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Zeman calls for dropping of sanctions against Russia at conference organised by Putin associate

Czech President Miloš Zeman called on the West to drop “unnecessary and counterproductive” sanctions against Russia in a speech at an event organised by an associate of Russian President Vladmir Putin. Mr. Zeman described the conflict in Ukraine as a “civil war”, echoing the views of the Russian leadership, in the Russian-language address, which was delivered on Friday at the conference in Rhodes put on by Kremlin insider Vladimir Yakunin. The Czech president also said the West and Russia should unit in the battle against Islamic State militants.

Ombudswoman Šabatová: Deputy Křeček harming office

The Czech ombudswoman Anna Šabatová says the deputy ombudsman Stanislav Křeček is causing harm to her office. Speaking in Saturday’s edition of Mladá fronta Dnes, the public advocate said Mr. Křeček had a habit of expressing opinions at variance with her office’s official statements. The two recently clashed over a medical school’s ban on Muslim students wearing headscarves; the ombudswoman described the prohibition as indirect discrimination, while her deputy said the institution could decide on its students’ dress. Ms. Šabatová was a leading dissident under communism while Mr. Křeček is a former MP for the Social Democrats and heads a landlords’ organisation.

Plaque to dissident poet Jirous unveiled in hometown

A plaque to the late poet Ivan Martin Jirous is set to be unveiled in his hometown of Humpolec in the Vysočina region on Saturday. A leading figure in the cultural underground and signatory of the Charter 77 protest document, Jirous spent a total of more than eight years in communist prisons. The unveiling of the plaque will represent the climax of a festival entitled Magor’s September, in reference to his nickname magor, which means madman.

Bust of Michael Jackson originally intended for Letná installed at children’s home

A bust of Michael Jackson has been unveiled at the Charlotte Masaryk Children’s Home in the Prague district of Zbraslav. Speakers at the unveiling of the monument to the pop star, who died in 2009, drew attention to his charity work. The self-styled King of Pop visited the children’s home when he played a concert on Prague’s Letná Plain in 1996. Sculptor and Jackson fan Daniela Kartáková had campaigned to have her bust of the singer installed at Letná but the plan was dropped after objections from locals.

Over 4,000 pubs taking part in second Day of Czech Beer

Over 4,000 pubs and restaurants and dozens of breweries are taking part in the second annual Day of Czech Beer on Saturday. The hostelries and breweries are teaming up to offer guests special menus and tastings of unusual brews, while brewmasters will make appearances in some locations. The Czech News Agency reported that pub owners hope to create a new tradition of celebrating the country’s “national drink” on the eve of St. Wenceslas Day, a holiday celebrating Czech statehood.

Kvitová wins inaugural Wuham Open and qualifies for WTA Finals

The leading Czech women’s tennis player Petra Kvitová has won the inaugural Wuham Open in China after overcoming Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-4 in the final of the WTA tournament. The Czech beat the Canadian in the Wimbledon final earlier this year. Saturday’s victory gave Kvitová her third title of the year and the 14th of her career and also secured her qualification for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore next month.

Temperatures could reach up to 22 degrees Celsius at turn of month

Temperatures in the Czech Republic at the turn of September and October next week could reach up to 22 degrees Celsius, relatively warm for the time of year, the Czech Hydro-meteorological Institute said in a monthly forecast released on Saturday. After that temperatures are expected to fall, with night time temperatures below zero by the end of the month.