Events commemorating the 62nd anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe have been held around the Czech Republic. In Prague President Vaclav Klaus, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek and other senior dignitaries paid tribute to those who fell during the war at the national memorial on Vitkov hill. After the national anthem and a minute's silence, soldiers carrying military flags marched past in single file before wreaths were laid. Later at Prague Castle the president appointed four new generals, while around 250 new soldiers were sworn in.
The Czech Republic will face Russia in the quarter-finals of the World Ice Hockey Championships, after Russia beat Sweden in their last group game on Monday. The Czechs are set to take on the hosts at 2:15 CET on Wednesday. The Czech Republic beat Russia at the same point in last year's World Championships before going on to come second in the tournament.
Twenty-four people have died on the rails of the Prague Metro during the last five years, said a spokesperson for the city's transport authority. The vast majority, 22, were men. 2004 was the worst year, with 11 people losing their lives in the Metro. In 2006 111 people fell onto the tracks - five of them were attempting suicide. Police last year arrested six youths on charges of moving between wagons while trains were in motion.
Members of the far-right National Party held a demonstration against the Sudeten German Landsmanschaft in Prague on Tuesday. Around 30 members of the fringe party marched past the office of the Sudeten German grouping on Mala Strana carrying Czech flags and signs saying "The Expulsion was Right", referring to the expulsion of Germans from Czechoslovakia after the war. The demonstrators also called for an end to positive discrimination and advantages for "Gypsies".
A Second World War tram went into operation in the Moravian capital on Tuesday. The renovated tram is set to run daily from now until the end of the tourist season, said a spokesperson for the Brno transport authority. It also owns a much older tram called Caroline, which is said to be the only working steam tram in central Europe. The steam tram leaves its depot rarely, sometimes being used during charity events.
A national road haulage association says lay-bys on Czech motorways lack around 2,000 parking places for trucks - more than the current number of parking places. A spokesperson for hauliers' group Cesmad said more places were needed after the introduction last year of a ban on trucks on Fridays during the summer period. A representative of the Czech roads' authority said there were more lay-bys than in neighbouring countries, but admitted they were smaller in the Czech Republic. The focus in recent years has been on building fewer but bigger and better equipped lay-bys.
The production of solar power in the Czech Republic has hit record levels recently thanks to unusually sunny weather for the time of year. For instance the country's biggest solar power station at Busanovice in south Bohemia produced twice the amount of electricity its operators would normally expect in April. At the same time the amount of power produced by the country's solar stations is negligible. The Temelin nuclear power station generates as much in 25 minutes as Busanovice does in a whole year.
Railway workers' unions are set to take a strong stand against public finance reforms being put forward by the government. They are mainly opposed to a planned increase in taxation of the cheap tickets and food they receive. Union boss Jaromir Dusek said not even Hitler had taken such advantages from rail workers. Speaking after talks with opposition leader Jiri Paroubek on Tuesday, Mr Dusek said his union was discussing joint action with the Confederation of Trade Unions.
On Sunday the liberation of the west Bohemian city of Pilsen by US troops on May 6, 1945 was remembered in a celebration at the "Thanks, America!" memorial. A number of veterans of the liberation took part in the event attended also by the prime minister, several cabinet members and other state officials as well as the ambassadors of the United States and Belgium. Tuesday May 8th - Victory in Europe Day - is a national holiday in the Czech Republic.
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