News Hundreds honour memory of Czechs murdered in Ležáky

22-06-2014 15:36 | Jan Velinger

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.

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Number of anti-Semitic incidents on the rise

05-05-2015 11:16 | Daniela Lazarová

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the Czech Republic has increased five-fold in the last four years, according to the Jewish Community in Prague. The community says it recorded 234 anti-Semitic incidents last year, including physical attacks on individuals, hate speech and vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and synagogues. Although the police have registered fewer incidents, a spokeswoman for the Jewish community says this is because they only register anti-Semitic incidents involving crime. 

Prague marks 70th anniversary of Prague Uprising

05-05-2015 11:15 | Daniela Lazarová

The Czech capital is marking the 70th anniversary of the Prague Uprising. On May 5th of 1945 Prague citizens rose up against the collapsing Nazi regime and some 3,000 people were killed in the fighting before Russian troops liberated the city four days later. Among the key remembrance events is a ceremony at Czech Radio, which played a crucial role in the uprising, a video mapping event on Old Town Square and a concert for 1,800 people at Prague’s Congress Centre. 

Foreign Minister says president will back policy roadmap

05-05-2015 09:38 | Jan Velinger

Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, in a policy debate in Prague on Monday, said Czech President Miloš Zeman has read – and will approve – a new proposed foreign policy concept. The foreign minister is to officially unveil the new foreign policy road map by the end of July. If it is passed by the government it will still have to be approved by Parliament. An earlier draft was criticised for taking a soft stance on human rights and veering away from principles championed by the late ex-president and former dissident Václav Havel. Mr Zaorálek said he wanted to “work with” Mr Havel’s human rights legacy. 

Hockey: Czech team loses to Canada at Worlds

05-05-2015 06:14 | Jan Velinger

The Czech Republic lost 6-3 to Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championship in Prague on Monday in a contest which was close for the first two periods. The Czechs managed to tie the game briefly in the second at two goals apiece but Canada scored soon after and dominated in the third. Canada has not lost a point in the tournament so far, the host team Czechs picked up four points in an earlier win and loss in overtime; the squad faces France next. 

Czech-Bavarian exhibition to highlight life of Charles IV next year

04-05-2015 17:17 | Jan Velinger

A Czech-Bavarian exhibition in Prague and Nuremberg will highlight the life of Charles IV, king of Bohemia and Holy Roman emperor on the 700th anniversary of his birth next year, the Czech and Bavarian culture ministers, Daniel Herman and Ludwig Spaenle announced in Prague on Monday. Herman and Spaenle signed a memorandum on cooperation in the field of culture. The exhibition is being organised by the National Gallery in Prague together with the Nuremberg-based Museum of Bavarian History and German National Museum. The Czech cabinet will discuss the project, including its financing and the appointment of a Czech commissioner, at its meeting on Wednesday. The exhibition, which has been under preparation for the last three years, will focus on Charles IV (1316-1378) and his period, but will also highlight developments in Bohemia and Bavaria since Charles IV´s era to the present. 

PM Sobotka calls for fast rail link to Berlin

04-05-2015 16:56 | Jan Velinger

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has called for the Czech Republic and Germany to back a high rail link between Prague and Berlin. Sobotka’s call came in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Monday. As well as the fast link to Berlin, Prague is also pushing for a high speed rail link to Munich. Critics point out though that the current plans only commit to an upgrade of the existing rail route and not a specially built stretch of track that could take the fastest trains. Separately, the Czech prime minister said that the D8 motorway link to Dresden from the Czech capital should be finished in 2018 after a missing Czech section is completed. He also said Prague is in favour of the Elbe river remaining navigable all the way to the North Sea. Chancellor Merkel said that the environmental aspects of this still have to be considered but a standpoint should be taken in the next years. 

Hockey: Czech team holding two spots on roster

04-05-2015 16:47 | Jan Velinger

The coach of the Czech national hockey team, Vladimír Růžička, is reportedly leaving two spots open on the squad’s roster at the Worlds in Prague and Ostrava for additional players. A member of the coaching staff told Czech TV that members were hoping Montreal Canadiens’ forward Tomáš Plekanec might be available – if his team failed to advance to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Montreal dug itself into a hole against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday and now trails 2:0 in their best-of-seven series heading back to Tampa. Some contact has been made but the team’s assistant coach Ondřej Weissmann made clear the matter was being handled with a light touch, as Plekanec’s main focus was to help his hockey club. The 32-year-old forward and his wife, Czech pop singer Lucie Vondráčková, are also expecting their second child in the coming days. 

Trust in European Union highest in four years

04-05-2015 16:25 | Jan Velinger

Trust in the European Union among Czechs at the beginning of April was the highest in four years, a poll by the CVVM agency suggests. Fifty-two percent of respondents replied in the affirmative – up from 49 percent a year ago. The polling agency reported that trust in the EU had slowly shifted away from the mood in the years 2009 – 2012. That period coincided with centre-right governments in the country and the second presidency of Václav Klaus, who has long been highly critical of the EU, specifically greater federalization. 

Hockey Worlds: Czech Republic faces Team Canada

04-05-2015 13:51 | Jan Velinger

The Czech national hockey team faces Team Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championships on Monday. Canada, one of the favourites in the tournament, has been on a roll in the championships so far, clinching two wins in two match-ups. On Sunday, the team crushed Germany 10:0. The Czechs lost their first match against Sweden in a penalty shootout and rebounded 4:2 against Latvia. Ondřej Pavelec, who plays for the Winnipeg Jets in the NHL, is expected to start in net. This year’s Worlds are taking place in Prague and Ostrava. 

Dukovany priority for new nuclear reactor says minister

04-05-2015 13:21 | Jan Velinger

Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek said Monday that the Czech Republic should push for its next new nuclear reactor to be constructed at the Dukovany site so that it could start to replace the four units that will be gradually phased out there from 2035 onwards. He pointed out that the local region around Třebíč was actively campaigning in favour of new nuclear capacity, which was not the case with the Temelín area. He said that if a specially formed ČEZ daughter company was created to push ahead with construction, then a foreign shareholder, probably the nuclear technology provider, could take a shareholding of up to 49 percent. Mládek said he did not think Russian companies should be excluded from a new Czech nuclear construction tender, but he said he doubted their chances to win it. 

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