Czechs marked the 86th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia on Thursday with several events around the country. Although Czechoslovakia split into two separate states - the Czech Republic and Slovakia - on January 1st 1993, the national holiday continues to be celebrated every year in the Czech Republic but is no longer marked in neighbouring Slovakia.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus said October 28th was a very significant holiday as it was a day that the nation's ancestors had anticipated for an entire century. Mr Klaus placed a wreath at the statue of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia, at Prague Castle, and visited his grave in nearby Lany. As has become tradition, the Czech President also received foreign diplomats.
Some two hundred members of the extreme-right also marked the foundation of Czechoslovakia with a traditional march through the centre of Prague. The members of the Vlastenecka Fronta, or Patriotic Front, gathered at Prague's Palacky Square, named after nineteenth century historian and politician Frantisek Palacky who is often called the Father of the Czech Nation, and walked to Vysehrad Castle chanting nationalist slogans and criticizing the European Union and the current government.
Thirteen people were injured - two seriously - on Thursday morning when two buses collided in northern Moravia. A coach, taking a football team aged between 14-18 years to a nearby game, crashed into a local bus when its brakes failed at the bottom of a hill. Police are still investigating the cause of the accident but believe the bus slid on dry leafs.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus has accused the cabinet of playing down the importance of the country's approval of the European Constitution. While the official signing ceremony will be taking place in Rome on Friday, the cabinet waited until Wednesday to approve the draft constitution in order to give some time for discussion, Mr Klaus said.
The Czech Republic has donated 53,000 pounds sterling to the construction of a monument dedicated to the Royal Air Force pilots who flew during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Of the 2,936 pilots from fifteen countries, eighty-nine were from Czechoslovakia. The Battle of Britain Monument will be unveiled in London some time next year and the project is expected to cost 1.6 million pounds.
Friday is expected to have partially clear skies with day-time temperatures reaching a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius.
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