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Czechs mark anniversary of WWII Lidice massacre

Czech officials, survivors and other guests marked the 72nd anniversary of the Nazi massacre in Lidice. The German authorities razed the central Bohemian village to the ground and killed most of its inhabitants in retaliation for the assassination of high-ranking Nazi official, Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942. The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka celebrated a mass on Saturday in the village to commemorate the victims including the local priest, Josef Štembera, who was offered to leave by the Nazis but he chose to say and die with his parishioners.

Social Democrats reject inner-party vote on church property deal

Social Democrat leadership on Saturday rejected a proposal to hold an inner-party vote on taxation of a controversial church property deal. Some Social Democrat officials pushed for taxing the financial compensation Czech churches receive in compensation for property confiscated by the Communist regime in the 1950s, as approved by a Czech centre-right government in 2012. Approving the plan could destabilize the Czech government as the coalition Christian Democrats strongly oppose any changes to the church restitution deal.

Civic Democrats nominate ex-mayor as ballot leader in Prague

Former Prague mayor Bohuslav Svoboda has been nominated the leader of the Civic Democrat ballot in October’s local elections. Mr Svoboda, who served as mayor between 2010 and 2013, received 57 out of 74 votes at the party’s regional congress on Saturday, the news agency ČTK reported. The chair of the party’s Prague organization, Filip Humplík, will be number two on the ballot, followed by Jaroslava Janderová, Alexander Bellu and Alexandra Uženija. Local elections will be held in October.

Thousands join Prague walk for breast cancer

Thousands of people joined Avon walk for breast cancer through central Prague on Saturday to raise awareness of the disease. The march began at Old Town Square at noon and concluded several hours later at the Žluté lázně resort on the bank of the Vltava. Some 7,000 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer in the Czech Republic each year, while another 2,000 die of the disease.

Communists push for lifting of Iran nuclear plant embargo

The Czech Republic’s Communist Party has put forward a motion to cancel legislation that prohibits Czech firms from supplying technology to the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran, the news agency ČTK reported on Saturday. The party argues the law is obsolete as the power plant is complete, and no supplies of Czech equipment can take place. It is the Communist Party’s third attempt to have the law scrapped. The legislation was adopted in 2000 in a reaction to plans by a Czech firm to export air conditioning system to the plant; the plan came under criticism from US and UK governments.

Terezín loses EU grant to build visitors parking lot

The town of Terezín in central Bohemian has lost an EU grant to build a visitors’ parking lot, the town mayor told the news agency ČTK on Saturday. Terezín was to receive funds from an EU’s regional operational programme to build a parking lot in front of its tourist information centre, located near its historic fortifications; however, the town will fail to invest 10 percent of the grant by the end of July, the mayor said, adding that the town will apply for a new grant in the next round of applications. Around 220,000 people visit Terezín each year, the site of a former Nazi concentration camp and a ghetto for European Jews.

Handball: Czechs beat Serbia to qualify for world championships

The Czech national handball team sensationally beat Serbia 32:21 in Brno on Saturday in the second leg of their qualifying tie and booked a spot at the world championships in Qatar next year. They lost the first leg 15:23 in Serbia last week. The women’s national handball team, meanwhile, lost to Poland 22:25 on Saturday, failing to qualify for this year’s European championships.

In tennis, Štěpánek reaches semis at London’s ATP event

Czechs tennis player Radek Štěpánek defeated South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 1-6 6-2 6-3 at the Aegon Championships in London to reach the tournament semi-finals, his first in two years. Czech number one Tomáš Berdych, meanwhile, has been knocked out after he lost to Feliciano Lopez of Spain in the quarter-finals. Štěpánek will now face Lopez to qualify for the finals.