The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is opening up the gardens of its baroque Prague headquarters, Černínský Palace, to stage a celebration of the country’s 10 year membership of the EU. The palace will be open from 10.00 am to 16.00 pm for guided tours with the garden events, including a concert by the band, Buty, starting at 17.30 pm. Exhibitions on Southeast Europe and 10 years of Czech EU membership will also take place in the gardens.
Montreal forward Tomáš Plekanec opened the scoring in Game 3 of the Canadiens’ second-round match-up against Boston on Tuesday – his third goal of the playoffs so far. The Canadiens dominated, spurred by a breakaway goal by P.K. Subban, at one point leading 3-0 at the Bell Centre before Boston clawed back to make it 3-2. Montreal scored an empty-netter in the dying minutes to settle matters at 4-2. The Candiens lead the series 2-1.
Hundreds of people including war veterans and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and other politicians attended an event in Plzeň on Tuesday evening marking the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the West Bohemian city at the end of WWII. The gathering, held at a monument entitled Thanks, America!, was the culmination of the five-day Celebration of Freedom. Plzeň was liberated by the US army on May 6 1945.
The widower of 1980s pop star Iveta Bartošová is suspected of complicity in her suicide, the TV station Prima reported on Tuesday evening, quoting a state attorney. Josef Rychtář could face up to three years in jail if found guilty of the charge. Bartošová, who was 48, threw herself under a train on the outskirts of Prague on Tuesday last week. In recent years her career had been in decline and she was a staple of the Czech tabloid media.
The German president, Joachim Gauck, visited the former WWII ghetto and concentration camp at Terezín in central Bohemia on Tuesday afternoon. He was accompanied by his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, who said Mr. Gauck’s visit followed logically from his 2012 visit to Lidice. The German head of state viewed the small fortress at Terezín, which the Prague Gestapo used as a prison. Around 155,000 people, almost all of the Jewish, passed through Terezín in the course of the war; nearly 120,000 died, around 35,000 of them at Terezín itself. Prague’s Rabbi Karel Sidon, who brought Tuesday’s memorial ceremony to a close, said he regarded Mr. Gauck’s visit not as a mere gesture but an expression of interest. The German head of state is on a three-day state visit to the Czech Republic.
The authorities in Prague say they will not pay the amount demanded by the company eMoneyServices to continue licensing the Opencard, an electronic card used for travel and other services in the city. Mayor Tomáš Hudeček said on Tuesday that an offer it received from eMoneyServices was unacceptable. He said City Hall was preparing a tender process to select a new card system; such a move would evidently put paid to the controversial Opencard, which has cost close to CZK 1.2 billion.
The opening concert of this year’s Prague Spring International Music Festival will be a tribute to the great Czech conductor Rafael Kubelík, who was born 100 years ago in June and died in 1996. Next Monday’s curtain raiser, featuring the traditional My Country by Smetana, will be performed by the Czech Philharmonic helmed by Jiří Bělohlávek. Kubelík conducted the first ever Prague Spring opening concert in 1946 and, after his return from exile, the first after the fall of Communism, in 1990. Six pieces by Czech composers will receive their world premiere in the first week of the Prague Spring, which runs until June 2 and is being held for the 69th time.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, has signed into law legislation requiring that soldiers serve at least 90 days in a conflict zone before they can be considered war veterans. Previously they were defined as veterans after 30 days of such service. The minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said the move would help maintain the high moral credit attached to the status of war veteran. Soldiers who take part in operations with a lower security risk must serve 360 days to qualify as vets.
The Czech Republic may fail to draw on up CZK 10 billion of European Union funding available for research and development projects, the minister of education, Marcel Chládek, said on Tuesday. Mr. Chládek said he hoped to cut that figure by around CZK 4 billion. Previous estimates had suggested that around CZK 7.5 billion of potential EU funding for that area would not be accessed. A programme for research and development administered by the Ministry of Education is building six major scientific centres around the country. However, legislation on public tenders was complicating the use of EU money for those projects, Mr. Chládek said.
The German occupation of the Czech lands was the sad culmination of the two nations’ coexistence, the German president, Joachim Gauck, said in Prague on Tuesday. Speaking to students at Charles University on the second day of a state visit, Mr. Gauck said the post-war expulsion of ethnic Germans had been the final act of that drama. He praised the work of young Czech academics and others in exploring that subject, and commended the Czech recognition of Sudeten German resisters in 2005.
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