Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 28, 2021

New Prague mural to honor WWII resistance fighters, Czech Republic on Russia's list of "unfriendly" nations, senators could sue Zeman for Vrbětice remarks. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 28.04.2021 09:36:00 (updated on 28.04.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech senators could take legal action against Zeman over Vrbětice remarks

Czech senators are considering initiating a constitutional lawsuit against President Milos Zeman over his comments on the 2014 case of ammunition stores blast in south Moravia, of which Russian GRU secret service agents are suspected. The decision on initiation of the constitutional lawsuit will be made within few weeks. The group reached out to lawyers, asking them whether there is any relevant basis for a lawsuit, The senator groups of the opposition Mayors and Independents (STAN), ODS and TOP 09 will discuss a possible lawsuit this afternoon. In a televised speech on Sunday, Zeman said there is no evidence of Russian agents' presence in the Vrbetice ammunition depot in the autumn of 2014 when two devastating explosions occurred there, one killing two people. Zeman said it is also necessary to check the original investigation version, according to which the explosion occurred due to unskilled handling of explosives. CTK

Nationwide protests against Russian-leaning Czech president planned for Thursday

Following a controversial television interview by President Miloš Zeman, the Million Moments for Democracy civic group have announced that they will organize nationwide demonstrations against the president’s pro-Russian bias. The demonstrations will take place in Prague, Brno, Plžen, Zlín and dozens of other towns on Thursday, April 29. Opposition parties have also criticized Zeman for an address made on Prima TV last Sunday, in which he claimed that there were two investigative versions into an explosion in an ammunition store in Vrbětice, south Moravia, in 2014. “Instead of supporting his own state, the president repeats the same tales as Russian propaganda and Russian disinformation websites” said co-founder and leader of Million Moments for Democracy, Benjamin Roll. CTK

Czech Republic, U.S. placed on list of countries 'unfriendly' to Russia

According to U.S. News and World Report, the U.S. and a number of other countries have been placed on a list of nation Russia considers to be "unfriendly". The publication reports that Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced over the weekend that the U.S. would be on the list following a presidential decree on April 23. In a graphic on Russia's Channel 1 headlined "List of countries unfriendly to Russia," the U.S. was at the top. Other countries on the list included Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Czech Republic, Estonia, United Kingdom and Georgia. Another screen grab from Channel 1, circulating on social media, also showed Australia in the group. A Russian foreign policy analyst said the list was only preliminary and had been leaked.

New fund to support cooperation of Czech scientists with MIT

A new fund to support the cooperation of scientists from the Czech Republic with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is being created by MIT, the Czech Academy of Sciences (AV), and its Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (UOCHB), the institute, said in a press release Tuesday. The IOCB Tecvrie company, a subsidiary of the UOCHB, will put money in the fund. Some $300,000 from the three-year program MIT-Czech Republic Seed Fund will go to the costs of research trips for Czech-American teams. "We consider this...a significant indicator of the quality of science in the Czech Republic," AV President Eva Zažímalová said, adding that the program would broaden research opportunities for the AV institutes, helping scientific cooperation in the early phases when it is not covered by standard grant support. MIT has similar programs in sixteen other countries including Germany, Japan and Israel. CTK

Large mural honoring Operation Anthropoid to be unveiled in Prague

In May 1942, Czechoslovak paratroopers Jan Kubiš and Jozef Gabčík carried out a plot to assassinate high-ranking Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich as he drove from his villa in Panenské Břežany to Prague Castle. Heydrich’s subsequent death as a result of his injuries and the story of the heroic resistance fighters, who would later die in a shootout in Prague’s Saints Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, have captured the public imagination for years. Those paratroopers are now being honored with the unveiling of a mural in Prague 8. The mural will be completed in the coming weeks and ceremoniously unveiled on May 22, 2021, accompanied by a reenactment.

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