A dispute has broken out in the Czech Catholic Church over the recent property settlement at Prague castle between President Miloš Zeman and Cardinal Dominik Duka. A memorandum concerning the return of two properties to the Catholic Church was signed on Thursday with a final deal due to be sealed by the end of the year. Duka’s predecessor in the top post of the Czech church, Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, has slammed the initial agreement as illegal and in breach of democratic principles. In particular, he criticised the conditions attached to the return of the properties which include their repair and use for public purposes within five years. Cardinal Vlk said that the restitution agreement made no provision for such conditions to be laid down.
The work of playwright president Václav Havel is believed to being performed for the first time, albeit indirectly, in China during a tour by the Prague-based experimental theatre and dance ensemble, the Spitfire Company. One of the performances by the Czech group will be Antiwords, a work which draws heavily on Havel’s play Audience. The work is to be performed in the city of Tianjin with the group later moving on to the capital, Beijing. The invitation to tour China stemmed from a meeting with the director of a Chinese theatre at the Edinburgh Festival.
The Czech Republic might start choosing the first immigrants who will be selected to stay in the country in refugee camps in Jordan and Kurdistan at the turn of August, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said on Thursday, adding that church representatives are ready to help with the process on the spot. Mr Chovanec made the statement after a meeting with representatives of the Czech Bishops' Conference and the Ecumenical Council of Churches. The churches have also offered that the foreign immigrants could be housed in their facilities at the beginning of their stay in the Czech Republic. The Czech government recently agreed to accept 1,500 refugees by the end of 2017.
Czech Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek on Friday officially open what is believed to be the world’s first power plant based on a former coal mine. The ceremony took place around 500 metres below the surface. The unique power plant at Ostrava was the result of four-and-a-half year’s work by a consortium of local companies and institutions which benefitted from state subsidies. The pumped storage power plant works on the principle that water is pumped to water storage containers near the surface during off-peak hours and then released to power generators for peak electricity production as it descends around 500 metres.
A record number of food outlets and restaurants have been closed down so far this year according to the State Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority. The authority said that so far it has ordered the closure of 131 businesses, mostly on hygiene grounds. It can also close establishments for the fraudulent sale of goods. Most of the recent closures have been Vietnamese restaurants.
An international travelling exhibition entitled the Legacy of Charlemagne opened at Prague Castle on Thursday, after already going on show in Belgium and Italy. The exhibition, which is part of an international project called Cradles of European Culture, displays about 300 objects from all over the world linked to the great medieval ruler, its curator Jana Maříková Kubková said. Visitors will have a chance to see for the first time some unique artefacts from Czech collections, including those uncovered at a burial site at Prague Castle’s Lumbe Gardens.
South Korean soprano singer Sumi Jo and Italian tenor Danilo Formaggio accompanied by the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra will launch the 24th Český Krumlov International Music Festival on Friday night. The opening concert will have a largely Franco-Italian flavour with compositions by Verdi, Puccini, and Bizet. The festival runs until August 8. Sumi Jo has produced around 50 DVDs.
Top Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych has married his long time girlfriend Ester Sátorová at a quiet ceremony at Monte Carlo, Czech media reported on Thursday. The couple became engaged in November after going out together since the end of 2012. Berdych is the sixth ranked player worldwide and has long been the number one Czech men’s singles player. He previously went out with Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová.
Czech league champions Viktoria Plzeň will face the winner of a tie between Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maltese club Hibernians in the third pre-qualifying round of football's Champions League. Last season’s league runners-up, Sparta Prague will face CSKA Moscow, which were second in the Russian league last season. The first matches will be played on July 28 and 29 with the return leg on 4 and 5 August. The draw was made in Nyon, Switzerland, on Friday.
In football, Mladá Boleslav complicated its further progress in qualifying for the Europa League following a 1:2 home defeat against Norway’s Strömsgodset. The Czech team went ahead with a strike from distance by midfielder Daniel Bartl but the visitors pulled back within five minutes. And Strömsgodset took a deserved win in the second pre-qualifying round match five minutes before the final whistle.