Daily news summary
Zeman attends events marking 30th anniversary of fall of Berlin Wall
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, was among a number of international leaders to visit Berlin on Saturday for events marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mr. Zeman and the heads of the three other Visegrad Four states attended a gathering in the city held at a monument to the contribution that the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary made to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Their German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that without the courage of the Poles, Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe, or the reunification of Germany, would not have been possible.
In her address Chancellor Angela Merkel quoted Václav Havel and said that no wall that divided people was high enough or long enough not to be destroyed in the end.
Mr. Zeman then returned to the Czech Republic. The country’s minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, was due to attend celebrations in the German capital in the evening.
Thousands of Catholics heading to Rome for St. Agnes canonisation anniversary
All of the Czech Republic’s Roman Catholic bishops, the country’s foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček, a group of senators and over 2,000 pilgrims are set to take part in a three-day pilgrimage to Rome that will culminate on Tuesday. The pilgrims will be marking the 30th anniversary of the canonisation of Saint Agnes of Bohemia by Pope John Paul II on 12 November 1989; it was also attended by many Czechs and is considered a significant moment in the final days of the Communist regime.
During an audience on St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican on Wednesday the pilgrims will present a gift to Pope Francis in the form of the Crown of St. Agnes of Bohemia, a piece by sculptor Daniel Ignác Trubač.
Subcarpathian Ruthenians apologise to Zeman over Crimea statement claim
The World Council of Subcarpathian Ruthenians have apologised to President Miloš Zeman and the Czech public over a false claim that the head of state had said that the Ukrainian territory of Crimea was part of Russia. The comment was meant to have been made to the group’s delegation at an event at Prague Castle on October 28 marking the anniversary of the independence of Czechoslovakia.
However, the group’s deputy leader said that “an unfortunate statement causing speculation about such a comment” had been made by a person whose membership of other associations had nothing to do with the World Council of Subcarpathian Ruthenians.
The president’s spokesman said recently that Mr. Zeman continued to regard the annexation of Crimea as unlawful.
GPs out of flu vaccines at best time for inoculation
Most GPs in the Czech Republic have run out of flu vaccines, despite this being the best time of year to get inoculated, Czech Television reported on Saturday. One pharmacist told the station that the first wave of vaccines, which had arrived in mid-October, had been sold out and finding more was proving impossible at present. Suppliers say more vaccines should be available from November 15.
Last winter around a million people caught influenza in the Czech Republic. Almost 200 died from complications linked to the illness.
Closure of Prague embankment extended as city weighs long-term change
The Prague authorities have decided to extend an experiment under which the city centre embankment Smetanovo nábřeží, which is near Charles Bridge on the Old Town side of the river, has been closed to traffic. The restrictions will remain in place for another week while more data is collected on their impact. This will be used to help weigh up long-term closures on both banks of the Vltava.
Smetanovo nábřeží has been closed since October 29. Last Monday City Hall also closed the road between Valdštejnská St. and Újezd on the opposite side of the river to traffic.
First snow of winter reported in Šumava
The first snow of this winter in the Czech Republic fell around the village of Kvilda in the Šumava mountain range in the southwest of the country on Friday night, iDnes.cz reported.
Forecasters said that snow showers could fall in areas higher than 900 metres above sea level, especially in Bohemia, on Saturday. They said there was also a danger of glaze on roads in some upland places, with temperatures set to fall below freezing point at night.
Sunday should be largely cloudy in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 7 degrees Celsius. Similar weather is expected through the first half of next week.