Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for May 19, 2021

Pirates/STAN launch election campaign, Zeman apologizes to Serbia, and a cyber attack strikes the oldest Czech library. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 19.05.2021 09:34 (updated on 19.05.2021) Reading time: 4 minutes

Pirates/STAN launch election campaign: "Let's Return the Future to the Country"

"Let's Return the Future to the Country," is the motto with which the Czech opposition tandem of the Pirates and Mayors and Independents (STAN) will run in the autumn general election, the two parties' leaders Ivan Bartos and Vit Rakusan said after launching the coalition's joint election campaign today. Bartos said the Czech Republic still suffers from clientelism, chaos in the state management, and the state's incapability of coping with crisis situations. Rakusan said it is important to return the correct course to the Czech Republic and see to it that all people face a prosperous future. The Pirates/STAN, which has led Czech party popularity polls for some time now, presented their new logo and campaign motto on Prague's Alšovo nábřeží, from where the Government Office building can be seen on the opposite bank of the Vltava River. The Pirates and STAN signed an election coalition pact in January, striving to gain at least 25 percent in the general elections on October 8-9. In several recent public opinion polls, Pirates/STAN emerged as the most popular entity that would gain about 27 percent of the vote if elections were held this spring. ČTK

Prague's National Library closes down after cyber attack

The National Library (NK) in Prague announced yesterday that it has been the victim of a cyberattack and has switched off its key systems. Experts are now working on the safe resumption of its operation but the library will remain closed to the public until further notice. NK management has filed a criminal complaint about the unidentified perpetrator over the attack. In the meantime, the borrowed books can be returned to the book-box within the Klementinum complex. A spokesperson said that some digital databases are still working. At present, the NK records about 30,000 readers. The NK is one of the oldest Czech public libraries, administering the biggest book collection in the country. It is located in Klementinum, reporting to the Culture Ministry. The NK is the center of the library system, administering the collection of historical and modern literature with over six million documents. Annually, another roughly 70,000 titles are added to the collection. There are over 16,000 manuscripts such as the priceless Vysehradsky kodex (Codex Vyssegradensis in Latin, aka Coronation Gospels of King Vratislaus) from 1086. According to the security firm Check Point, the number of hackers' attacks surged by 259 percent since the start of the year. ČTK

Zeman apologizes for 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia

Czech President Miloš Zeman apologized for the 1999 NATO bombing of then Yugoslavia and asked the Serbian nation for forgiveness during his talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučič Tuesday. In 1999, the Czech Republic sought an ally with whom to reject the bombing but were unable to find any, said Zeman who was then Prime Minister. The NATO airstrikes started on March 24, 1999. The Czech Republic joined NATO only a few days before, on March 12. The Serbian nation expressed support for the Czech nation in 1938 and 1968, Zeman added, referring to the situations after the Munich Agreement forced upon Czechoslovakia and the Soviet-led invasion of the country. Zeman bestowed the Order of White Lion first class, the highest Czech state decoration, on Vučič at Prague Castle during the first official presidential visit in the Czech Republic since the Covid outbreak. Prime Minister Babiš will meet with Serbian president Vučič Wednesday. ČTK

First of two new CASA aircraft lands in Prague

The first of the two new transportation aircraft CASA C-295MW for the Czech military landed at the Prague-Kbely airport Tuesday evening. The new plane will complement the current fleet of the 242nd transportation and special flight. The military will pay CZK 2.3 billion for the two aircraft. The second aircraft is to land in late June. After flight and ground personnel are trained for the new and modernized systems, the aircraft will undergo military tests to check all the declared capabilities, performance, and parameters, the military said. In Seville, where the military received the new aircraft in early May, the four CASA aircraft the military will be gradually upgraded. The aircraft will be involved in foreign and humanitarian missions, transport of both people and materiel, and support of military ground forces and parachuting battalions. The CASA aircraft has been operating in the MFO mission in the Sinai since 2013. ČTK

Czech writer wins 2021 European Union Prize for Literature

The 2020 European Union Prize for Literature (EUPL) was awarded to Czech writer Lucie Faulerova, 31, nominated for her novel Deathmaiden. The jury praised the work's musical composition and its story of family tragedies tinged with black humor. Faulerova won over four other Czech authors. Overall, the EUPL jury gave its prizes to writers from 14 countries. The award-giving ceremony will take place in Brussels in November. After four years, the Czech Republic once again joined the awarded nations. Deathmaiden is Faulerova's second work after Dust Catchers published in 2017. Its hypnotic rhythm gradually reveals the traumatic history of protagonist Mara who experiences difficulties coping with a death in her family. Awarded since 2009, the EUPL prizes are meant to shed light on talented authors and help promote their work abroad to a wider readership. Read an English-language excerpt of the winning book at ČTK

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