Over 1,000 people watched a free live screening of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka live from the New York Metropolitan Opera on a Prague square on Saturday evening. Rusalka was the first Czech opera to feature in the popular series, which is beamed to cinemas and other venues around the world. A spokesperson for the company that runs such projections in the Czech Republic, Aerofilms, said the technical quality of the screening on Náměstí Republiky was below that achievable in a cinema but that they had attempted to create the best possible conditions for the open air event.
A senior Christian Democrat says the leaders of his party, the Social Democrats and ANO should meet early next week to discuss a joint position on a Communist-tabled vote to remove a law preventing those who collaborated with the pre-1989 secret police from holding high office. Agriculture Minister Marian Jurečka said on a TV debate show on Sunday that the other parties in the government had promised his Christian Democrats they would seek to preserve the current legislation. However, the Social Democrats and ANO have said they will not instruct their deputies on how to vote on the matter. The Christian Democrats said on Friday they would quit the coalition – which is set to seek confidence on February 18 – if the bill made it into a second reading.
The Facebook page of a group that makes fun of the local authorities in the Czech Republic’s second city Brno has been removed after a complaint was lodged by a lawyer acting for Mayor Roman Onderka. The “Žít Brno” page, which had 17,000 fans, disappeared on Friday night. Neither the mayor nor his lawyer was available for comment. The group had “hijacked” what they regarded as a nonsensical official city slogan (“Žít Brno” translates roughly as “Live Brno” but does not make grammatical sense) and parodied local officials, including Mr. Onderka.
Mr. Sobotka will also visit Brussels before the end of February. His spokesman, Martin Ayrer, said on Saturday that the prime minister’s visit to the centre of the European Union would signal a turnaround in Czech policy with regard to the idea of further European integration. No details of the visit have been released, but it is likely Mr. Sobotka will go to Brussels soon after his government seeks confidence in the Chamber of Deputies on February 18.
Temperatures in the coming month could reach as high as 13 degrees Celsius, according to a monthly outlook published by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute on Saturday. Thermometers could record up to 13 centigrade in the coming week, forecasters said, adding that the entire four-week period in question should see above-average temperatures. However, temperatures will also fall sharply at times, possibly reaching about -10 degrees Celsius during the day.
The Czech team at the Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi have taken their first medal, bronze for Jaroslav Soukup in the 10 kilometre sprint in the biathlon. Soukup, who is 31, finished seven tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival to reach the podium, while another Czech, Ondřej Moravec, finished eighth in Saturday’s event. The Czech Republic took six medals at the last Winter Olympics, in Vancouver.
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, will visit Slovakia on Thursday in what the Czech News Agency said would be his first bilateral foreign trip since becoming head of government. Mr. Sobotka, who made a brief visit to Hungary for a Visegrad Four meeting soon after his government was appointed, will hold talks with his Slovak opposite number, Robert Fico of the left-leaning Smer, with whom he said he enjoyed long-term friendly relations. Mr. Sobotka said the two would discuss among other issues the holding of a joint session of both countries’ governments.
Czech Airlines has dropped a plan to have its new uniforms designed by the local fashion designer Blanka Matragi. A spokesperson said the reason for the rethink was a disagreement between the designer and CSA over the contract for the uniforms. For her part, Matragi said the deal on the table would not have allowed her to express her artistic vision. The airline will now either hire a different designer or stick with its current outfits.
The Czech House at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was officially opened on Saturday. The Czech Olympic HQ is considerably more modest than its equivalent at the London Summer Olympics, partly because 50,000 Czech live in the UK capital and none live in Sochi, the chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee, Jiří Kejval, said at the official launch. The Czech House was opened by the country’s president, Miloš Zeman, and the head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Dominik Duka.
The Plzen branch of the Civic Democratic Party is losing more members following the departure of former justice minister Jiri Pospíšil. Mr. Pospíšil, who was a leading figure of the party’s Plzen branch for 14 years, announced his departure last week citing loss of support from the party’s central leadership. Ten more party members have left in his wake and others are expected to follow. The Civic Democrats suffered a humiliating defeat in October’s general election following a corruption scandal that brought down the Civic Democrat-led, centre-right government last summer.
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