Thousands of people gathered in Prague’s Old Town Square on Sunday to
pay their respects to ice hockey stars Karel Rachůnek, Jan Marek and Josef
Vašíček, the three Czech players who were killed in a plane crash near
the Russian city of Yaroslavl on Wednesday. The official commememorative
ceremony was moderated by Czech TV sports commentator Robert Zárub and
opened by ten minutes of silence in honor of the plane crash victims. A
sermon by Prague Archbishop Dominik Duka followed. The president of the
Czech ice hockey federation Tomáš Král, famous ice hockey players such
as Jaromír Jágr, Patrick Eliáš as well as the coaches Alois Hadamczik
and Vladimír Růžička attended the ceremony. As a tribute to the three
deceased players, their numbers – Rachůnek’s four, Marek’s 15 and
Vašíček’s 63 – will not be used by the Czech national team in the
On Wednesday, a Yak-42 plane came down shortly after take off from the Russian city of Yaroslavl and burst into flames. The players were taking off for Minsk for the first match of the season. Among the 43 victims were Russian and European hockey players.
The Czech athlete Barbora Špotáková ended her season with a win in the javelin at the ISTAF meeting in Berlin on Sunday. Špotáková came first with a throw of 67.14 meters, more than two meters further than local favorite Christina Obergföll. The Czech, who is 30, recently took silver at the Athletics World Championship. She is the current Olympic champion and holds the women’s world record in the javelin.
Six people, three of them police officers, were injured in demonstrations
and gatherings organized by the Workers Party for Social Justice in the
North Bohemian towns of Varnsdorf, Rumburk and Nový Bor on Saturday. A
total of 41 were arrested. In Varnsdorf, locals joined supporters of the
extremist party in an impromptu march to a Romany neighborhood, where a
police unit intervened and prevented clashes. The police mission is
estimated to have cost hundreds of thousands of crowns. A total of three
four hundred far-right extremists attended the demonstrations, with some
supporters of the party coming from abroad. Interior Minister Jan Kubice
and the deputy chief of police Vladislav Husák were also present in Nový
Ahead of the extremists’ gathering, the government’s human rights commissioner, Monika Šimůnková, called on residents of the three towns to not buy into the arguments of radicals and to carefully consider their participation. For days, police have maintained a state of readiness in the area due to assemblies and demonstrations provoked by tensions between ethnic Czechs and Romanies, which have escalated over the past month.
A large-capacity poultry farm in the Moravian-Silesian Bruntál region caught fire on Saturday afternoon. Some 7000 chickens were killed in the fire, which was most likely caused by a technical problem with a conveyor belt. Firefighters assisted employees in saving the chickens; roughly 2600 survived the incident. Damages are estimated to reach a million Czech crowns.
Commemorative events marking the 10-year-anniversary of the terrorist
attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, are being held
across the Czech capital. On Prague’s island Strelecký ostrov, an
all-day concert against fear is taking place. In the afternoon, a
commemoration of firefighters and paramedics killed on 9/11 will be held
Kampa island. Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra and other important
political figures are expected to attend a gathering with the motto
"Together Against Terrorism" at Jungman square in the afternoon.
In the evening, a flag ceremony will be held at Prague castle, followed by a memorial service at St. George’s basilica. Czech and American officials have organized a commemorative event to mark the tenth anniversary of 9-11 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Černínský Palác) at 6 p.m. Headlining the program will be the classic Czech underground band Plastic People of the Universe. An exhibition of photographs by Jan Šibík showing the aftermath of the attacks in New York will be on display, as will a new exhibit on Czech contributions to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. The event is being organized by the Czech Foreign and Defense Ministries in cooperation with the American Center and is open to the public.
Retired Czech football star Tomáš Skuhravý is among six people charged with stealing dozens of luxury cars in the Czech Republic and Germany, the website of TV Nova reported. Police would only confirm that one of those charged was a former international soccer player. Mr. Skuhravý, who is 46, spent much of a successful career at the Italian club Genoa. He still lives in the city, where he works as a pundit on a local TV station. Nicknamed the “bomber”, the 6ft 4in striker won 43 caps with Czechoslovakia and six with the Czech Republic.
Prime Minister Nečas and several cabinet members will be visiting Israel next week for high-level meetings. The government announced the aim of the two-day visit as strengthening partnership and collaboration between the two countries, particularly with regards to science and technology, research and development, and innovation. The delegation is scheduled to meet with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the business community. The upcoming UN vote on Palestinian membership in the organization will likely also be on the table, with the Czech Republic having been reported in the Israeli media as being one of five Western European states that plans to vote against the motion. The Czech government has thus far refused to state publicly its position on the matter.
A military plane carrying the bodies of three Czech ice hockey stars who were killed in a tragic plane crash near the Russian city of Yaroslavl on Wednesday arrived at Prague’s military airport Kbely in the early hours of Saturday. The president of the Czech ice hockey federation, Tomáš Král, as well as relatives of the deceased players received the bodies of Karel Rachůnek, Jan Marek and Josef Vašíček at the airport, from where they will be transported to their families. The public will pay their respects to the three Czech victims of this week’s tragic air accident on Sunday afternoon at Old Town Square in Prague. The ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. On Wednesday, a passenger plane carrying almost all of the Russian hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl went down near the city’s airport and caught fire. The crash caused 43 deaths; one person is reported to have survived, though he is in critical condition with severe burns.
The Indian elephant cub Rashmi, born in Ostrava zoo in April, was "christened" in an inflatable paddling pool on Saturday. Rashmi, Indian for ray of sun, is only the second such animal to be born in one of the country’s zoos. Indian elephants are threatened by extinction, with only around 55,000 specimens living in the wild. Ostrava zoo’s elephant pavilion was built in 2004 and cost 85 million Czech crowns.
In related news, during a police inspection of a bus in which far-right extremists were traveling to Saturday’s demonstration in North Bohemia, one of the passengers got out of the bus and shot a blank firing revolver at the officers. The perpetrator was arrested. The event happened on Saturday afternoon, a police spokeswoman said. Roughly twelve firearms were confiscated in the inspecting of the bus.
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