The Czech police temporarily reinstated border controls on the frontier
with Germany on Saturday in relation to a planned neo-Nazi march in
Dresden. The police checked vehicles at ten Czech-German border crossings
as well as passengers on Germany-bound international trains. Several dozen
police and customs officers took part in the operation, a police
Meanwhile, thousands of anti neo-Nazi protesters, including the Czech minister for human rights and minorities, Michael Kocáb, prevented the extremists from marching through the city of Dresden on Saturday. Around 4,000 right-wing extremists gathered in the city to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden during which an estimated 25,000 people died, most of them civilians.
Ahead of the Winter Olympic Games’ opening ceremony in Vancouver, all four Czech ski jumpers qualified on Friday for the normal hill event. Jakub Janda finished second, Antonín Hájek came in fourth, Roman Koudelka ended 15th and Lukáš Hlava 47th. The first medal event gets underway on Saturday. The Czech Team’s ski jumping coach said the team met the first goal by qualifying, while the best Czech Jakub Janda said he hoped to do even better in the upcoming contest.
The Vatican appointed Dominik Duka the new archbishop of Prague, church
officials said on Saturday. Dominik Duka, the current bishop of the Hradec
Králové diocese, will succeed Cardinal Miloslav Vlk as the head of the
Czech Roman Catholic Church. The new, 36th archbishop of Prague will
his office within two months, the archbishopric said. Cardinal Vlk, who is
77, filed for retirement in 2007 but the Holy See only accepted his
resignation three years later. The newly appointed archbishop of Prague
said his priorities included the finalization of church property
restitution as well as the adoption of an international treaty between the
Czech Republic and the Vatican.
Dominik Duka, who is 67, is a member of the Dominican Order. As a priest, he was persecuted by the communist regime and jailed for two years in the 1980s. He became the bishop of Hradec Králové in 1998.
Officials at a Czech zoo in Dvůr Králové nad Labem have revealed they had no choice but to put down a valuable Siberian tiger this week due to rapidly worsening health. The tiger, named Semjon, was born in a zoo in Munich, Germany in 1992 and transferred to the Czech Republic in 1995. He had suffered a long-term kidney disease which was no longer treatable. The zoo retains one more specimen of the big cat, an 11-year-old female. Zoo officials have said they would be searching for a mate for the animal, to try and breed new specimens in captivity.
The Czech daily Mladá fronta Dnes has reported that the former Czech government considered buying up to 20 million doses of the swine flu vaccine for the country of some ten million, before the contract was halted at the last moment by interim Prime Minister Jan Fischer. The Czech Republic eventually decided on a million vaccines at a cost of around 220 million crowns (the equivalent of around 11.5 million US dollars). By halting the deal Mladá fronta writes that the Czech government narrowly avoided a situation similar to that of France or Belgium, which ordered numbers larger than their populations and have now been unable to make use of all the vaccines (originally, it was thought two doses per person would be required). Interim Prime Minister Jan Fischer reportedly opposed the deal as it would have been agreed without a tender. Meanwhile the firm that was considered, Baxter, reportedly would not have been responsible for any vaccine side-effects.
The right-of-centre Civic Democratic Party has said it wants the
country’s interim prime minister, Jan Fischer, and parties to agree on
holding no further parliamentary sessions except on issues with a broad
political consensus until the national election in May. The party’s
deputy chairman Petr Nečas made the statement on Friday, stressing that
the Chamber of Deputies should only debate bills necessary for the running
of the state and the economy. He also charged that the rival Social
Democrats were conducting what he called an “irresponsible” election
campaign by trying to push through programmes that would balloon the state
budget deficit. Recent sessions have seen the Civic Democrats repeatedly
use delay tactics to block the political Left from passing measures that
would increase salaries (through 13th month pay) and maternity leave
In related news, the Social Democrats agreed on Friday afternoon after the latest session was dissolved that they would also be willing to negotiate with other parties and the prime minister on the easing of current obstruction in Parliament, and find common ground on major issues until the election. At the same time, they suggested, they would continue pushing their own priorities.
Czech footballer Tomáš Ujfaluší and his team Atletico Madrid have booked their place in the final of the Spanish cup. In Thursday night’s return leg match Atletico lost 2:3 away against Santander but went through on the basis of their first leg 4:0 home win. They will face Seville in the final. The appearance in the final is also likely to guarantee a place in the Europa League competition even if they lose.
Three children and six adults suffered light injuries in a Czech bus travelling from Zlín to Slovakia on Friday when the vehicle collided in Slovakia with a lorry, near the towns of Sereď and Galant. A police spokesman said that the driver of the bus prevented a head-on collision through quick reflexes, quickly yanking the steering wheel but impact was nevertheless not avoided. The bus, which was carrying 40 people, mostly children, ended up in a ditch. The driver of the lorry was the only injured party to remain in hospital. The Czech bus had been travelling through Slovakia to a spa town in Hungary; later on Friday a replacement vehicle returned the travellers to the Czech Republic.
Czechs voting from abroad in the upcoming election will be able to choose from among candidates in the region of South Bohemia, the Interior Ministry has announced. South Bohemia was chosen in a draw held by the State Electoral Commission, out of a possible 14 regions. Expatriates and Czechs abroad for the short-term have so far been able to vote in two previous national elections, in 2002 and in 2006. The first time voters were allotted South Moravia, the second, South Bohemia. Roughly 3,800 out of some 70,000 potential voters abroad took part in the vote in 2002.
President Václav Klaus received the Vatican ambassador to the Czech Republic Diego Causero on Friday at Prague Castle, reportedly to discuss the Vatican’s naming of a successor to replace the outgoing Prague archbishop, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk. It is accepted protocol for heads-of-state to be informed of the Vatican’s decision prior to the official announcement. Unofficial sources have claimed that Cardinal Vlk could be succeeded by Hradec Králové’s Bishop Dominik Duka; the Vatican could make an official announcement on Saturday. The bishop’s office, meanwhile, has not commented. In the past, the 66-year-old Bishop Duka was reserved when it came to speculation he might be named, saying it would be suitable for a younger candidate – one less impacted by the former totalitarian regime – to be chosen.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”