The contamination of drinking tap water in Prague 6 at the end of May was caused by a leak in a sewer pipe which served Prague’s military hospital, the head of the Prague Waterworks Petr Mrkos announced on Thursday at a meeting with the Prague City Council. More than 4,000 people were taken sick after drinking the water contaminated by coliform bacteria and had to be treated for diarrhoea, vomiting and fevers. The authorities previously thought that the water was contaminated by sewage water from a nearby building site, where a sewage pipe has been damaged by construction workers.
A campaign called Proti ztrátě paměti or Fighting Memory Loss, marking the Day of Remembrance for the victims of the communist regime, got underway at Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Thursday afternoon. The campaign, organised by the NGO People in Need since 2011, remembers the victims of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet troops in 1968. At the same time, it also marks 24 years since the departure of the armed Soviet army from Czechoslovakia. Various events, including film screenings, lectures and theatrical performances are scheduled to take place in Prague over the course of the next five days.
The annual Summer Shakespeare festival gets underway at Prague Castle on Thursday evening, with the performance of Romeo and Juliet directed by the SKUTR theatre company, starring Tereza Voříšková and Jan Sklenář. This year’s performances include a number of other plays, including Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew. The open-air theatre festival was established in 1990 in Prague and runs until the beginning of September. This year it also takes place in Brno, Ostrava and Bratislava.
The Czech branch of Greenpeace is considering filing a lawsuit against the Czech Republic, pushing the government to reduce carbon emissions, spokesman Lukáš Hrbek told the Czech News Agency on Thursday. The Czech environment campaigners have been inspired by Wednesday’s ruling by a court in the Hague, which has ordered the Dutch government to cut its carbon emissions by at least 25 percent within the next five years. According to Jan Rovenský of Greenpeace, the breakthrough ruling could have a significant impact on international negotiations on climate change and reduction of emissions which will culminate in Paris at the end of this year.
Calgary Flames forward Jiří Hudler has been given the NHL’s Lady Byng Memorial trophy awarded to the player who demonstrates the best sportsman ship and gentlemanly conduct. The 31-year-old Czech received 700 points, and finished 52 points ahead of Pavel Datsuk of the Detroit Red Wings, who is a four-time winner of the trophy. Hudler was assessed just 14 penalty minutes over the whole season, which is the fewest among the League's top 20 scorers. Hudler is the first Czech to win the award, given out by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
The crash of a Hungarian Jas-39 Gripen fighter jet at the Čáslav airbase southeast of Prague last month was caused by pilot error, according to Hungary’s news site index.hu. According to military sources, cited by the website, the pilot mistakenly accelerated during the landing process. The experts have ruled out the possibility of a technical malfunction. The plane crash-landed during an international military drill in the Czech Republic in mid-May. Both pilots ejected and were unhurt, but the plane was completely destroyed.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has offered 100,000 crowns as a reward to anybody who finds the article ‘Hitler is a gentleman’ which he insisted the legendary journalist Ferdinand Peroutka once wrote. The president’s spokesman has been searching for the alleged article but has not been able to produce it so far. Mr. Zeman insists that Peroutka wrote favourably of Hitler, but critics charge that the article was a fabrication. Meanwhile, Peroutka's granddaughter Terezie Kaslová has filed a lawsuit against the president over his words and is demanding an official apology.
The general assembly of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a meeting of around 200 heads of public television and radio stations from around 50 countries, has got underway at Prague’s National Museum on Thursday. The topic of this year’s meeting is the contribution of public media services to society. Speaking at the meeting on Thursday, Czech Radio’s General Director Peter Duhan, said the Czech broadcaster is set to launch a pilot digital radio service for Prague and its surroundings on August 6. Mr Duhan said the digital broadcasting was among Czech Radio’s strategic goals, adding that it should reach up to 17 percent of the population.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has said that the country should address the issue of media ownership to prevent dominance of the market by one dominant owner. Sobotka said that percentage limits should perhaps be set on market shares. The prime minister was speaking as the general assembly of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), a meeting of around 200 bosses of public television and radio stations from around 50 countries, took place in Prague. Sobotka’s comments have been taken as criticism of ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš who owns two of the country’s daily newspapers and its most successful radio station.
In football, hopes that the Czech Under-21 team could take part in a play-off for a place in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil, evaporated on Wednesday night during a dismal performance by the England team against Italy. The Czechs were hoping England would win, clearing a way for a play-off between the third place teams in the ongoing European Championships for the Olympic place. In the event, Italy won 3:1 after some naïve English defending and the Rio places will go to Germany, Portugal, Denmark, and Sweden.