A fifty-four-year-old man set himself on fire at the top end of Wenceslas
Square on Friday afternoon. According to eyewitnesses he doused himself
with a flammable substance and set himself alight. Bystanders rushed over
to help. He was taken to hospital minutes later. According to early reports
the man suffered burns to 30 percent of his body and is in an induced
coma.The motive for his action is not clear.
The incident coincides with a week of events commemorating the legacy of student martyr Jan Palach who set himself on fire fifty years ago in protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is on a business-oriented tour of
South Asia on Friday met with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The two
officials discussed ways of boosting business and trade cooperation,
bilateral ties and relations between India and the European Union.
Attending the Vibrant Gujarat business forum in Gujarat, the Czech prime minister said his country was interested in developing a strategic partnership with India, saying that Czech-India business ties not only had a long tradition, but had great potential for the future.
Prime Minister Babiš will wind up his visit to India in Delhi where he is scheduled to meet with President Shri Ram Nath Kovind.
A concert by Italian neo-Nazi bands in memory of the Czech student martyr
Jan Palach, who set himself alight in protest against growing public apathy
to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, will go ahead in
Verona despite efforts by Czech and Italian officials to prevent the
misappropriation of his legacy.
Although the concert venue at Verona’s Teatro Stimmate was cancelled following protests, the organizers have received permission to hold the event elsewhere. Czech diplomats negotiated with local officials to try to prevent the misuse of Palach’s legacy for a neo-Nazi event.
The concert, held under the motto Country and Freedom will take place on the 50th anniversary of Palach’s death.
The Italian daily La Republicca wrote in connection with the concert that the tendency on the part of ultra-right groups to misappropriate Palach’s legacy “polically and culturally“ has been evident for some time.
Germany has reported an increase in the number of illegal migrants entering
the country from the Czech Republic. According to data released by the
German Interior Ministry the police intercepted over 3,900 illegal migrants
trying to cross the border from the Czech Republic between January and
November 2018, an increase of 10.8 percent as compared to the previous
According to the Czech Interior Ministry the statistics are misleading, due to the fact that the numbers include persons who had already been granted asylum in Germany and who failed to produce proof of this after making a brief trip across the border. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told journalists the increase in the given period was by 19 persons, rather than close to 400, as the German statistics suggest.
The bankrupt Poldi Steelworks was auctioned off to the company Optimo Trade
on Friday selling for 140 million crowns. Poldi, a former leader in Czech
steel production, has been in insolvency since December 2017.
Friday’s auction was the fourth in over a year. The first three fell through after the anonymous bidders failed to pay the bidding price within the set time limit.
Optimo Trade, which was established in 2017, has already paid 90 million for the purchase and should cover the entire cost within 15 days.
President Miloš Zeman says Beijing cancelled a meeting between China’s
foreign minister and his Czech counterpart in response to Czech warnings
over Chinese-made Huawei technology. Speaking in a TV interview on Thursday
evening, he said China had also postponed a meeting of an intergovernmental
commission on economic cooperation without offering a new date.
However, a spokesperson for the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the intergovernmental committee meeting had been rescheduled and that this had been confirmed by Chinese officials.
The Czech cyber watchdog agency said last month that using Huawei or ZET products could prove a security threat. In addition, the country’s most important organisations have been ordered to carry out assessments of the risks involved in using such Chinese technology.
Mr. Zeman said he would like to meet the head of Huawei to clear the situation up during a visit to China in April.
Tomáš Berdych has reached the fourth round at tennis’s Australian Open.
The Czech lost a set for the first time in the competition on Friday as he
overcame Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 5-7 6-3 7-5 6-4.
Berdych’s compatriot Petra Kvitová is also through to the last 16 in Melbourne. The Czech women’s number one overcame Slovak-born Swiss player Belinda Bencic 6-1 6-4.
Officials in Prague are considering naming a street after the slain mayor
of the Polish city of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, the newspaper Pražský
deník reported on Thursday. The mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hřib, has
requested that the city’s street names committee find a suitable location
in the coming weeks.
Pawel Adamowicz died after being stabbed at a charity event last weekend. He oversaw the naming of a street in Gdansk after Václav Havel not long after the former Czech president’s death in 2011.
No parties in the lower house will veto a fast-track process under which
legislation will be passed ensuring the rights of British citizens in the
Czech Republic following the UK’s departure from the EU, the Minister of
the Interior, Jan Hamáček, said on Thursday. The bill should be debated
and approved in its first reading, he said.
Mr. Hamáček said the amendment would introduce transition periods in 18 different areas under which British people would have the same rights as EU citizens until the end of 2020. He said he expected the London government would reciprocate and protect Czechs living in the UK.