Hundreds of people, including members of the military and the Czech president, attended a ceremony on Sunday in Ležáky in the Chrudim area, to honour the memory of 52 people murdered there by the Nazis in 1942. The town was razed to the ground, following Lidice, as reprisal for the assassination of the 'Butcher of Prague’, Nazi governor Reinhard Heydrich. All of the adults were executed and 11 children sent to the Chełmno extermination camp where they were gassed. In a speech on Sunday to mark the 72 anniversary, the president expressed deep gratitude that Czech resistance fighters had fought for freedom with the utmost courage and sacrifice. Among those who attended the ceremony were two sisters, Jarmila and Marie Šťulíková, who are the sole survivors of the Ležáky massacre. After the war, the village of Ležáky was rebuilt with a memorial on the site of the original buildings which had been destroyed.
General Petr Pavel, the head of the General Staff of the Czech Armed Forces, met at the weekend in Afghanistan with the head of ISAF General Joseph Dunford who expressed the hope Czechs there would continue their work in the country even after NATO combat operations wrapped up. The aim is to help Afghan security forces in the new coming period, under a new mission to be called Resolute Support. Czech personnel staying on in Afghanistan would presumably serve at an American military hospital, train Afghan forces and help with security at the base at Bagram. General Pavel said the Czech Army was prepared to do its part; the mandate for the years 2015 and 2016 will, however, have to be approved in the Chamber of Deputies.
This Monday, June 23rd, marks 30 years that twenty Czechs and Slovaks were released by UNITA rebels in Angola, returning home after some 15 months in captivity. Those abducted in 1984 had to complete a march of more than 1,300 kilometers while in captivity. One of the hostages did not survive. Lubomír Sazeček, one of those held prisoner, spoke to the Czech News Agency on the occasion of the anniversary, saying he never gave up on Africa, but still held the rebels, who assumed power, responsible. In all, 66 Czechoslovak men, women and children were held hostage, but the 20 were the last released. The Czechs and Slovaks were in Angola in the 1980's to help resurrect and run the Angola Cellulose and Paper Company in the area of Alto Catumbela.
TOP 09’s regional committee has confirmed that Prague Mayor Tomáš Hudeček will remain atop the party’s candidate list in Prague in upcoming communal elections. Some members held the view Mr Hudeček should be removed from the list over the Opencard case, which is due to go to trial. Legal proceedings have been launched against 15 city councillors and two mayors, former and present, over the controversial data card which serves most commonly as a transit pass. The majority was in favour, of the mayor staying on. Second on the list is Mayor Hudeček’s deputy, Jiří Nouza; fourth is former hockey goalie Petr Bříza. The elections take place this autumn.
Prague has been sent key parts of a Swiss court verdict on the case of the Czech MUS coal mining company, which could help the Czech state regain a part of the 14 billion crowns linked to the suspicious privatisation of MUS now blocked on Swiss accounts, Czech TV reported Saturday. The Finance Ministry confirmed it has received the documentation. The Finance Ministry previously asked the Swiss for the parts of the verdict which related to the Czech Republic. The ministry’s spokesman said only that the documents received were being analyzed before further steps would be considered.
A 10-year-old boy had to be airlifted to hospital on Sunday after suffering a 12-metre fall at the popular tourist destination of Žebrák, castle ruins in the area of Beroun outside of Prague. The boy suffered multiple injuries and was in critical condition. He was taken to Prague's Motol hospital. The boy had been accompanied by adults on the trip, who were apparently looking for a hidden geocaching item at the time of the accident, the Czech News Agency reported.
A 17-year-old student missing for two days in the area of Kokořín has been found dead, a police spokesman revealed on Sunday. A search involving dozens of police officers and fire fighters preceded the discovery. The boy was last seen on Friday during a school trip. he had told others he was going for a walk shortly after 12 AM. He is believed to have fallen from a cliff in the area.