At a mass on Sunday people in the Bohemian village of Číhošť recalled
the events of 70 years ago when a cross reputedly moved during a mass
conducted by priest Josef Toufar. The Communist authorities used the
purported miracle, which took place on the third Sunday of advent in 1949,
as a pretext for an attack on the church.
Father Toufar was later tortured by the StB and signed a confession saying he had personally faked the miracle. He was later forced to take part in a filmed “reconstruction” but had been so badly beaten by his interrogators that he died in February 1950.
Other events were also held in Číhošť on Sunday, including a talk given by journalist Miloš Doležal, who wrote a well-received book exploring the events surrounding the miracle and the priest’s death.
Bookmakers in the Czech Republic make the country’s current prime
minister, Andrej Babiš, favourite to succeed incumbent Miloš Zeman as
president. The current odds on the ANO leader becoming head of state are
6.5:1, which places Mr. Babiš ahead of the independent Pavel Fischer on
7:1, a spokesperson for the Fortuna betting company told the Czech News
Almost a quarter of bets received to date are for the prime minister to win, while 16 percent of punters are backing ex-army general Petr Pavel.
A new timetable came into effect on the Czech Republic’s railways on
Sunday. The biggest changes have been felt in regional transport while
private companies have begun offering services on some district lines.
Intervals have also been shortened on some highly used routes while the
ticket system has been changed in some regions.
Traditional carrier Czech Railways has lost some lines ordered by the state or regions to private rail companies but still maintains a 90-percent share of the market and runs an average of almost 7,000 trains a day.
Also on Sunday services resumed at Brno’s Main Station after a break of a year for repair work.
The last surviving pilot from the RAF’s WWII Czechoslovak squadrons, Emil
Boček, presented the Moral Authority prize to nine people from the Czech
Republic and Slovakia on Saturday evening, Czech Television reported. The
awards were handed out for the first time during a Christmas concert
organised by World War II veterans.
Among the recipients were the head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka, the director of Prague’s Central Military Hospital, Miroslav Zavoral, and the supreme state attorney, Lenka Bradáčová.
Emil Boček, who is 96, also handed out another honour, the Emil Boček Memorial Medal. It was received by active soldiers and police officers and the ministers of interior and defence, Jan Hamáček and Lubomír Metnar.
The United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union will weaken the
group of EU states that use nuclear power to generate electricity,
according to the Czech energy provider CEZ. CEZ trades on the UK wholesale
energy markets and it is not clear how the post-Brexit situation will look,
company spokesperson Ladislav Kříž told the Czech News Agency.
Mr. Kříž said half of the EU’s 28 states used nuclear energy and the departure of the UK would tip the balance toward countries that do not. In addition, Germany is planning to cease using nuclear power. The UK, which is preparing to build more nuclear power stations, was a strong ally of the Czech Republic in the EU, the CEZ representative said.
Unusually warm weather for the time of year is expected in the Czech
Republic in the week before the Christmas holidays, the Czech Hydro
Meteorological Institute said in a regular four-week forecast. Next week
temperatures will reach up to 13 degrees Celsius, while it will not freeze
even at night.
Though a white Christmas is unlikely in most of the country, snow is expected in the days following the holiday as temperatures fall. Regardless of that, temperatures for the December 16 to January 12 period will be above long-term averages.
The construction company Hochtief will officially hand over the renovated
State Opera Prague to its management of the National Theatre on Sunday. The
building, a stone’s throw from the top of Wenceslas Square, must then
undergo a final inspection. The renovation job was initially budgeted at
CZK 900 million but the final cost rose to CZK 1.3 billion.
The State Opera is set to reopen on January 5 with a special show. The building last underwent thorough renovations around the turn of the 1970s.
A huge demolition digger from the Czech Republic has arrived in the Slovak
city of Prešov to help tear down the upper floors of an apartment block
where a gas explosion occurred last week, leaving seven people dead. The
demolition job will begin at the start of next week and will take around
The enormous digger, which is based in the Central Bohemian town of Kladno, weighs 214 tonnes and motorists were advised to avoid its route, while some public transport services in Prešov were rerouted in view of its arrival.
Police in the Czech Republic have charged 58 people with involvement in the
trafficking of cocaine and heroin worth over CZK 2 billion to Australia.
Czech officers worked with colleagues in the US and Australia to uncover
the activities of the group, whose members could face up to 18 years in
jail if found guilty.
Three main organisers are accused of engaging couriers in the Czech Republic to transport drugs from what police described as countries close to production areas. The mules, mainly operating as couples, attempted to pass off their smuggling missions as regular holidays.