German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has awarded the Czech Roman
Catholic priest and philosopher Tomáš Halík the Order of Merit of the
Federal Republic of Germany for his contribution to Czech-German
reconciliation and furthering understanding among nations and religions.
Halík is to receive the award on October 21st, on the 41st anniversary of the day that he was secretly ordained priest in the German town of Erfurt in view of joining the underground activities of the Roman Catholic Church in then communist Czechoslovakia.
Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek has said he disagrees with the recent
decision of a lower house investigative committee to initiate a criminal
case against a number of former politicians involved in the privatisation
of the OKD mining company.
Zaorálek said he wants a state attorney to review the commission’s report and assess whether such a move is justified.
According to the commission, the privatisation and a number of dubious transactions accompanying it went against the interests of the state.
The commission has proposed filing criminal charges against four former ministers and a number of businessmen.
The fate of the traditional New Year Prague fireworks displays remains
Prague City Hall announced that they would be cancelled and replaced by a video-mapping show some time ago, but has so far failed to find a provider.
The single company which entered the open competition failed to meet the set criteria.
Meanwhile, the traditional organizers of the New Year fireworks displays have set up an association called Fireworks for Prague and intend to keep the tradition alive with the help of a public collection.
A muzeum dedicated to RAF pilot Emil Boček and the other 2,000 Czech
airmen who fought in the British Royal Airforce in WWII opened in the town
of Ivančice on Friday.
The exposition documents the fate of RAF pilots and includes a collection of pictures, papers and artefacts donated by their families. The museum‘s opening was attended by the last surviving Czech RAF pilot 96-year-old Emil Boček, who was briefly released from hospital for the occasion.
The museum with its RAF house, restaurant and wine bar is the undertaking of Boček’s close friend and admirer Jan Dasovský.
War hero General Emil Boček was hospitalized with heart problems at the Brno Faculty Hospital on Friday. No details regarding his health have been released to the press.
Czech officer Šárka Havránková has been elected vice-president of
Interpol’s European division. In a vote by Interpol’s General Assembly
she received 133 out of 141 votes.
It is the first time that a Czech officer has been appointed to a top Interpol post. She is currently head of Interpol’s division for international cooperation.
The head of the Czech Police Presidium Jan Švejdar said her election was a great honour for the organization.
Czech MPs have welcomed the five-day ceasefire in northern Syria, agreed
between the US and Turkey, but are stressing the need to address the crisis
in view of finding a long-term solution.
The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Chamber of Deputies, Ondřej Veselý, said the international community and Turkey’s NATO allies needed to put more pressure on Ankara so as to prevent fresh aggression after the five-day ceasefire ends.
The head of the Committee for European Affairs, Ondrej Benešík, said the European Union needed to get actively involved in the talks and urged the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, to drum up support for this in the European Council.
The Czech lower house of Parliament on Tuesday condemned Turkey’s military offensive in Syria as a violation of international law.
The Prague Municipal Court has ruled that the act of a Chinese national who
tore the Tibetan flag from the hands of demonstrators and threw it into the
Vltava River during a visit to Prague by the Chinese president two years
ago, did not commit a crime.
The offense was classified as a misdemeanour, also in light of the material damage caused. The other person charged in the case, a Chinese woman, was cleared. The hearing was not public and the verdict is legally binding.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has expressed disappointment that the EU did
not launch accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia at its summit
Speaking to journalists early on Friday, the prime minister said he particularly regretted the fact that the EU had not opened talks with North Macedonia, since no other country had done so much to be considered eligible, including changing its name.
The Czech Republic, and indeed the whole Visegrad Four group, has advocated the EU’s expansion to the Western Balkans as a means of increasing security on the continent. The EU is to return to the debate on enlargement at one of its future summits.
WWII veteran and the last surviving Czech pilot who flew with the RAF Emil
Boček has been hospitalized with heart problems.
The 96-year-old Boček, who is due to receive the country’s highest state distinction, the Order of the White Lion, from President Zeman on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day, October 28th, was admitted to the cardio ward of the Brno faculty hospital on Friday.
He has previously received a lower order of the country’s highest state distinction and was promoted to the highest rank in the Czech Army during the end-of-war celebrations in May of this year.
On his 93rd birthday General Boček, took to the skies in a Spitfire more than seven decades after his last flight in the iconic plane.
The 93-year-old veteran took off from the Biggin Hill airport in Kent, and spent twenty-five minutes up in the air, piloting the aircraft himself for a short while once it was airborne.