Daily news summary
Czechs mark Armistice centenary
Public gatherings, masses and commemorative ceremonies were held around the Czech Republic in remembrance of the ten million soldiers who fell in WWI.
In Prague, political leaders, war veterans and church dignitaries attended a remembrance ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Vítkov Memorial. On the occasion, Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar presented awards of merit to 22 war veterans both from WWII and the country’s modern-day foreign missions. On Sunday evening a mass will be celebrated at St. Vitus Cathedral in memory of those who died in the war.
According to estimates some 1.4 million men from the territory of the former Czechoslovakia fought in the war, either with the Austro-Hungarian army or in the foreign legions. Approximately 140,000 of them died on the battlefield.
PM Babiš in France for Armistice Day celebrations
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš took part in the Armistice celebrations in France. On Saturday evening the prime minister attended a dinner for world leaders hosted by President Emmanuel Macron and on Sunday he joined heads of state at a commemorative ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Champs-Elysees.
The Czech prime minister presented his host with a gift which he said symbolized the need to work for understanding among nations – a painting by Czech artist Zděnek Janda depicting the burning Tower of Babel.
Fire at storage facility for electronic waste
Close to one hundred fire fighters fought to contain a fire at a storage facility for electronic waste in Lety near Prague. The fire broke out in the evening hours on Saturday and eyewitnesses reported a series of explosions on the premises. The blaze was brought under control in the early hours of Sunday.
Although chemical experts failed to register toxins in the air the smoke was dense and people were advised to keep their windows closed until further notice.
The remains of the storage facility will have to be pulled down. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
PM Babiš meets with Czech born-writer Milan Kundera
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is on a three-day visit to France, on Saturday met with the Czech-born writer Milan Kundera.
Babiš said on Facebook that he and his wife had spent an unforgettable three hours with the Kunderas and he had offered to arrange for Kudera to get back his Czech citizenship, of which he was stripped by the communist regime in the 1970s.
He said the writer‘s response had been non-committal, but he had high hopes of the Kunderas visiting the Czech Republic next year.
Milan Kundera, best known for his 1984 novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, went into exile in France in 1975 and became a naturalised French citizen in 1981. He has not been in the Czech Republic for 22 years.
Czech Radio journalist Jan Petránek dies at 86
One of Czech Radio’s leading personalities, journalist and commentator Jan Petránek has died at the age of 86.
Petránek was actively involved in maintaining Czechoslovak Radio’s underground, independent broadcasts in the wake of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He was sacked by the management that same year and reinstated after the fall of communism.
In 2015 the Charter 77 signatory received a medal of merit from President Zeman.
Czechs win 11th Fed Cup victory
Katerina Siniakova led the Czech team to its 11th Fed Cup victory on Sunday. beating Sofia Kenin 7-5, 5-7, 7-5, her second singles win in the space of 24 hours.
The match lasted three hours and 45 minutes at Prague’s O2 Arena. It is the 11th Fed Cup victory overall for the Czechs and the 6th in 8 years.
Monday should be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 8 and 12 degrees Celsius.