President Miloš Zeman, Defense Minister Martin Stropnický and other officials attended a ceremony at the Lidice memorial on Saturday to mark the destruction of the village by the Nazis in 1942 in revenge for the assassination of Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. All the men in Lidice were shot, women and children were taken to concentration camps and the village razed to the ground. The Archbishop of Olomouc, Jan Graubner, celebrated a mass in the village to commemorate the victims. Speaking at the ceremony, President Miloš Zeman warned against the spreading of neo-Nazism, explicitly mentioning Marian Kotleba, leader of the extreme right People's Party Our Slovakia and leader of the far-right Workers' Party of Social Justice Tomáš Vandas. Around one thousand people attended Saturday's ceremony in Lidice.
Some 25,000 people joined in the 16th annual March Against Breast Cancer through the Czech capital on Saturday. The participants, including well-known personalities such as singer Tonya Graves or actress Iva Pazderková, marched from the Old Town Square to Štvanice island wearing pink t-shirts and carrying pink balloons sold to raise funds in the fight against the disease. The event will culminate with a concert, featuring Dan Bárta, Kryštof and other Czech bands. An estimated 6,000 women in the Czech Republic are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and in about 2,000 cases the disease proves fatal.
Foreign missions cost the Czech military 1.12 billion crowns in 2015, according to a report for the Chamber of Deputies. It is about 300 million crowns more than in the previous year. Originally, the military was to spend 1.33 billion, but the budget was later decreased to 1.03 billion crowns. The mission in Afghanistan has long been the most expensive, costing about 805 million crowns. Additional 32 million crowns were used on protecting the Czech embassy in Kabul. The second most expensive contingent last year was the mission in Mali, which accounted for nearly 80 million crowns.
China is to pay 2.7 million crowns to Prague City Hall for the planned loan of the Slav Epic, a series of paintings by Alphonse Mucha, the Czech News Agency reported on Saturday, citing the draft of a memorandum concerning the loan. The paintings are set to be displayed in Japan during the first quarter of next year and in China from mid-2017 until May 2018. According to the memorandum, the Chinese party should also finance the transfer of the paintings and the insurance costs. The Slav Epic will be on display in Prague until the end of the year. John Mucha, the grandson of the Art Nouveau painter, had previously said he was against the plan to exhibit the painting in China.
The Czech Republic’s biggest festival of world music, Respect, kicks off in Prague on Saturday. The annual event, now in its 19th year, takes place at Prague's Výstaviště fairgrounds. Among the biggest stars this year will be the Ethiopian legend Mahmoud Ahmed, accompanied by some of his long time musical associates, and a multicultural group Diwa Saz from Israel, who perform ancient music from Central Asia, Turkey, Persia, and the Holy Land.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka called a meeting of the National Security Council for Tuesday over a dispute surrounding the plans to merge two of the country’s main crime fighting units into one large body. He announced the plan on Friday evening after meeting with Interior Minister Milan Chovanec. On Friday, the head of the organised crime unit, Robert Šlachta, resigned on in protest at plans to merge his squad with the force’s anti-corruption unit. Some members of the coalition have called the dispute surrounding the planned reform the most serious crisis to date. The Prime Minister previously said that changes in the police force were the domain of the police president and the minister of the interior and politicians should not become involved in it.
Damages reported to insurance companies from recent storms have already reached nearly one billion crowns. Torrential rain, hail and local flooding over the recent weeks have done particular damage to roofs and vehicles and have also flooded houses. The insurance company Česká pojišťovna has registered 6000 claims worth 285 million crowns, while Kooperativa reported 4000 claims worth 190 million.
Over 1,000 houses of worship across the Czech Republic will open their doors to the public on Friday night for the annual Night of Open Churches. Visitors will be able to view church interiors that are normally not open to the public, and attend concerts, exhibitions and other programmes. This year, there will also be a spiritual tram riding through Prague, where people can debate with Archbishop Dominik Duka and other guests. Last year, nearly 1,500 churches took part in the Night of Open Churches and the event attracted over 500,000 visitors.
Two people have suffered injuries in a gas explosion that occurred in an apartment building in Biskupcova street in Prague’s district of Žižkov on Friday morning. The injured people were employees of a gas company who were maintaining gas pipes. One of them is in a serious condition with severe burns. Nine people had to be evacuated from the building after the explosion. The precise cause of the explosion is still being investigated.