Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has said he will visit the site of the
former concentration camp in Lety, South Bohemia, next week and wants to
find the money needed to buyout the pig farm standing on the premises in
order to open the way for the creation of a dignified memorial to the
Romanies who lost their lives there. The leader of the ruling ANO Party is
in hot water after referring to Lety as a work camp for Romanies who did
not want to work.
Some 1,300 Czech Romanies passed through the camp between 1940 and 1943; around 330 of them died there, while another 500 were deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. The minister later said his words has been taken out of context and apologized "if he had caused offense". Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Jiří Dienstbier called on Andrej Babiš to step down and opposition MPs have called for the matter to be debated in the lower house. Prime Minister Sobotka said on Sunday Babiš should distance himself from his unfortunate statement and publicly apologize for it in Parliament.
Karolina Plíšková beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenko 6:2 6:4 to book
a place in the fourth round of the US Open. Pavlyuchenko lost her first two
service games of the match, allowing Plíšková to race three games ahead
and eventually ease into an opening-set victory. The 11th seed Plíšková
has made it into the last 16 of the US Open for the first time. She is now
set to play against Venus Williams.
14th seed Petra Kvitová also made it to the fourth round after beating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6:3, 6:4. She will now be taking on second seed Angelique Kerber.
The ANO Party of Andrej Babiš would currently win parliamentary elections with 29.5 percent of the vote, according to the outcome of an August survey conducted by the polling agency AISA. The Social Democrats would come second with 18 percent of the vote and the Communist Party would place third with 11 percent. The opposition Civic Democrats would get 9.5 percent support, TOP 09 6.5 and the Christian Democrats would be on the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats in the lower house.
The iconic US band Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform at Prague’s O2 Arena on Sunday night within their world tour to promote their latest album The Getaway. Their Prague fans last saw them perform live four years ago when they performed at Eden Stadium to an audience of 24 thousand. Tickets are still available.
The Czech and Slovak cabinets will hold a joint session in September, Prime Minister Sobotka told commercial TV Prima on Sunday. Apart from bilateral ties ministers will discuss security issues and the idea of a joint European army. The Czech head of cabinet would like to see the idea of a joint European army on the agenda of September's EU summit in Bratislava. The idea also received support from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Slovakia currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
A fire devastated a waste processing plant in the town of Litvinov on Saturday night. The fire started in the plants storage area and quickly spread to the processing facility causing damage estimated at 60 million crowns. Firefighters from nine stations fought the blaze getting it under control shortly before midnight. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Pope Francis is to receive a statue of St Agnes of Bohemia as a gift from
the Czech state on the occasion of the Holy Year of Mercy. St Agnes is the
Czech nation’s patron saint, and she is also a patron of the elderly,
ailing and weak and a symbol of God’s mercy. The gift will be delivered
to the Vatican on September 10th by a delegation including Czech Culture
Minister Daniel Herman and leading church dignitaries.
St Agnes of Bohemia was a princess, the daughter of the Bohemian Kings Přemysl I Otakar, but she chose to become a nun and devoted her life to charity. She was canonized by the Catholic Church in November 1989, just days before the beginning of the Velvet Revolution that ended communist rule in the country.
Some 1500 bikers descended on Prague this weekend for the Prague Harley Days. The three-day event includes a motorcycle parade, demo rides, an exposition of new and antique motorcycles as well as a competition for the best bike in the Prague Custom Battle. The event, held under the patronage of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, attracted bikers from Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and a number of other countries.
Former Soviet president Michail Gorbachev is to pay an official visit to the Czech Republic from September 16-18 to attend a conference entitled Security in the Wake of the Cold War. The conference is organized by the M. Gorbachev Foundation, Fondazione Italiani and the Iron Curtain Foundation. Mr. Gorbachev is also scheduled to meet with President Milos Zeman. It will be the former Soviet leader’s first visit to the Czech Republic in 17 years.
Addressing the German League of Expellees (BdV) on "Homeland Day" German President Joachim Gauk likened the fate of present day refugees to that of Germans expelled from their homes after WWII. He said Germany must meet its commitment to help those in need. After Germany’s defeat in 1945 millions of Germans were forced to leave their homes. 2.5 million Sudeten Germans were expelled from post-war Czechoslovakia alone. The issue burdened Czech-German relations for decades. In this connection President Gauk praised the reconciliation efforts of Brno mayor Petr Vokřál. Brno last year apologized for the Brno Death March in which the some 20,000 German-speaking inhabitants of Brno were forced to leave the city and walk to the Austrian border. Around 1,700 are believed to have died on the road. The city held a Pilgrimage of Reconciliation attended by both Czechs and Sudeten Germans.