Daily news summary
Thousands of people pay last respects to Karel Gott
Thousand of fans of Karel Gott have paid their last respects to the iconic pop singer, who died at the age of 80 this month. His public memorial is being held at Žofín Palace until 10:00pm on Friday. Already on Thursday afternoon, the first fans began gathering in front of the venue by the Vltava River, despite a ban in Prague against sleeping in public places. An estimated 28, 000 people came to pay tribute to the late singer by Friday 7:00pm.
The popular singer passed away last Tuesday at the age of 80 after suffering from leukaemia. He is to be buried in Prague with state honours following a memorial service at St. Vitus Cathedral on Saturday, which has been declared by the government as a day of mourning.
Czech president’s proposal to revoke Kosovo recognition rejected
The Highest Constitutional Officials on Thursday rejected a proposal by President Miloš Zeman to revoke recognition of Kosovo as an independent state. He had promised during a visit to Serbia in early September to raise the issue at the official's next meeting.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognised by 100 members of the United Nations. Among those refusing to are Russia and China, with which Zeman has courted favour and tried to deepen ties, often against the Czech government’s wishes.
Serbia and Kosovo signed an EU-brokered deal to mend ties in 2013, but those efforts stalled when Belgrade blocked Pristina last year from joining Interpol, triggering a tit-for-tat 100 percent tax on Serb imports. Since then, Belgrade has stepped up efforts to get countries to withdraw their recognition of Kosovo.
The Highest Constitutional Officials include the president, prime minister, the heads of both houses of Parliament, and the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence and the Interior. In a statement after the meeting, Minister Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) stated that all speakers had agreed that position of the Czech Republic regarding Kosovo has not changed.
Czech police on high alert ahead of Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifier
Czech police are on high alert ahead of Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifier between England and the Czech Republic in Prague. Up to six thousand British football fans are expected to arrive in the Czech capital for the match, which is to be played at Slavia Prague’s Eden Arena.
The police will be out in force for the event, deploying mounted units and a special anti-riot squad.
England currently lead Group A, three points clear of the Czech Republic, who lost 5:0 to England in the first match at Wembley in March, suffering the heaviest defeat in the history of the international team.
Extinction rebellion activists block traffic in Prague
Activists from the Extinction Rebellion environmental group briefly blocked traffic in Prague’s Vršovice district on Friday morning. Later in the day, they also held two protest gatherings in front of Czech Television and ČEZ headquarters.
The Czech branch of Extinction Rebellion has joined a wave of climate protests organised by the environmental group around the world, calling on the government to reduce emissions from fossil fuels an achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
The series of events will culminate on Saturday with a demonstration and a traffic blockade on Wenceslas Square.
Netflix officially launches Czech-language user interface
US video streaming Netflix officially launched its Czech-language user interface on Friday. An estimated 1,000 films, approximately 20 percent of all content now streaming on the Czech version of Netflix, have received additional Czech subtitles or dubbing. Netflix has also begun to license and stream original Czech and Slovak-language films, which appear with English subtitles.
Netflix, which has been available in Czechia since 2016, is gearing up for increased competition on the Czech streaming market, with Apple TV+ set to launch in November at a significantly lower price.
Traditional fish harvest underway at Rožmberk
The annual three-day fish harvest got underway on Friday morning at the largest Czech fish pond Rožmberk, near Třeboň. The South Bohemian town is the country’s most famous centre for the production of carp, which is traditionally eaten by Czechs for Christmas dinner.
Overall, fishermen in Třeboň expect to harvest some 2,400 tonnes of fish from its 250 ponds this year. Last year, the traditional fish harvest attracted some 55,000 people.
Saturday is expected to be mostly sunny with daytime highs ranging between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius.