The former head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, says a mass of reconciliation due to take place at the Vatican on Monday is the culmination of efforts begun by Pope John Paul II, iDnes.cz reported. The service is being held in connection with the forthcoming 600th anniversary of the burning of the stake of Czech priest and religious reformer Jan Hus, the news website said. A Czech delegation, including Cardinal Vlk and representatives of the Hussite and Evangelical churches, will have an audience with Pope Francis. The pontiff said on Friday that the killing of Hus had harmed the Roman Catholic Church and that it should ask for forgiveness.
The Czech minister of foreign affairs, Lubomír Zaorálek, says existing Western sanctions against Russia will probably remain in place until the end of this year. Speaking on a Czech Television debate show on Sunday, the country’s foreign policy chief said he did not expect the sanctions to be either beefed up or watered down after a meeting of the European Commission to discuss the situation in Ukraine later this month. MEP Jan Zahradil said if Russia continued to breach the Minsk agreement further sanctions would be in order. It is the Czech national interest for Moscow’s influence not to spread westwards, he said.
According to a defence strategy to be approved by the government on Monday the Czech Republic and its EU and NATO allies will face serious long-term threats in the coming decades. The document, which was rubberstamped by the State Security Council two weeks ago, sets out the direction of the Czech Army between now and the year 2030. Its authors expect increasingly diversified distribution of political power and economic potential in the world to lead to instability resulting in the threat of direct military threats to the Czech Republic’s allies. The security experts also warn against the use of media for information war purposes, hybrid war and the rapid spread of epidemics.
The prime minister insists construction work on a long-planned road artery leading from Prague to Germany’s Saxony will be completed next year as planned, despite a large landslide. Speaking on a visit to D8 road works near Litoměřice on Saturday evening, PM Bohuslav Sobotka said a landslide of 500 cubic metres of soil following heavy rains in 2013 would not thwart plans to reopen the motorway fully by December 2016. The D8 construction project began over two decades ago.
Javelin thrower Vítězslav Veselý says he only made one throw, which was sufficient to ensure him first place at a Diamond League meeting in New York on Saturday, because of a groin injury. The Czech athlete said he had withdrawn after a throw of 83.62 metres with a view to the next meeting in Lausanne in three weeks’ time. Veselý’s latest success means he remains first overall in the javelin in this season’s Diamond League series, which he won in 2012 and 2013.
A driver going at only over 200 kilometres an hour only stopped after a pursuing police patrol shot at his car, a police spokesperson said. The 29-year-old driver fled from police near Jaroměr in Eastern Bohemia on Wednesday night and ignored megaphone calls and warning shots from officers attempting to force him to pull over. Traces of narcotics were found in the blood of the driver, who has twice been banned, while methamphetamines were found in the handbag of a female passenger, the police said.
Saturday saw both heavy storms and record temperatures in the Czech Republic. Fire brigades were called out in many places, particularly in Bohemia, to pump water out of flooded cellars and remove fallen trees following intense rainfall, while a rock music festival at Milovice in Central Bohemia was briefly brought to a halt by strong winds. Several places in Moravia saw fresh temperature records for June 13, including Karviná, where it was 34.3 degrees Celsius. Forecasters said Moravia would likely see storms on Sunday.
The funeral has taken place of writer and dissident Ludvík Vaculík, who died last week at the age of 88. Fellow authors Ivan Klíma and Pavel Kohout were among the 500 or so mourners at Saturday’s service in the town of Brumov-Bylnice in Eastern Moravia, his birthplace. One of the most respected post-war Czech writers, Vaculík penned the Two Thousand Words, a manifesto calling for reforms in Czechoslovakia in 1968, and books such as The Axe, The Guinea Pigs and The Czech Dreambook.
Temperatures in the coming four-week period will be around 17.5 degrees Celsisus, which is average for the time of year, according to a mid-term forecast issued on Saturday by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. Rainfall over the next month should be below the long-term average, though forecasters have warned of occasional heavy rains.
Events commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the razing of Lidice by the Nazis began on Saturday with a mass at the foundations of the Church of St. Martin where the village stood in Central Bohemia. The mass, served by Bishop Václav Malý, recalled the terrible fate of Lidice, which became a symbol of Nazi terror during WWII. Among those who attended the ceremony was the minister of culture, Daniel Herman, who said the massacre of the village’s inhabitants in 1942 was a tragedy that served as a warning against totalitarianism, evil and violence of all kinds.