The Czech Republic on Thursday marked the 602nd anniversary of the burning at stake of reformer priest Jan Hus with numerous events highlighting his legacy. Masses were celebrated around the country, among others in Jan Hus’ birthplace Husinec and at Bethlehem chapel in Prague, where the reformer priest preached. The chapel had a new bell cast in Hus’ memory on the 600th anniversary of his martyr’s death at the stake and a special installation was unveiled on the side wall of the chapel –a sign reading For the Truth which can only be seen in sunny weather –a reminder of the fact that the truth is sometimes hidden. The events linked to the anniversary included theatre performances, debates, music concerts and film screenings dedicated to the reformer priest.
A European Parliament building in Strasbourg has been named after the late Czech president, dissident and playwright Václav Havel. A bronze bust of the first Czech president was unveiled at the entrance to the building in the presence of Havel’s wife Dagmar and the head of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. Visitors were also able to view an exhibition of photos of Václav Havel taken by Tomki Němec. The main conference room in the building is furnished with a tapestry by Czech artist Petr Sís.
Thousands of people descended on the Velehrad pilgrimage site to attend celebrations marking the 1153th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Methodius to Great Moravia to spread the Christian faith and lay the foundations of literacy with the Glagolitic alphabet. The celebrations opened on Tuesday evening with a charity concert within the Days of People of Goodwill. On Wednesday they culminated with a divine mass at the Velehrad Basilica celebrated by Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet. The events at Velehrad this year include an exhibition of Byzantine icons by Bulgarian artist Stefka Nikolova, lectures and public debates.
Sales of new cars in the Czech Republic in the first six months of 2017 increased by nearly nine percent compared to the same period last year to over 144,000 vehicles, according to figures released by the Car Importers Association on Tuesday. The monthly sales growth slowed down to 3.6 percent in June. The biggest seller in the period between January and June was Škoda Auto with over 45,000 cars, followed by Volkswagen and Hyundai.
Czech president Miloš Zeman has sent a congratulatory letter to US president Donald Trump on the occasion of Independence Day, the US national holiday. The letter was published on the website of Prague Castle administration on Tuesday. The Czech head of state appreciated Mr Trump’s work since taking the office in January, namely his determination to fight terrorism. He also said the Czech Republic will cooperate with the US in promoting values such as freedom, religious tolerance and democracy.
The Czech Republic’s trade surplus in May dropped to 14.3 billion crowns, a decrease of 2.8 billion crowns on the same month in 2016, according to preliminary data released by the Czech Statistical Office on Tuesday. The favourable result was driven by the increased surplus in car exports and reduced deficit in hard coal and refined oil products. According to experts, the monthly export total in May was the second highest in the history of the Czech Republic only exceeded by the result after March 2017.
The Czech Veterinary Authority has so far confirmed 10 cases of African swine fever in the region of Zlín, with 18 wild boar having died. The first two cases were confirmed in the region two weeks ago. On Monday, special veterinary conditions were widened to the whole district after more cases appeared. So far, no pig farm in the area has been affected with the disease. According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, there is currently no available treatment or vaccination for the African swine fever.
The traditional pilgrimage festival marking the legacy of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Greek missionaries who brought Christianity to the Czech lands, got underway at Velehrad in South Moravia on Tuesday. The event, called the People of Goodwill Days, was launched with an exhibition of orthodox icons by Bulgarian artist Stefka Nicolov. Tens of thousands of believers are expected to take part in the event, which culminates on Wednesday night with a celebratory mass and a charity concert.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka expressed his support to Egypt in its fight against terrorism during a meeting with the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Budapest on Tuesday. In addition to migration and terrorism, the two politicians have also discussed economic cooperation and tourism. The meeting took place ahead of the Visegrad Four countries, comprising of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, with the Egyptian head of state. They will debate mainly the situation in the Middle East and North Africa and the related migrant and terrorism issues. The Budapest summit is the first official meeting of the V4 prime ministers after Budapest took over the group's presidency from Warsaw at the beginning of July.