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US convoy crossing Czech Republic

The 120 vehicle strong US military convoy, which is crossing six countries on its way back from operation Atlantic Resolve in the Baltic states, is now travelling through the Czech Republic. The convoy, made up largely of the eight-wheeled armoured combat vehicles Strykers and Humvees crossed the Czech-Polish border after 10 am on Sunday and is heading for the towns of Výskov, Pardubice and Liberec where the approximately 500 US troops will spend the night at the Czech army’s military barracks. The convoy which is to demonstrate NATO unity and US commitment to stability in Europe, will spend four days in the Czech Republic before heading for its home base in Bavaria. Both supporters and protesters are expected to line parts of the route but, according to a recent survey 82 percent of Czechs said they have no problem with the convoy passing through.

Czech women released from captivity getting medical care

The two Czech women who were released on Friday after spending two years in captivity are undergoing medical tests and are in the care of a psychiatrist, Czech Television reported on Sunday. According to Czech officials the young women were housed at a secret location and given heightened security in order to protect them from excessive media interest and give them time to recover from the ordeal in a safe environment. They have reportedly met with family members, who have also refused to speak to the press. The Czech prime minister has asked the media to respect the girls and their family’s privacy.

Hana Humpálová and Antonie Chrástecká were 24 when they were kidnapped in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan by a group of unidentified gunmen who took them off a bus. They were released thanks to the efforts of the Turkish NGO IHH. Neither the NGO nor the Czech authorities have released any details regarding who their captors were or where they spent the last two years.

Cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček dies at 80

Czech cinematographer Miroslav Ondříček, who cooperated on Ragtime and Amadeus with Czech-born director Milos Forman, has died at the age of 80, the ctk news agency reports. In the course of his career Ondříček worked on about forty feature films of various genres, over a dozen of which were shot in the USA. His best known films include Forman’s Ragtime and Amadeus for which he received Oscar nominations. He also made Slaughterhouse-Five with George Roy Hill and worked on the adaptation of John Irving's novel The World According to Garp (1982) also directed by Hill. In 1983, Ondříček collaborated with Mike Nichols on the film Silkwood with Meryl Streep. In the 1990s, he cooperated with U.S. director Penny Mashall on Awakenings (1990) with Robert de Niro and a comedy on the woman's baseball league during World War Two, A League of Their Own (1992). In 2004, Ondříček received the American Society of Cinematographers’ International Achievement Award in Los Angeles.

Pilot killed in helicopter crash

A helicopter crashed in the Modrava region in the Šumava Mountains on Sunday, the ctk news agency reported. The pilot is reported to have been killed on impact. The helicopter was a privately owned aircraft, a one-seat Raven II Robinson. Police and flight inspectors are at the site of the accident and the area has been closed off. The cause of the accident is still unclear.

2015 Thalia Awards handed out in Prague

Czech actress Blanka Bohdanová,85, received a lifetime achievement award for her work in the theatre at the 2015 Thalia Awards held in Prague on Saturday night. Bohdanová has starred in over 80 roles at Prague’s prestigious National Theatre in a career spanning over half a century. Others awarded were singer and actor Josef Zima for his lifelong contribution to the operetta and musical and Blanka Josephova Lunakova for her lifelong contribution to puppetry. Vilma Cibulková picked up an award for the title role in Leni, ballet dancer Tereza Podařilová was awarded for her role in Valmont at the National Theatre and Hana Fialová for the lead role in the musical Edith Piaf.

Czechs mark Earth Hour

Czechs joined millions of people around the globe in turning off their lights for 60 minutes on Saturday night starting at 8:30pm local time in a symbolic show of support for the Earth Hour campaign against climate change. Earth Hour dimmed some of Prague’s best known landmarks including Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square or the Žižkov TV tower. Prague and other cities around the Czech Republic first marked Earth Hour in 2012. More than 160 countries participated in the event last year

Euro 2016 qualifier:Czechs score late goal to salvage 1-1 draw against Latvia

The Czech Republic snatched a 1-1 draw at home to Latvia thanks to a 90th minute Vaclav Pilar goal in their Euro 2016 qualifier to stay top of Group A on Saturday. The Czechs, who had started the day three points clear at the top, are now just one ahead of Iceland after they took a 3-0 victory against Kazakhstan in Astana. Coach Pavel Vrba said the result at home against a team that has yet to win was disappointing.