A passenger train en route from Březová nad Svitavou to Křenovice, in southern Moravia, caught fire in the early hours of Saturday. All passengers and crew were evacuated in time. Although fire fighters were at the site of the accident within minutes the fire is reported to have caused considerable damage, now estimated at around half a million crowns. The cause of the accident is being investigated. The route was re-opened to traffic by 9am.
Extremist parties in the Czech Republic have managed to rally more supporters through social networks, according to an Interior Ministry report to be debated by the government next Wednesday. Extremist parties both right and left are using the Internet to drum up support especially among the young generation, the report says. Right-wing extremists in particular have increased their activities through social networking, holding 48 neo-Nazi concerts in 2012 as opposed to just 18 the previous year. Right wing extremists also maintain close contacts with similar organizations abroad, particularly in neighbouring Germany and Slovakia.
Close to two hundred people attended a commemorative ceremony for the victims of communism at Prague’s Motol crematorium on Saturday. The event, organized by the Confederation of Political Prisoners, was attended by leading top officials, former dissidents and families of the deceased. Speaking near a mass grave where the communists buried those whom they executed, tortured to death or shot at the country’s borders, the speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Miroslava Nemcová, said the past must never be forgotten and warned against efforts to belittle the crimes of the communist regime.
Preparatory work for extensive repairs on the D1 highway from Prague to Brno has had to be postponed due to heavy rain. Workers were due to mark restrictions for drivers on several stretches of the road in preparation for channeling traffic into a single lane. The country’s main highway will remain open to traffic throughout its reconstruction due to concerns that de-tours would immeasurably burden surrounding towns and villages. The speed limit along the stretches where work is underway will be lowered to 80 km per hour.
Close to 100 Romany representatives from around the Czech Republic are meeting in Prague to finalize preparations for the establishment of the Romany Democratic Party. The head of the preparatory committee Miroslav Tancos told the CTK news agency the circumstances of the Romany minority would not improve unless it was represented in politics. There are around 250,000 Romanies living in the Czech Republic and a third of them live in slums. A vast number of Romanies are unemployed. An earlier Romany party, set up in 2005, was dissolved by the Supreme Administrative court two years ago, for failing to meet the conditions stipulated by law.
President Miloš Zeman is reported to be feeling better and plans to attend the opening of the Prague Spring Music Festival on Sunday night, his spokeswoman Hana Burianová said on Saturday. The president’s office reported on Friday that President Zeman was suffering from a viral infection and would need a few days’ rest. Mr. Zeman appeared unwell and was visibly unstable at Thursday’s ceremony of bringing the crown jewels out of storage, sparking speculation regarding the cause of the problem.
An ultra light plane carrying two people crashed into a training facility near Vrchlabi Airport, eastern Bohemia, shortly after mid-day on Saturday. The pilot and passenger, both German nationals, suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to hospital in Hradec Kralove. The training facility used by the airport was empty at the time of the accident and no other injuries have been reported.
Petr Mlsna, head of the government’s legislative council, who was nominated for the post of judge of the European Court of Justice has not been approved for the post by the respective EU committee. Mlsna was nominated for the post by the Czech government to replace Judge Irena Pelikánová, whose six-year term in office expires at the end of August. The position will need to be filled in early September. The Nečas cabinet will now have to make a new nomination. A committee of former EU judges evaluates the candidates' legal education, work experience, language proficiency and personality.
Divers on Friday found the body of the last victim of a tragic boat ride down the Morava River. Two men and a six-year-old girl set off in a rubber boat on May 1st and were reported missing by relatives later that day. Their capsized boat was located soon after but it took the police eight days to retrieve the bodies. Rafting or boating the country’s rivers is a popular activity in the spring and summer and the authorities have issued repeated warnings to people to adhere to safety regulations, avoid dangerous stretches and not risk their lives unnecessarily.
Pope Francis will not attend July’s celebrations of the 1150th jubilee of Saints Cyril and Methodius at Velehrad, south Moravia, though he will send an envoy in his stead, the Vatican said on Friday. The chosen legate is reported to be Archbishop Josip Bosanovic. The celebrations at the pilgrimage site of Velehrad will mark the saints’ arrival in the Great Moravian Empire in 863. Ss Cyril and Methodius came from Thessaloniki to spread the Christian faith and lay the foundations of written culture.
New foreigners’ law to change conditions for non-EU nationals
Czech foreign ministry reports record number of visa applications
Restaurant tells visitors to “clear their plates” or pay a 50 crown fine for wasting food
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