on Czech soil have been returned to Austria. At the current rate, the Czech Republic should be able to deal with the immigrant crisis without more detention centres, he added.
Czech Minister for Industry and Trade Jan Mládek warned Sunday that a drop in Volkswagen exports could have an impact on Czech sub-contractors to the German manufacturer. Volkswagen exports, especially to the US, could be impacted by the scandal over manipulated emissions measurements for diesel cars which erupted last week. Also speaking on Czech Television’s flagship current affairs programme, TOP 09 MEP Luděk Nidermeyer said that the manipulated measures were an open secret. Czech car manufacturer Škoda Auto is part of the Volkswagen group.
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