Thousands of people attended the annual re-enactment of the historic Battle
of Austerlitz in South Moravia on Saturday afternoon. Around 1,000 military
buffs staged the re-enactment of the operation in which Napoleon Bonaparte
defeated the armies of Russian Tzar Alexander I and Austrian Emperor Franz
The Battle of Three Emperors took place on December 2, 1805 near the town of Slavkov (or Austerlitz in German), south of Brno. 20,000 men were killed in action. The battle’s re-enactment is a popular event accompanied by craft and food fairs.
Hundreds of people gathered on Prague’s Old Town Square on Saturday
afternoon for the traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony, marking the
start of Advent and the opening of the city’s biggest Christmas market.
The lighting ceremony of the 22-metre tall spruce felled near Křivoklát, South Bohemia, was enhanced by a selection from Bedrich Smetana’s cycle of symphonic poems My Country. Visitors will find 99 stalls on Old Town Square and three Nativity scenes, one of which is live.
The Christmas market offers visitors a rich cultural program with some 700 performers appearing on stage in the course of the next three weeks.
A concrete footbridge across the Vltava River near Troja collapsed on
Saturday injuring four people. Two of the injured are in serious condition,
one of them in an induced coma.
The cause of the accident is being investigated. It is believed that the footbridge was damaged by corrosion. Emergency crews are clearing the debris.
Around 4,500 doctors will not be able to start issuing electronic
prescriptions as of January 1st, according to a law that has made them
compulsory as of next year, the ctk news agency reports. The State
Institute for Drugs Control says it will be unable to process applications
filed after November 24th in time.
The law introducing electronic prescriptions went into effect in 2007 but up till now doctors could use them on a voluntary basis. Doctors in small towns and villages have complained that the new measure will place a big administrative burden on them. The measure will affect over 43,000 Czech physicians.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will represent the Czech Republic at the
Paris Summit on Climate Change on December 12th, the Office of the
Government said in a press release. It will be Mr. Sobotka’s last foreign
trip as head of government.
On December 13th President Zeman will appoint a new government. The Sobotka government has already handed in its resignation, but remains in office until the new cabinet takes over.
Czech hurdler Zuzana Hejnová has threatened to take Czech Post to court
over a stamp it issued on the occasion of the Olympic Games in Rio last
year. Hejnová claims she is clearly the athlete on the stamp and says
Czech Post violated the law on copyright by not getting her permission.
The athlete on the stamp bears a marked resemblance to a photo of Hejnová taken at the London Olympics in 2012. Hejnová is demanding one million crowns in compensation. Czech Post insists the stamp was not made according to her photo and represents an anonymous athlete.
ANO leader Andrej Babiš, who is forming the country’s next government,
told the news site novinky.cz he himself would be primarily responsible for
moulding the country’s foreign policy.
Babiš confirmed that Martin Stropnický, the outgoing minister of
defense, and a former career diplomat would head the ministry of foreign
affairs, but indicated that he wanted to keep a firm hand on the
country’s foreign policy.
He said he had asked President Zeman to appoint his minority government to office on December 13th, so that he could travel to Brussels for the next EU summit of heads of government. The Czech Republic must be more active within the EU and come up with solutions, Babiš said.
The Czech counterintelligence service says it has no information indicating
that foreign agents are working to influence the outcome of elections in
the Czech Republic. The statement comes in response to a request from
outgoing Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka for the intelligence services to
address the issue, after one of the hot candidates in the presidential
race, Jiří Drahoš, expressed concern that foreign agent and trolls were
using disinformation campaigns to influence the outcome of elections in
this country. In its October report the intelligence service BIS cited
heightened activities in the country by Russian agents. Prime Minister
Sobotka said the government was taking the possibility of such a threat
Meanwhile, President Miloš Zeman who is running for re-election has dismissed these concerns saying that Jiří Drahoš is trying to draw attention to himself through conspiracy theories. Zeman said it was an insult to voters’ common sense to think they might be swayed by foreign propaganda.
A Turkish court of appeals has upheld a six year sentence for two Czech
nationals, Markéta Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas, who were sentenced to
six years in prison in August of this year for allegedly supporting the
Kurdish militia YPG, which Turkey considers a terrorist group.
The couple denied the charges, maintaining they were humanitarian workers who had aimed to create a field hospital near the Turkish-Iraqi border. Both have appealed the decision with the Supreme Court, where they may have to wait between 3 and 9 months for a verdict.
The outgoing Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek tried to secure their release during talks in Ankara, without success. He said their possible extradition to the Czech Republic was complicated by the fact that the Czech Republic would have to accept the verdict which goes against the Constitution of the Czech Republic.