The Czech Republic marks the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of
Christian missionaries Cyril and Methodius in Great Moravia on Friday, a
public holiday. Thousands of people attended a Catholic mass at Velehrad,
the capitol of the erstwhile Moravian empire. The mass, celebrated by Czech
and foreign Catholic dignitaries, was also attended by Czech President
Miloš Zeman. In a message marking the occasion, Pope Francis asked Czechs
to appreciate their Christian roots and build a society of tolerance and
Around 750 city and town halls in Moravia hoisted the Moravian flag on Friday to mark the anniversary. On Thursday, the celebrations started with a charity concert in Velehrad by the Zlín philharmonic orchestra and a number of other performers.
Deputy environment minister Tomáš Podivínský is set to become the environment minister in the Czech caretaker government, designated Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok told reporters on Friday. Mr Podivínský, a former career diplomat, has been at the ministry since October 2012. All but one post in the new government, to be appointed next week, has been filled; Mr Rusnok is yet to find the new finance minister. The designated prime minister said he would announced his candidates for the post on Monday.
Two sections of the country’s major D1 motorway between Prague and Brno is set to close for traffic for 14 hours on Friday night due to reconstruction works. Six bridges over the road will be demolished, part of major renovation the motorway will undergo over the next four years. The sections to close until Saturday morning are located near Brno and in Central Bohemia; traffic will be diverted onto local roads for the duration of the works.
The world premiere of a new feature film called Revival by the Czech director Alice Nelis is scheduled at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival on Friday. The movie, billed as a tragicomedy, follows former members of a fictional hard rock band Smoke and their efforts to come back. The film, which features several leading Czech film actors including Boleslav Polívka, Miroslav Krobot and Karel Heřmánek, will enter cinemas on July 11.
Some 25,000 children are set to go on summer camps organized by the Czech Scouts and Guides this summer, the group said on Friday. The number of their camps has grown to over 1,000, despite the economic crunch felt by many families. The camps last some 15 days on average, and cost between 800 and 1,000 crowns per child and week. Last year, around 170,000 children went to summer camps organized by schools and various groups.
Czech hockey forward Patrik Eliáš has signed a three-year contract with the New Jersey Devils in the NHL, the club where he spent the last 17 seasons. Eliáš said in a statement he was excited to be back with New Jersey, and felt special to be a member of one organization his entire career. He is set to earn 16.5 million US dollars over the next three years; his previous, seven-year contract with the Devils expired earlier this year. The 37-year-old Czech has appeared in 1090 games for the New Jersey Devils, winning the Stanley Cup in 2002 and 2003.
Responding to developments in Egypt, the Czech Foreign Ministry has said it is closely monitoring the situation and is concerned by the deep polarization of the Egyptian society in the course of the transformation process. The ministry urges a speedy restoration of democratic processes in Egypt by free and fair elections. It strongly condemns all acts of violence, especially violence against women, and firmly hopes that the security forces will take effective measures to protect the population.
The Czech Embassy in Cairo says that the situation in the country’s tourist resorts is stable and there is no immediate danger to Czechs holidaying in Egypt. However it has advised tourists against travelling to northern Egypt and has warned people to stay away from public gatherings and street protests. The embassy says it is following developments closely and is in contact with Czech travel agencies active in the region.
The Czech Pirate Party has asked the Czech Interior Ministry to offer
political asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden who leaked
details of the U.S. Prism mass surveillance programme to the press. The
party sent the outgoing Interior Minister Jan Kubice an open letter asking
the ministry to publicly condemn the U.S. surveillance practices and
the public that the Czech intelligence services are not involved in
Snowden, a former CIA contractor, confessed that he had revealed details of the top-secret Prism programme of the US government, including the monitoring of Internet and phone communication, to the media. The U.S. State Department has accused him of espionage and theft of official documents. Snowden is presently in a transit area of the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow and has applied for political asylum in over 20 countries.
Prime minister designate Jiří Rusnok has filled three more ministerial posts in the emerging caretaker cabinet. Outgoing defense minister Vlastimil Picek, who has received an offer to continue in office, has agreed to do so. Jiří Cienciala, the rector of the Ostrava School for Entrepreneurs, is to head the Industry and Trade Ministry while the former chief inspector of Czech Railways Zdeněk Žák will lead the Transport Ministry. Mr. Rusnok has not yet filled the post of finance minister and there has been speculation he may be considering former caretaker prime minister Jan Fischer for the post. The post of environment minister is likewise still vacant. The new cabinet is to be sworn in on Wednesday.