October 28 is a national holiday in the Czech Republic, celebrating the foundation of independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. Although Czechoslovakia split into two separate states - the Czech Republic and Slovakia - on January 1st 1993, the public holiday continues to be celebrated every year in the Czech Republic. However, it is no longer marked in neighbouring Slovakia. On Tuesday, Czechs marked the 85th anniversary with a number of public events across the country. At a ceremony at Prague's National Museum, Culture Minister Pavel Dostal expressed disappointment at the young generation's lack of interest in the holiday and stressed it was important for the Czech people to remember their modern history.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus also considers October 28th a significant Czech holiday. Speaking to journalists after placing a wreath at the statue of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the founder and first president of Czechoslovakia, he said it was a day of commemoration and inspiration. As has become tradition, the Czech President received foreign diplomats on the national holiday and awarded state medals to twenty-five personalities at a ceremony at Prague Castle. Among those honoured were oncologist Pavel Klener, Olympic medallist Dana Zatopkova, and Czech actor Jiri Kodet.
Some two hundred members of the extreme-right Vlastenecka Fronta, or Patriotic Front, gathered in Prague on Tuesday also to mark the foundation of Czechoslovakia. On Palacky Square, named after Frantisek Palacky - a nineteenth century historian and politician who is often called the Father of the Czech Nation, members of the front made several speeches against the European Union, the current Czech government, and same-sex partnerships. The crowd then proceeded to march to Vysehrad Castle chanting nationalist and anti-Semitic slogans. Later on Tuesday, members of the extreme-right Nationalist Party briefly gathered at Prague's Wenceslas Square to celebrate the holiday as well as the first anniversary of their party's existence.
A United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) report has warned of growing child prostitution on the Czech side of the Czech-German border. It said that ever more paedophiles from all over Europe are attracted to the region, paying some 25 Euros (29 US dollars) for sexual services from minors. The UNICEF report was released on Tuesday. Five hundred child prostitutes were interviewed and many admitted they were often subjected to violence that ranged from being beaten to having their genitals cut. Mothers often work as prostitutes themselves. Many of the child prostitutes are from the Czech Republic but others come from Slovakia, Moldova, Lithuania and Belarus. According to the report, the youngest child prostitutes are mere babies and many people soliciting clients for them are their mothers, fathers, siblings or relatives.
We are expecting a foggy start to the day on Wednesday with the possibility of rain in the eastern part of the country. Temperatures will range from 5 to 8 degrees Celsius.
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