One person, a 55-year-old Czech national, was detained by the police following a raid at the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation – a cultural centre near Wenceslas Square in Prague, on the suspicion of the illegal publishing and distribution of a book inciting racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. On Saturday, a day after the raid, he was formally charged. Around 20 people were brought in for questioning; the foreigners police launched extradition proceedings against several of them, ČTK reported, citing the spokesman for the anti-organised crime squad.
Prague hockey club Lev Praha lost 2:1 on Friday against Magnitogorsk in the KHL’s Gagarin Cup finals. The team was beaten in overtime – its second straight loss – putting Magnitogorsk a win away from the cup. The club leads the best-of-seven series 3:2. The next match takes place in Prague on Monday; Lev will have to win to force a deciding Game 7 back in Russia. No non-Russian team has ever won the Gagarin Cup.
The coming week will see mostly rainy weather, meteorologists report, with temperatures reaching around 17 degrees Celsius, not uncommon for the end of April. Rainfall will be higher than average until the end of May. Temperatures in roughly-mid May are expected to be around 20 or 21 degrees Celsius.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a recommendation warning travelers to Mexico to avoid dangerous areas, namely eight states where drug-related violence continues to run high. According to the ministry, special care had to be taken even in Mexico City, where, it said, security was not comparable to that of European cities. The ministry is providing additional information about travel in Mexico at its website. Seven years ago former president Felipe Calderón intensified law enforcement operations against the Mexican drug cartels, often leading to retaliatory violence and murder: more than 80,000 people lost their lives.
President Miloš Zeman has told journalists he had no idea a Russian academician – Sergey Komkov – had proposed him as a nominee for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Komkov, the chairman of the All-Russian Fund of Education, praised Mr Zeman for a balanced approach to the situation in Ukraine and for the offer that the Czech Republic could act as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine to try and solve the current crisis. Mr Zeman made the offer at the Eastern Partnership summit held in Prague on Thursday and Friday. Mr Zeman responded to journalists by saying that the peace prize was only awarded for “concrete results”.
The Czech government headed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, as well as Czech President Miloš Zeman, have called for the release of a group of seven OSCE observers, including a Czech national, who were ‘seized’ by separatists in eastern Ukraine. The observers were travelling with members of the Ukrainian military; rebels charged that one of the Ukrainians was a spy. Prime Minister Sobotka said the incident had only escalated the situation in Ukraine. Both he and President Zeman insisted the OSCE observers needed to be released and be allowed to go about their work – monitoring developments on the ground.
The Prague Transport authority has warned passengers that four tram lines cutting across Wenceslas Square in the centre of Prague will be re-routed for a period of two months for maintenance work. The planned fall-out between Lazarská and Jindřišská streets will come into effect this Saturday and last until June 28th. People covering this stretch will either have to use the metro or walk. The scheduled repair work on tram lines is also expected to complicate car traffic in the city centre.
The police’s organized crime squad raided several Prague sites on Friday, including the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation, a cultural centre near Wenceslas Square, on suspicion of the illegal publishing and distribution of a book inciting racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, a spokesman for the organized crime squad said on Friday. One of the raids took place in the Islamic Foundation’s house of prayer, disrupting the religious gathering. One of the people present, the first secretary of the Indonesian Embassy, told the ctk news agency the police stormed the premises telling people to lie down face of the floor as they searched the grounds. Five people were arrested. The police did not specify what publication they were looking for.
Czech President Miloš Zeman was elected winner of the 2013 Oil Guzzler award, a mock prize established by environmental groups to highlight the worst anti-environmental stance, decision or project in any given year. Mr. Zeman received the award for promoting the 380km-long Danube-Oder-Elbe water corridor project. Critics say that if built, the project would destroy the remnants of the natural ecosystems of Central Europe and it would only benefit construction firms. Mr. Zeman discussed the project with his Austrian counterpart Heinz Fischer at the EU´s Eastern Partnership summit in Prague on Friday, arguing that it would create thousands of new jobs and prevent disastrous floods.