The remains of the three Czech soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in
Afghanistan have been flown back to the Czech Republic where they have been
hailed as national heroes.
A special ceremony at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport was attended by President Miloš Zeman who is head of the Czech Armed Forces, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Defence Ministry officials, family and friends. Hundreds of people turned out to pay their last respects.
The three servicemen have been posthumously promoted to the rank of officer and will be buried with military honours. President Milos Zeman will award them with medals of bravery on October 28th, the country’s national holiday.
To date 9,000 Czech soldiers have served in Afghanistan. Thirteen of them were killed. The deadliest attack, in 2014, claimed five lives.
The Czech soldiers killed on Sunday had been patrolling an area about near Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.
Boat traffic was renewed on the Labe River on Wednesday afternoon following
a clean-up operation to remove the debris of a footbridge near Nymburk
which had to be pulled down for safety reasons.
The footbridge was deemed dangerous both to pedestrians and boats passing under it and had been closed to traffic since June.
The Labe is a busy waterway which connects the cities of Melnik, Nymburk and Kolin with Berlin and the Baltic Sea. There is no alternative waterway.
Several dozen people gathered at Studenka ,the site of one of the worst
rail accidents on Czech territory in 2008, to pay homage to the victims and
express their dissatisfaction with the fact that no one has been held
accountable for the tragedy.
Ten years ago today, a bridge undergoing reconstruction unexpectedly collapsed onto the tracks and minutes later an international express train ploughed into the debris. Eight people died in the accident and 95 were injured.
The courts have dealt with the case for nine years now and all those charged have so far been cleared because there was not sufficient proof they were responsible for the tragedy through negligence or otherwise.
People are sending money in aid of the families of the three soldiers
killed in Afghanistan on Sunday. According to the head of the Military
Solidarity Fund, Lenka Šmerdová, news of the soldiers deaths sparked a
strong wave of solidarity with thousands of people sending money to a
special account. Over 1.2 million crowns has been collected so far.
People’s hearts have gone out in particular to the young widow of Corporal Kamil Beneš who gave birth to their first child – a son – just a week after her husband left on his mission. He never got to see his three months old baby.
The Defence Ministry is also providing for the families.
The number of tourists in Czech hotels, hostels and camps rose to 5.5
million in the second quarter, a 4.6 percent increase year-on-year, the
Czech Statistics Office reported.
The data indicate that the increase is also due to a higher number of Czechs holidaying at home. There has been a 7.9 percent increase in Czech holiday makers, the number of foreign visitors increased by 1.6 percent.
The biggest number of foreign tourists are from Germany, who make up a fifth of all foreign visitors, followed by tourists from Slovakia and China. Tourist figures have been rising for five years in succession now.
After steadily dropping for five straight months, the unemployment rate
rose slightly in July to 3.1 per cent. However, seasonal factors are behind
the increase, including the entry of new high school graduates on the
According to the Labour Office, the number of unemployed is in fact at its lowest level since 1997 for the month of July.
The number of vacancies now stands at nearly 310,000 and only three regions have more jobseekers than openings: the Ústecký region in northwestern Bohemia and the Moravian-Silesian and South Moravian regions in the east of the country.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček (Social Democrats) has proposed the budget
for the state-controlled postal service be tripled to 1.5 billion crowns.
Česká pošta, which employs about 30,000 people, has more than 1,300 vacancies due to low wages, he said during a visit on Tuesday of the service’s biggest processing centre.
Last year, the average salary at Česká pošta was about 5,000 crowns below the national average, Mr Hamáček said.
Prague archaeologists have removed the nearly 1,000-year-old remains of
what are thought to be Přemyslid princes from the St. Stephen's
cloisters in Olomouc.
It is believed that among the interned skeletons were those of Ota I, the Prince of Olomouc from 1061 until his death, and his wife Euphemia, a daughter of King Béla I of Hungary.
Researchers discovered a number of coffins at the Olomouc site only last year, and comprehensive testing has yet to be carried out.
Czech utility ČEZ's second quarter revenues and profit dropped
sharply despite increased electricity production due to higher wholesale
electricity and emissions prices after forward selling production at lower
levels. ČEZ said however that the hit from its hedging operations should
dissipate in the second half of the year.
The Prague-listed company’s revenues dropped to 40.9 billion crowns in the second quarter, compared with 48.1 billion in the same period in 2017. Net profit for the quarter dropped to 0.5 billion crowns taking half-year net profit to 7.7 billion crowns, down 54% compared year on year.