Some 17,000 people saw an open-air performance of the opera The Devil and Kate by Antonín Dvořák’s in Prague on Saturday. Performed by the ensemble of the National Theatre and Prague Chamber ballet, the opera was staged at an amphitheatre in Divoká Šárka, a nature reserve in the capital north-western outskirts. Operas were first performed there in the early 20th century, and the tradition was revived in 2005.
The European Commission has accepted the Czech Republic’s objections to some of the EU’s planned new sanctions against Russia, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters on Saturday. Mr Sobotka said the commission’s original proposal could threaten Czech machinery exports to Russia; however, these will now be protected “to the highest possible extent”. The Czech PM also said that if the current ceasefire between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists holds, the planned new round of sanctions could be postponed.
The 21st annual Czech International Air Fest is held at the weekend at an airport in Hradec Králové, east Bohemia. Military aircraft from nine countries including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and Croatia are participating in the show, organizers said. Belgium Air Force’s acrobatic team, the Red Devils, are making their premiere at the show this year.
Only a few dozen voters have so far cast their ballots in a local referendum on gambling ban held on Saturday in Holešov, eastern Moravia, the news agency ČTK reports. Supporters of the ban say it’s unlikely the required 35 percent of voters will turnout out in order of the vote to be binding; they complain that local authorities refused to hold the referendum simultaneously with next month’s local elections when much higher turnout is expected.
A UK court has granted permission to the parents of five-year-old cancer patient Ashya King to fly him to Prague, according to British media reports. The boy’s case received international attention after his parents removed him from a UK hospital, and applied for treatment in Prague’s Proton Therapy Centre. The family was later detained in Spain but eventually allowed to travel to Prague where doctors at the proton therapy clinic said they were ready to treat the boy. It is believed that the family will travel to Prague early next week.
Hundreds of historic buildings, churches, technical monuments and other landmarks across the Czech Republic that are not usually open to the public will welcome visitors free of charge during European Heritage Days. In Prague, people have a chance to visit several churches and historic houses in central Prague, the vault and safes of the former Czechoslovak state bank, and other sites. Next weekend will mainly focus on technical monuments and spa architecture. The event, which begins on Saturday, runs until September 14.
Czech javelin champion Barbora Špotáková won her third Diamond League title at the Van Damme Memorial event in Brussels on Friday night, breaking the meeting’s record with a world-leading throw of 67.99 metres. In her first season after giving birth to her son, the 33-year-old two-time Olympic champion also won the European title in Zurich last month.
In related news, around 300 Czech soldiers could operate within NATO´s planned new training mission in Afghanistan in 2015, according to the Czech Republic’s head-of-state Miloš Zeman. At the end pf this year, NATO will terminate its long-term ISAF operation, which is to be replaced by Resolute Support, a new non-combat mission. Mr Zeman said the Czechs’ main goal would be to train and instruct the Afghan police and army. The winner of the Afghan presidential election is still not known, which is preventing the necessary agreements from being signed by Kabul, the USA and NATO, opening the door to the mission, according to the Czech News Agency. Both presidential candidates, nevertheless, have indicated that they would sign on. The Afghan armed forces, comprising 350,000 troops, are to take over responsibility for Afghanistan security at the beginning of 2015. NATO plans to provide financial support.
The Czech Republic will offer 150 personnel along with several helicopters to serve in a newly-planned NATO rapid response force, Czech President Milos Zeman said on Friday at the NATO summit. Several thousand members could form the NATO Rapid Force (NRF), which would be capable of going into action within 48 hours. Other options are also being considered. The Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnický said Prague is also considering other ways of joining the new unit´s operation, mentioning logistics and the country’s specialised anti-chemical unit. The NRF headquarters could be located in in Szczecin, Poland. The new plan is direct reaction by NATO to the Russian annexation of Crimea and alleged military involvement in eastern Ukraine.
In an interview for commercial radio station Frekvence 1, President Miloš
Zeman has made clear he will, in the future, not appear on Czech TV’s
flagship Sunday debate programme hosted by Václav Moravec. The president
alleged that Mr Moravec, a seasoned radio and TV journalist, had made a
major mistake in last week’s edition. Last Sunday, Mr Moravec interviewed
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka about the government’s civil service
legislation. The president has strong reservations towards the draft bill,
especially over the inclusion of so-called politically-appointed deputies.
Mr Moravec maintained that when Mr Zeman was prime minister from 1998 to
2002 such appointees were the norm as well. The president has denied it.
In the interview for F1’s Pressclub programme, the president said he had given Mr Moravec several "chances" before but that he would no longer appear on the show, saying his predecessor Václav Klaus had taken a similar approach. The team behind the programme at Czech TV, meanwhile, is standing by the show’s content.