Daily news summary

Czech delegation takes part in Vatican mass on 30th anniversary of canonisation of St. Agnes

Czech clerics and pilgrims attended a special event at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Tuesday marking the 30th anniversary of the canonisation of St. Agnes of Bohemia. A mass was held in honour of Pope John Paul II, who canonised the Czech saint on November 12, 1989, just days before the start of the Velvet Revolution.

Tuesday’s mass was conducted by the leader of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Cardinal Dominik Duka. Prayers were said at an altar to St. Wenceslas, a statute of St. Agnes, the tomb of St. Peter and the place where Cardinal Josef Beran's remains were interred before being returned to his homeland last year.

Zeman to attend Velvet Revolution celebrations in Bratislava but not Prague

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, will take part in celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Bratislava on Saturday. Mr. Zeman will lay a wreath at a plaque at Comenius University and will also open a new Czech House in the city. However, as previously announced, he will not be attending any events in Prague on Sunday, the actual anniversary of the start of the revolution.

Mr. Zeman’s spokesperson, Jiří Ovčáček, said that on November 17 he would be observing a silent remembrance, which was more valuable than “poetic words”.

Mr. Ovčáček also said that some people had “stolen” the anniversary and would be holding a “hate gathering” in the Czech capital.

iRozhlas: PM Babiš misses more lower house sessions than predecessors

The current Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, has been absent from lower house sessions more frequently than any of his predecessors, the news site iRozhlas.cz reported. Mr. Babiš has missed 73 percent of votes during his time as PM. He is also frequently not present when interpellation takes place, and has missed over half since the last elections.

Last week Mr. Babiš said in an interview that he would no longer attend Chamber of Deputies sessions as they were eating into valuable time when he could be working.

The second least present Czech PM was Miloš Zeman, with Václav Klaus and Bohuslav Sobotka tied for third place.

Charles University students launch occupational strike over climate

Students at the Faculty of Arts at Prague’s Charles University began an occupational strike aimed at boosting awareness of climate change on Tuesday.

Organisers said participants planned to sleep at the faculty overnight before the protest culminates on Palach Square, in front of the building, on Wednesday.

However, faculty staff have said that they must exit the building by 10 pm.

Berlin Philharmonic to open 75th Prague Spring with special concert

The 75th edition of the Prague Spring International Music Festival will open with a special concert on May 7 featuring the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Kirill Petrenko. Smetana’s My Country, which usually launches the festival, will be heard on the traditional date of May 12, performed this time by the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra helmed by conductor Semyon Bychkov.

The 2020 Prague Spring festival will feature 53 concerts and close on the traditional date of June 4.

The first edition was held in 1946 under the patronage of Czechoslovak president Edvard Beneš.

New breakwaters now in place at Prague’s Charles Bridge

Wooden breakwaters aimed at protecting Prague’s Charles Bridge from ice and flooding are now back in place following a major renovation job, Novinky.cz reported. New breakwaters, which stand in front of seven of the bridge’s 15 arches, were installed at a cost of CZK 30 million.

The structures replaced ones dating from 2004. The previous breakwaters were destroyed by flooding two years earlier.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast with some rain in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 4 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are then expected to climb to above 10 degrees Celsius at the end of the week.