News Exhibition recalls self-immolation of Jan Zajíc

23-02-2014 21:29 | Ian Willoughby

A new exhibition dedicated to Jan Zajíc is set to mark the 45th anniversary of his self-immolation in response to the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops and the “normalization” period that followed. Entitled The Story of Jan Zajíc, it will open at Prague’s Carolinum on Monday as part of the Mene Tekel festival, before moving to the town of Šumperk, whose grammar school students put the exhibition together. Aged 19, Zajíc set himself on fire on 25 February 1969 as he felt a similar move by Jan Palach had failed to shake the indifference and apathy of Czechoslovak society.

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Ministry rejects proposal to downgrade Šumava National Park

21-04-2014 16:00 | Jan Richter

The Czech Environment Ministry has rejected a proposal by the management of the Šumava National Park to downgrade it from category II of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to category IV, the news agency ČTK reported on Monday. The management pushed for the downgrade to be able to extend logging areas within the park. However, the ministry also plans to limit the park’s non-intervention zones from the current 30 percent of its area to 23 percent. While environmentalists welcome the ministry’s rejection of the downgrading proposal, they said the plan to decrease the park’s non-intervention zone was shocking. 

Prague’s biggest funfair Matějská pouť draws bigger crowds

21-04-2014 14:45 | Jan Richter

Some 157,000 people have visited Matějská pouť, the biggest funfair in the capital, since it opened on March 1, organizers told the news agency ČTK. Another 3,000 people are expected before the funfair closes on Monday night. Last year, a total of 117,000 visitors arrived at the fair, mainly due to poor weather. Matějská pout was originally a pilgrimage to St Mathew’s church in Dejvice, first recorded in late 16th century. It is now however a secular event held each years at Prague’s exhibition grounds in Holešovice. 

Prague police report major drop in number of offences last year

21-04-2014 12:00 | Jan Richter

Prague’s municipal police dealt with over 836,000 offences last year, which was more than 22 percent less than in 2012, according to the force’s annual report released by Prague City Hall. A spokeswoman for the municipal police said the drop was due to changes in traffic legislation that came into force last year; officers also provided assistance during floods which hit the capital last august, and also focused primarily on combatting more serious offences and crimes. Traffic offences were by far the most frequent offences processed by Prague municipal police last year. 

Football: Sparta closes in on league title

21-04-2014 10:41 | Jan Richter

Sparta Prague defeated city rival Dukla 3:1 in the Gambrinus liga’s round 25 on Sunday, and increased their lead at the top of the table to 13 points ahead of defending champions Viktoria Plzeň. Sparta’s Hušbauer scored twice in the game, another goal came from Kadeřábek. Plzeň play their match later on Monday but Sparta could celebrate the first title in four years as soon as next weekend. 

Traditional customs observed on Easter Monday, Czech public holiday

21-04-2014 10:25 | Jan Richter

Traditional folk customs are observed on Easter Monday, a public holiday in the Czech Republic. In a popular custom known as pomlázka, male carollers whip women and girls get with braided willow sticks decorated with ribbons. In return, they give men painted eggs. The custom has pre-Christian roots in pagan fertility rites. Legend has it that women that go whipped on Easter Monday will remain healthy and fertile for the entire year. 

Czech women’s tennis team beats Italy to reach Fed Cup finals

20-04-2014 18:40 updated | Jan Richter

The Czech women’s tennis team has reached the finals of the Fed Cup after defeating defending champions Italy 4-0 in Ostrava over the weekend. Czech number one Petra Kvitová scored two points, defeating Roberta Vinci and Camila Giorgi. Lucie Šafářová, meanwhile, beat Sara Errani, and the Czech duo Koukalová, Hlaváčková took the fourth point after defeating Italy’s pair Giorgi, Knapp, in Sunday’s doubles. In the Fed Cup finals, the Czechs will host Germany in November. 

Hockey: Lev Praha tied 1-1with Magnitogorsk in KHL finals

20-04-2014 18:34 | Jan Richter

Hockey club Lev Praha lost to Magnitogorsk 1-4 on Sunday the KHL finals, and are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series. The hosts built up a 4-0 lead before Lev’s Azevedo scored in the 57th minute, setting the final score at 4-1. Lev won the series’ opening game 3-0 on Saturday. The series now moves to Prague where games three and four are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, respectively. 

Galvanic plant fire causes 200 million in damages

20-04-2014 18:05 | Jan Richter

Fire at a galvanic plant in Lanškroun, eastern Bohemia, has caused damages of around 200 million crowns, the news agency ČTK reported. The fire broke out shortly before Sunday noon; fire fighters could not immediately access the scene as carbon dioxide bombs were exploding inside; they only got the fire under control by Sunday evening. The authorities closed off several streets in the town, and warned people not to approach the scene of the fire. Causes of the fire are under investigation. 

PM Sobotka marks anniversary of Nazi-razed village

20-04-2014 16:26 | Jan Richter

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka along with Czech army officials, public figures and other guests on Sunday marked the 69th anniversary of the destruction of east Moravian village of Ploština by the Nazis during the final days of the Second World War. The village was set alight and at least 24 of its inhabitants murdered because their provided help to local armed resistance groups. In his remarks, Mr Sobotka emphasized the need to keep the nation’s memory alive, and to resist attempts to distort its history. 

Czech canoeist drowns in Austria

20-04-2014 15:08 | Jan Richter

A 36-year-old Czech man from Brno drowned while canoeing on the Saalach River near the Austrian town of Lofer, the country’s APA news agency reported on Sunday. The man, who was with a group of friends, capsized in a narrow stretch of the river; his body was only found after an hour. Some 80 people took part in the rescue operation including Austrian and German firefighters. 

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