Scores of Ukrainians marked the 23rd anniversary of their country’s independence in Prague on Sunday. With some participants wearing Ukrainian folk costumes or carrying national symbols, the group marched across Charles Bridge to náměstí Kinských in Prague 5, where they laid wreathes at a monument to Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko. The gathering was intended to celebrate Ukraine’s independence in 1991 and to highlight the current crisis in the country, where armed conflict with pro-Russian rebels is continuing in the east. A further gathering of Ukrainians in Prague was planned for Wenceslas Square later on Sunday.
There has been a sharp increase in the number of foreigners applying for Czech citizenship this year, the news site iDnes.cz reported, quoting a spokesperson from the Ministry of the Interior. Following the introduction in January of legislation under which such applicants do not lose their original citizenship their number reached 4,380 in the first seven months of 2014. The figure for the same period last year was 1,266. The most frequent applicants are Ukrainians, Slovaks, Russians and Vietnamese.
The Czech translator, essayist and literary historian Jindřich Pokorný has died at the age of 87. His death was reported by Revolver Revue, a journal which he had been associated for many years. Pokorný translated works by authors such as Voltaire, Victor Hugo and Rainer Maria Rilke, as well as the drama Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand. A one-time Czechoslovak Radio employee, he was involved in dissident activities and the production of samizdat literature under communism.
The Czech women’s tennis number one Petra Kvitová triumphed in the Connecticut Open in New Haven on Saturday with 6-4 6-2 a win over Slovakia’s Magdaléna Rybáriková. It was her second title in New Haven, a warm-up for next week’s US Open. Meanwhile, Czech men’s player Lukáš Rosol beat Pole Jerzy Janowicz 3-6 7-6 7-5 on Saturday to win the Winston-Salem Open, the second ATP tour title of his career.
The body of its German pilot was found in the wreck of a small plane near Modrava in South Bohemia at lunchtime on Sunday. German and Czech police had been looking for the aircraft since it went missing on Saturday evening. A Czech police helicopter spotted the plane in a forested area in the Šumava. The pilot, aged 38, had been flying from Passau in Bavaria.
This year’s forecast of 3 percent expansion of Czech gross domestic product can be attributed to an intervention to weaken the crown by the Czech National Bank in November, the bank’s vice governor Vladimír Tomšík said on a Czech Television discussion show on Sunday. Mr. Tomšík said the central bank aimed to ensure the currency remained at above 27 to the euro through 2016 and would intervene again if necessary to achieve this. The head of the Bohemian-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions, Josef Středula, said the intervention had harmed employees and that the Czech National Bank’s claim it would create 30,000 jobs had proved false.
The minister of health, Svatopluk Němeček, says he is not in favour of euthanasia. Speaking on a Czech Television discussion show on Sunday the Social Democrat said that human life was sacred. His comments came two days after police charged a former nurse with murder following the death of a patient at a hospital in Rumburk, North Bohemia from a suspected overdose of potassium. Police suspect the nurse of euthanising the 70-year-old cancer patient out of sympathy for the woman’s critical condition.