Czechs are marking the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII with commemorative ceremonies, exhibitions and cultural events. In Prague President Vaclav Klaus, political leaders and war veterans gathered at a memorial on Vítkov Hill to pay tribute to those who laid down their lives in the fight for freedom. Commemorative gatherings also took place at Prague’s Olšany cemetary, where the remains of foreign soldiers who died on Czech soil are buried and as well as Czechs who lost their lives in the Prague uprising. On the occasion of the anniversary the city of Prague unveiled a memorial to the legendary Czech pilot František Peřina who took part in the Battle of France and later served in the RAF. He received many medals for valor, among them the Czechoslovak War Cross, the Order of the White Lion and the French Legion d’Honneur.
The Military Intelligence Service has handed over to the Military History Institute thousands of pages of authentic documents relating to WWII. Among them are a list of Czechoslovak agents and a secret code used by the paratroopers who killed Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. The documents will be classified by historians, digitalized and eventually made accessible to the public on the institute’s web site. They are said to be in good condition and many of them had not been handled in 65 years.
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra has filed a criminal complaint against
its former head Culture Minister Vaclav Riedlbauch, for mismanagement of
funds during the years he headed the ensemble. A spokesman for the
Philharmonic said the results of a financial audit provided sufficient
evidence to justify the claim.
The state of the Czech Philharmonic’s finances has been a matter of
contention between its present head Vladimir Darjanin and the culture
minister who was his predecessor in office. Minister Riedlbauch on Friday
dismissed the ensemble’s head on the grounds of poor management.
The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra has come out strongly in support of Mr. Darjanin cancelling its Friday night concert in protest of his dismissal.
More than a thousand young people marched through the streets of Prague on Saturday calling for the legalization of marihuana. Its organizers argued that the present legislation plays into the hands of the drugs mafia and violates rights guaranteed by the constitution in preventing people from using marihuana as a drug that has been proven effective against serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and arthritis. The police were out in force to maintain order.
Prague’s Ruzyně Airport said on Saturday there had been no disruption to flights in and out of the Czech capital so far in connection with another cloud of ash from Iceland’s active volcano. While airports in Spain, France, Portugal and Barcelona reported problems throughout the day, the skies over central Europe were clear, with only one delay reported in a transatlantic flight out of Ruzyně. However the airport has advised travelers to inform themselves in advance about scheduled flights to Madrid, Rome or Milan.
The police have charged a German national with the brutal murder of a young Czech prostitute in a nightclub in Folmava. The 19-year-old girl was airlifted to hospital in critical condition late Friday. Paramedics found her unconscious with second and third degree burns all over her body and severe stomach injuries. She died several hours later. Doctors said she had been severely beaten and burnt with boiling water, possibly even acid. The 44-year-old German national who was with her at the time was intoxicated when the police arrived. If found guilty, he could face between 15 to 20 years in prison.
Police are reported to have blocked the biggest Czech web-site offering pirated films. The web-site, offering close to 12 thousand pirated movies - was operated by a sixteen year old youth who made tens of thousands of crowns in profits while robbing film and tv companies of millions. The youth, who set up the server when he was just 14, may face a prison sentence and a fine amounting to several million crowns.
The man who physically attacked a Social Democrat politician at a rally
was released from custody on Saturday and advised not to leave the country
or speak to the media until his case comes to court. The assailant will
face a regular rather than fast-track trial since the attack is not being
classified as a misdemeanor as originally thought, but as an attack on a
public figure for which the ceiling is six years in jail. His defendant
told the media on Wednesday that the incident had been blown out of
The man, who was heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident, approached Social Democrat deputy leader Bohuslav Sobotka and punched him in the face, bringing him down. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the attack had nothing to do with the election campaign but was reportedly the man’s way of getting revenge for the rent-deregulation that Mr. Sobotka had introduced when serving in the post of finance minister.
A fireworks display at Náchod Chateau went wrong on Friday night with one of the fireworks failing to take off and exploding close to the ground. The explosion shattered several windows and damaged the façade of the chateau’s southern wing. Nobody was injured in the incident. The material damage to the historic monument is estimated at around 1 million crowns. Police are investigating the cause of the accident.
A group of 70 people –many of them pregnant women -ascended the country’s highest mountain peak Snežka on May Day within an annual fun-and-sports event titled “Climbing a mountain is like giving birth”. The annual climb, now in its 13th year, is a challenge for both men and women to test their stamina with supervision from professionals. The climb is divided into nine stretches –symbolizing each month of pregnancy – and those who want to break off the climb at any point can hop onto a lift for the rest of the journey. At least half of the climbers this year were men – some sported their own beer bellies, others accepted a mock belly in the form of a heavy backpack.