Easter masses are being celebrated across the Czech Republic on Resurrection Sunday. The morning mass at St. Vitus Cathedral was led by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who told the congregation the Resurrection was a time of hope and forgiveness. It is the last Easter mass celebrated by Cardinal Vlk who will be retiring later this month and will hand over the office to the new Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka. Easter Monday is a public holiday in the Czech Republic, though that is generally reserved for pagan traditions and rituals linked to spring, the birth of new life and fertility.
Police in Opava are investigating what appears to be an unsuccessful arson
attack against the local Romany community. Two bottles containing
unspecified liquid were thrown into an open doorway to a block of flats
inhabited by Roma families. The bottles failed to catch fire, causing no
damage. Their content is being analyzed. The police are investigating the
incident as a threat to public safety.
There have been a number of arson attacks on Romany families in different parts of the country. In March of this year a bottle of flammable liquid was hurled into the house of a Romany family in Ostrava. The teenager in whose bedroom it landed managed to put out the fire, preventing any serious damage. The most vicious attack took place in Vítkov last year in which right wing-extremists threw two Molotov cocktails into the house of a family of eight. No one died in the fire but a two-year old girl sustained severe injuries and will be scarred for life. The house was completely destroyed. The perpetrators will stand trial in May charged with racially-motivated attempted murder.
There is continuing controversy over the appointment of Jiří Pernes head of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. Four board members have walked out in protest since he took up the post earlier this week. The former dissident and writer Jiří Gruša, military historian Eduard Stehlík, the vice-dean of the law faculty of Charles University Jan Kuklik and former dissident and Charter 77 signatory Jiří Gruntorád have all refused to recognize and work with the new head. Jiří Pernes lost their support after it emerged that he had taken evening classes at the communist academy of Marxism and Leninism. Mr. Pernes has not commented on the developments.
The Czech Bible Society is working on the publication of an outdoor bible for canoeists and hikers which should be out in the summer. The outdoor bible is tear and water resistant, after the American outdoor bible model. It will not be the only sturdy bible on the Czech market. A bible bound in denim for the young generation is already available as are special editions of the bible for the army and prisoners. The army version is pocket-size, while the one for prisoners contains a appendix with practical advice on how to start a new life after being released from jail.
Two visitors to Průhonice chateau were injured on Sunday when they fell from an observation platform in the park. A thirty-one-year-old woman reportedly suffered concussion and a sprained wrist and her partner suffered back injuries in the fall. Both were taken to hospital for a check-up. It is not yet clear what caused the accident.
A two-year-old girl remains in serious condition after nearly drowning in a garden pool on Saturday. Doctors say she is over the worst but remains in intensive care. The child had wondered away from her parents, who were with her in the garden when the accident happened. The pool had been left unprotected and police are investigating the case on suspicion of negligence.
Animal rights activists are using Easter to draw attention to what they describe as atrocious conditions in intensive poultry farms. They have appealed to the public to either boycott eggs this Easter or buy them from organic farmers. The vast majority of eggs sold on the Czech market come from intensive poultry farms where laying hens are held in small cages in which they are unable to spread their wings or walk. Of the estimated five million birds currently in breeding only 0,1 percent are bred in natural conditions.
Many Czechs are saving on holidays in view of the economic crisis. Travel agencies say that exotic far-away destinations are giving way to cheaper holiday locations that can be reached by car, such as sea-side resorts in Croatia, Bulgaria and Italy. People are also booking into cheaper hotels and shortening their holiday time to a week instead of the usual fortnight. While in 2008 travel agencies sold 2.3 million package holidays for 15 billion crowns, last year it was only 1.9 million holidays for 12 billion.
A 17-year-old intoxicated driver without a license caused an accident in which five people were injured over the weekend, a police spokeswoman said on Sunday. The youth was speeding and lost control of the car, which swerved into the opposite lane crashing into an oncoming Škoda. The traffic police are out in force for the three day Easter weekend. In addition to more people drinking and driving during the Easter holidays, police say there is also a danger of slippery roads since nighttime lows are expected to drop to freezing point.
Czech Tomáš Berdych will face sixth-seed Andy Roddick in the final of the Miami Masters on Sunday. Berdych booked a place in the final when he beat fifth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling 6-2, 6-2 on Friday. Berdych, the 16th seed who upset world number one Roger Federer in the fourth round, needed just 68 minutes to dispatch Soderling and book a showdown with American Andy Roddick in Sunday's final.