A service was held at St. Vitus’ Cathedral at Prague Castle on Sunday marking the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Committee of Good Will by Olga Havlová, the first wife of late president Václav Havel. Mass was served by Bishop Václav Malý who like the Havels moved in dissident circles during the communist regime. The Committee of Good Will, founded in the tradition of the Committee for the Defence of the Unjustly Persecuted, works to foster social inclusion for disadvantaged groups.
The Czech Republic’s support for European Union sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine has been a thoughtless nod to the views of bigger and more powerful states, says President Miloš Zeman. He made the comment on the first edition of Presidential Press Club on the radio station Frekvence 1. The show replaced a Czech Radio programme entitled Talks from Lány that was discontinued after Mr. Zeman employed vulgar language in the last edition. The head of state also said on Sunday’s show that he had been planning to attend a Social Democrats congress but would not now go even if Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka went back on a decision not to invite him.
Czech archaeologists in Egypt have discovered the tomb of a previously unknown queen, Chentkaus III. She is believed to have been the wife of the pharaoh Neferefre, who ruled in the fifth dynasty around 4,500 years ago. The discovery was made at Abusir, southwest of Cairo. The head of the Czech group of Egyptologists, Miroslav Bárta, said the fact the tomb had been found in the necropolis of Neferefre made it likely that the woman had been his spouse.
A number of renovation projects are planned for Prague Castle this year. A spokesperson for the Prague Castle Administration told the Czech News Agency that the façades of the complex’s Deer Moat, Riding School and one wing of the Old Royal Palace would be renovated while some work will also be done on St. Vitus’ Cathedral. Those four projects will take up around CZK 140 million of CZK 292 million earmarked for repairs this year at Prague Castle, which is the city’s most visited landmark.
Senator Tomio Okamura has encouraged his followers to insult Muslims. On his Facebook page, the leader of the Dawn party said Czechs should walk pigs in the vicinity of mosques. The populist Czech-Japanese politician – whose party have 14 seats in the Chamber of Deputies – said Czechs should protect their democratic way of life and the heritage of their forefathers from Islam. Mr. Okamura also called on his supporters to boycott Muslim owned businesses, saying that “every kebab purchased was another step towards burqas”.
The organiser of a demonstration against President Miloš Zeman has repeated his assertion that it was not paid for by the U.S. Embassy in Prague. Speaking to iDnes.cz, Martin Přikryl accused Mr. Zeman of manipulation following his comment that a conspiracy theory linking the U.S. Embassy to the protest “could not be ruled out”, though there was no evidence to support it. Mr. Přikryl said the president had failed to rule out a proven lie and had by contrast overlooked evidence that it was untrue. The American Embassy’s “link” to the November 17 “red card” protest was asserted the next day by an obscure website.
Czech ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr has become the oldest player to score three goals in one game in the NHL. Jágr, who turns 43 in the middle of next month, scored the hat trick for New Jersey against Philadelphia on Saturday to take the age record from Gordie Howe. The Kladno-born right wing is the last player drafted in 1990 to be still active in the NHL.
President Miloš Zeman says he is aware of a conspiracy theory that a protest against him on November 17 was organised by Prague’s U.S. Embassy. In an interview in Saturday’s Právo he said it was “a hypothesis that could not be ruled out”, but added that there was at present no evidence to support it. Thousands of people held up red cards against Mr. Zeman at a demonstration on Prague’s Národní St. on the 25th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. He made light of the protest in Právo, suggesting the demonstrators were holding Opencards in protest at the waste of a billion crowns on the electronic card system used for public transport and other services. Elsewhere in the interview he said Pussy Riot would have been burned to death in the Middle Ages. His use of a crude Czech word to translate the Russian group’s name and other swearing in a live radio interview was widely condemned.
President Miloš Zeman has described the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseny Yatseniuk, as a “war premier”. In an interview with the newspaper Právo, the Czech head of state said that Kiev was following a two-faced policy, with President Petro Poroshenko representing a “man of peace” while Mr. Yatseniuk wanted to resolve the situation by force rather than accepting a European Commission peace deal. Mr. Zeman said his own perceived pro-Russian position may be one reason he has lost support. He said many poorly informed Czechs wrongly compared the ousting of President Viktor Janukovich to their own Velvet Revolution, and repeated his assertion that the situation in Ukraine is a civil war.
Snow is expected around the Czech Republic this weekend. The Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute said up to 30 centimetres of snow could fall in the Krkonoše and Jizerské mountains by Sunday night. Strong winds are likely to cause snow drifts, the weather forecasters said. Motorists have been advised to pay attention to transport news and drive carefully while people visiting the mountains should follow the information released by the mountain services.