Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 26, 2021

Zeman's interview on Vrbětice blast makes Moscow "happy," Prague Zoo temporarily closes Sunday due to crowds, and former president Havel's brother dies. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 26.04.2021 08:38:00 (updated on 26.04.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Russian leaders praise Zeman's remarks on Vrbětice blast

The Czech Republic has begun to realize that it has damaged Russian relations with its accusations against Russia, Vyacheslav Volodin, head of the State Duma, said Sunday after President Miloš Zeman gave an interview about the 2014 blasts in an ammunition warehouse. He added that Zeman spoke in an objective way about the situation. "We should pay respect to him because in a difficult situation when everyone is subordinated to the USA he spoke quite objectively. He did not rule out that the blast in Vrbětice could have resulted from unprofessional handling of explosives," Volodin said. Russian senator Alexej Pushkov stressed that Zeman had not presented any evidence on the implication of Russian secret services in the blasts as there is no such evidence. He said Zeman's speech had seriously questioned the "Russian version" of the explosions. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček said called Zeman's speech "unecessary" and said it only served to make Moscow "happy."

Former Czech president Václav Havel's brother has died at 82

Ivan Havel, a scientist and younger brother of former president Václav Havel and one of the founders of the Civic Forum in 1989, has died at the age of 82, Michael Žantovsky, the director of the Václav Havel Library, announced Sunday. "Ivan Havel has died, a man genuinely good, always original and helping others. Thank you for having existed, Ivan," Žantovsky said. For decades, Havel was a leading voice in computer sciences, artificial intelligence, and cognitive sciences. He was a published academic and editor-in-chief of the popular natural sciences magazine "Vesmír" (Space). He was also an honorary member of the board of directors of the charity organization Committee of Good Will, the Olga Havel Foundation, and of the Civic Forum Foundation.

Prague makes appearance in 93rd annual Academy Awards

Last night's live broadcast of the 93rd annual Academy Awards from Los Angeles featured a star turn from the city of Prague. While many nominees and winners attended in person, others appeared by satellite from locations including London, Sydney, and the Czech capital. Local film production company HayotFilms shot a live stream from the top of the Hotel U Prince in Prague's Old Town. According to Czech Radio Claudia Stolze, a make-up artist nominated for her work in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's novel "Emma," attended the April 26 screening from Prague.

Czech food drive collects 318 tons of goods for the needy

This year's spring food collection in the Czech Republic saw people in more than 800 stores donate 318 tons of goods for the needy. Of the total donations 286 tons were food and 32 tons were hygiene items said the Czech Federation of Food Banks which organizes the bi-annual collection. The charity event took place under strict hygiene conditions throughout the weekend. People can still donate food and a drugstore items via online purchases until May 2. During this year's spring collection 30 percent more goods were donated than in spring of 2019. Last year, the spring round did not take place due to a pandemic. Statistics show that the number of people in need who depend on food banks rose by tens of percent last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The collection has been held since 2013; since 2019 it has been held twice a year.

Thousands visit Prague Zoo and Botanical Gardens this weekend

After a nearly four-month-long closure due to anti-epidemic measures, Prague's botanical and zoological gardens have reopened to large crowds with thousands visiting through the weekend thanks to the sunny weather. The Prague Zoo had to temporarily close its gates again on Sunday, when it reached the maximum permitted capacity of 4,000 visitors. According to its Facebook page 7,332 people visited the Prague Zoo until Sunday at 5 p.m.; around 11 a.m., the zoo was closed due to maximum capacity. Some 1,300 people arrived at the Prague Botanical Garden by 1 p.m. on Sunday. Total attendance according to a spokesperson was about 3,800 people. The zoo and botanical gardens have been closed since December 18 of last year. Tickets to both venues in Prague's Troja district can be purchased online.

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