A number of ceremonies in Prague taking place throughout Sunday
commemorated the 68th anniversary of the Czech uprising against the Nazi
occupation at the end of World War Two. Defense Minister Vlastimil Picek
and Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda attended a remembrance ceremony for
who died during the uprising, which was started by the Czech resistance on
May 5th, 1945. President Miloš Zeman and top-level politicians attended
traditional ceremony in front of the main Czech Radio building on
Vinohradská street, where the first conflict between the German SS units
and members of the resistance and Czech police took place and 89 people
died during the fighting. The Czech Radio broadcast on May 5 calling for
Czechs to defend Prague is said to have set-off the uprising.
Celebrations in the west Bohemian Plzeň marking the anniversary of its liberation by American troops on May 6, 1945 have been taking place since Friday. On Sunday, Plzeň is hosting a traditional procession of historical military vehicles, gatherings of war veterans and re-enactments of military life during World War Two.
Cardinal Domink Duka led a Mass at the St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle on Sunday dedicated to mass media, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the beginning of television broadcasting in Czechoslovakia. In his sermon, Cardinal Duka expressed his hope that television programs would always be truthful and would not fall victim to external pressures. The director of Czech Television, Petr Dvořák, and other leading personalities from the public television broadcaster attended the Sunday Mass.
Former labour and social affairs minister Jaromír Drábek (TOP 09) said on the Sunday television talk show Partie on Prima Family channel that those who want to discontinue the current S-Card social benefits payment scheme should pay for the loses this will cost the state. Mr Drábek, who introduced the new system last year, said it will save the state up to three billion crowns in the next 12 years, which is the duration of the current contract between the ministry and the Česká spořitelna bank that is administering distribution of welfare payments through the S-Card. Prime Minister Petr Nečas called on the current Labour Minister Ludmilla Mullerová (TOP 09) to terminate the highly criticized scheme last week, and the cabinet rejected a proposal to maintain the S-Card system on Thursday.
A former advisor to former president Václav Klaus, Pavel Hasenkopf, said that he handed over evidence of who authored the New Year’s presidential amnesty to the current president’s office. The lawyer, who claimed last week that the Justice Ministry took part in putting the text of the amnesty together, said on the Questions of Václav Moravec Sunday talk show that it is now up to President Miloš Zeman to reveal the true authors of the controversial amnesty. He also wants Mr Zeman’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, to apologize for naming him as one of the authors. Former president Klaus told the Právo daily on Saturday that he is the sole author of the text of the amnesty.
The southern part of the Prague city ring road, Jižní spojka, will reopen on Sunday at 3 p.m., after demolition crews removed a bridge that passed above the expressway on Saturday. The road was closed starting on Friday evening, though Prague police said it didn’t result in any major traffic problems. A new bridge will be constructed in the same location in the next few months. Only partial road closings are expected on Jižní spojka for the duration of the construction works.
A yet unidentified man was hit by a tram on Saturday night in Prague’s Vršovice district. The heavily inebriated man was brought to the hospital in an ambulance with a serious head wound, but he succumbed to his injuries later during the night. Since the man had no identification on him, the police is asking the public for any information as they investigate the accident.
In their second game at this year’s Ice Hockey World Championship the Czech national team lost to the Swedes 2:1. Swedes got in the first goal in the 10th minute, right after the end of their first power-play, and brought the score up to 2:0, 13 minutes later. Half-way into the game Jiří Hudler scored the only goal for the visitors, but the Czechs were unable to even out the score before the end of the game. The Czech team will face Switzerland on Monday.
The biggest Czech public health insurance provider VZP announced the first five medications that are on the so-called ‘positive list’. The list, which the insurance company is launching this month, consists of prescribed medications for no co-payment fee will be charged at the pharmacy. VZP has negotiated 15-30 percent discounts for the medications on the positive list, in exchange for an agreed amount of orders. The insurance provider says this will allow it to save a few hundred million crowns annually. The first five medications on the list are for treatment of diabetes, osteoporosis, prostate and stomach problems.
Around 4,000 people participated in a demonstration in central Prague on Saturday to demand legalization of marijuana in the Czech Republic. Organizers of the protest were calling for the legalization of growing marijuana for personal recreational and medical use. The police detained seven people for drug-related offenses. The procession from Charles Square to the Žižkov neighborhood was part of a global Marihuana March and was taking place for the 16th time in Prague. According to the latest poll by the Ipsos agency, 53% of Czechs agree with recreational use of the drug. Prescription marijuana for medical purposes was recently legalized in this country.
Former president Václav Klaus told the Právo daily on Saturday that he was exclusively responsible for the text of the controversial New Year’s amnesty. This was in reaction to this week’s statement by the current chancellor at Prague castle Vratislav Mynář that the real authors of the amnesty were Mr Klaus’ former advisors Petr Hájek, Ladislav Jakl a Pavel Hasenkopf. Earlier in the week Mr Hasenkopf, who was a lawyer at Prague Castle said that part of the amnesty was prepared by the Justice Ministry. Mr Klaus denied ever asking Mr Hasenkopf to help him prepare the text of the amnesty, which put to an end a number of controversial corruption cases. In reaction to the former president’s statement, Mr Hasenkopf posted on his Facebook accounts a copy of an email from Mr Jakl from last year forwarding a request from the president to create a draft of the amnesty.