In related news, the mayor of Lidice, Veronika Kellerová, said she considered the letter a gesture of reconciliation. She said that she was pleased that the German president had written such a letter on occasion of the 70-year-anniversary of the massacre. Others were less positive, such as survivor Pavel Horešovský, who as a child was forcibly removed from the village and sent to Germany for “re-education”. He said that he was waiting for an official apology from Germany to this day.
Doctors from Prague’s IKEM, the institute for experimental medicine, have succeeded in a unique operation. A young man with a heart tumor underwent heart surgery at the Prague center. His heart was replaced by two mechanic pumps, a type of heart surgery that to date only had been performed once before, in Texas. The patient is in stable condition; the operation was a success.
Prague Museum Night kicks off on Saturday evening. Nearly 40 institutions are participating, with a total of 65 spaces open after-hours for the museum night. The event starts at 7 pm and runs until 1 am; special busses are in operation to bring visitors from location to location. Last year, some 180,000 visitors came out for the open night of Prague museums, which takes place for the ninth time this year.
The Czech Republic’s national football team was soundly defeated by
Russia on Friday in the teams’ opening match at Euro 2012. The Russians
were dangerous throughout, building on precision passes and clever plays
that saw them routinely outpace the Czech defense. The Czechs played well
in patches, dominating, for example, in the opening 15 minutes. Still it
was Russia that scored twice in the first half.
The Czechs responded early in the second when Plašil sent a low ball to Václav Pilař who sidestepped Russia’s goalie and put the ball in the net. Soon afterwards, Rosický came close to getting an equalizer but Russian goalie Malafeev stopped his low shot. Russia then regained momentum and added two more to win 4:1.
Speaking on the Czech defeat against Russia in the first EURO 2012 championship game on Friday, national coach Michal Bílek said that of course, the Czech squad was very disappointed with their performance. However, he added, now was the time to show strength and character. The team still had a week to improve its standing in the competition. He said that he would analyze mistakes made in the first match; but then, it was time to move on.
The lower house of Czech Parliament on Friday approved Croatia’s EU accession treaty; 151 out of 164 deputies present voted in favour. Parliament’s upper house passed the treaty earlier – in April. The Czech government originally planned to link the vote on Croatia’s accession with the vote on the Czech opt-out from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (a part of the Lisbon Treaty). However, that would have complicated the accession treaty’s ratification as the opposition-controlled upper house would most likely reject the opt-out.
German President Joachim Gauck said in a letter to Czech counterpart
Václav Klaus on Friday that Germany was aware of its historical
responsibility for massacres at the Czech villages of Lidice and Ležáky
during World War II. Mr Gauck wrote the letter ahead of the 70th
anniversary of the destruction of Lidice and Ležáky by the Nazis in
retaliation for the assassination of acting Reichsprotector of Bohemia and
Moravia Reinhard Heydrich on May 27, 1942. Heydrich succumbed to wounds
suffered in the attack which was orchestrated by Czech paratroopers.
As a result, Lidice, in Central Bohemia, was obliterated on June 10 and Ležáky, East Bohemia, was burnt to the ground on June 24. In Lidice alone, all 173 men were executed, while most women and children were sent to concentration camps. Some of the children were selected for re-education in Nazi Germany. In his letter, German President Gauck wrote that the despicable acts in Lidice and Ležáky filled him with “deep sorrow and shame”, but cited positive ties between Germany and the Czech Republic today as reason for hope. In response, Václav Klaus thanked his German counterpart, saying that he considered the letter a strong statement and positive gesture.
Education Minister Petr Fiala recalled the head of the Centre for the Preparation of High School Leaving Exams, Pavel Zelený, from his post on Friday over problems with this year’s tests. The minister said that the state exams (which have been the source of continuing controversy) would be scrutinised in an audit, with a group of experts assessing both their presentation and quality. Teachers, students and experts alike have criticised the exams, including how they were marked, saying the methodology used was difficult to decipher and not objective. The EDUin organisation, meanwhile, pointed out that students had not been returned marked work, leaving them unable to contest their results. Pavel Zelený has been replaced at Cermat by Jiří Zíka, the minister said.
The ‘new’ government party LIDEM (For the People) which splintered from Public Affairs earlier this year outlined its programme and key priorities on Friday, putting stress on economic and individual freedom. A representative for the party also revealed that LIDEM was readying to launch a beta-version of a new website on the day. The party was founded by former Public Affairs politicians led by Peake, who defected from Public Affairs after its de facto leader was found guilty in a corruption case. Members loyal to the original party joined the opposition.
Lubomír Zaorálek, a prominent member of the opposition Social Democratic Party, slammed TOP 09 Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek on Friday for allegedly provoking confrontation through aggressive, destructive politics. The politician was referring to an incident a day earlier, when Mr Kalousek appeared before demonstrators at a rally in front of the ministry and attempted to speak but was drowned out by the crowd. He was also spat upon by an anti-government protestor. The finance minister labelled demonstrators “cowards afraid to debate issues”. The Social Democrats’ Lubomír Zaorálek criticised the finance minister for – in his words – trying to similarly ‘steamroll’ over the opposition in the lower house.