Fire fighters rescued 39 people from homes flooded by heavy rain on Thursday night and saved 30 lives across the country, a spokeswoman for the service said. Storms with rain and strong winds hit the Czech Republic on Thursday; hundreds of homes have been left without power in many parts of Bohemia. Firefighters responded nearly 850 times during the night, five times the usual number of operations. The storms also disrupted traffic in several parts of the Czech Republic, mainly in northern and southern Bohemia and in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands. The storm also disrupted one of the country’s biggest music festivals, Rock for People in Hradec Králové in eastern Bohemia.
Czech police continue their search for a newborn baby who was kidnapped in Ústí nad Labem, in the north of the country, on Wednesday. The police said a man who spoke with a strong German accent snatched the baby from her carriage, took her into his car and drove off towards the German border. The investigators asked German police for cooperation, and on Friday, they again searched the surroundings of the motorway connecting Ústí with the German border. They are also reviewing camera records from the Czech and German part of the motorway.
July 6 is a Czech public holiday commemorating the execution of the mediaeval church reformer Jan Hus who was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1415. Dozens of people gathers in Prague’s Wenceslas Square to mark the anniversary, and to protests against the current government. At a service in Prague, the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, which acknowledges Jan Hus as its predecessor, has declared the tree years before the 600th anniversary “the Hussite Triennium” to highlight Hus’ significance. Religious services were also held at Jan Hus’ birthplace in Husinec, in southern Bohemia.
Curators at the Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe on Friday presented a piece of textile which they say was a piece of Jan Hus’ robe, the DPA news agency reported. The museum said the piece was found in the collections of the Musée d'Unterlinden in the French city of Colmar by its researches working on a major exhibition dedicated to the Council of Constance (1414-1418) where Hus was condemned as heretic. The researches said the find proves that Hus was worshiped soon after his death at the stake in 1415.
Czech Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, from the TOP 09 party, has filed a complaint to the security forces inspection authority, GIBS, over allegations he exerted pressure over the police investigator of the CASA aircraft deal. The police are investigating Mr Kalousek’s party colleague and former defence minister Vlasta Parkanová for her role in the 3.6 billion crown deal, sealed in 2009, which the police say was overpriced. Last week, a media report accused Mr Kalousek of trying to influence the investigation, quoting a record the phone call between the finance minister and the investigator. Mr Kalousek has denied the accusations, and said those responsible for leaking the document should be found out.
The 15th Sokol athletic festival concluded with synchronized mass exercises to music performed by 14,000 people at Prague’s Eden stadium on Wednesday. Some 20,000 members of the Sokol movement attended the week-long event which included exercises, public stage performances and a march through the capital. The Sokol sports movement, once an important nationalist organization, marks the 150th anniversary of its founding. Some 2,000 Czech expats arrived in Prague for the festival, held every six years.
Czech actor Josef Sommer received an award for his contribution to Czech cinema at the Karlovy Vary film festival on Sunday. The festival’s president, Jiří Bartoška, handed the popular 88-year-old the award ahead of a screening of the 1969 film the Joke, based on the novel of Milan Kundera in which Josef Sommer played the lead role. The 47th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival continues in the west Bohemian spa town until Sunday.
Police search is underway for an 19-day-old baby girl who was kidnapped in the northern city of Ústí nad Labem on Wednesday. The police said a man who spoke with a thick German accent took the baby out of the pram in front of her mother, ran with her to his car and drove off in a car with false number plates. The police believe he might have escaped to Germany and on Wednesday night, border checks were re-introduced at border crossings with that country. A police spokeswoman said on Saturday said the police would ask German media for cooperation.
On the first day of his state visit to Malaysia, Czech President Václav Klaus on Thursday instigated a row with the EU ambassador to that country, the news website novinky.cz reported. At a lecture hosted by a local institute, Mr Klaus told the ambassador, Alessandro Paolicchi, that he did not represent him, and that he did not approve of the EU having an ambassador to Malaysia. The Czech president later told reporters he expressed his opinion in a “friendly” way. Ambassador Paolicchi said the Czech president should realize his country was a member of the EU. President Klaus is on a six-day trip to the region which includes official visits to Malaysia and Indonesia.
Dozens of thousands of Czechs Thursday commemorate the 1149th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries Cyril and Methodius. The celebrations are held in Velehrad, in southern Moravia where the missionaries first arrived from Byzantium. A mass was celebrated by Prague Archbishop, Cardinal Dominik Duka while his predecessor Miloslav Vlk delivered the sermon; the former head of the Catholic Church said the anniversary was a good opportunity for Czechs to explore their roots. Thursday is a national holiday in the Czech Republic.