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Thousands sign petition against public display of racism and xenophobia at anti-migrant rallies

Over 5,000 people have signed an appeal calling on the government to openly denounce the recent show of racism and intolerance at several anti-migrant demonstrations in the Czech Republic. The appeal, drafted by the group StopHatred.cz, calls on the prime minister and interior minister to take a resolute stand to the hate-speech and xenophobia the country has witnessed, saying that the public debate on the migrant issue had been hijacked by a number of intolerant individuals who were spreading an atmosphere of fear and hate.

A group of 12 senators on Friday made a similar appeal, sending an open letter to the government, in which they asked the country’s leadership to strongly denounce the displays of hatred and xenophobia. The senators say it is alarming that police officers present at these demonstrations did not take action against what is clearly a violation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has already slammed the police for its inaction demanding an explanation from his subordinates.

MERS ruled out in Czech patient

Tests have ruled out the potentially fatal MERS virus in a Czech man hospitalized in Prague, the country’s chief hygiene officer Vladimir Valenta reported on Friday. The patient, a man from Ostrava who had recently travelled to South Korea, remains at Prague’s Na Bulovce hospital for further tests and treatment. The 49 people who were placed in quarantine in connection with the case will be released immediately. It was the country’s second MERS scare and Mr. Valenta said that the measures undertaken showed that the authorities were well prepared to deal with a potential crisis.

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival kicks off on Friday night

The 50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival kicks off on Friday night in the west Bohemian spa town. The festival which is screening over 220 movies, will open with the 2014 American drama Time out of Mind, starring Richard Gere who will present the film alongside director Oren Moverman and co-star Jena Malone. Richard Gere is to receive the highest honour of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema. Among this year’s other VIP guests are the American actor Harvey Keitel and Irish actor Jamie Dornan. The festival will end on July 11th with a gala award ceremony.

Czech Republic and Germany to broaden cooperation in nine spheres

German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier and his Czech counterpart Lubomír Zaorálek on Friday signed a declaration on Czech-German strategic dialogue in Berlin. The agreement entails broadening cooperation in nine spheres, among them foreign policy, research, education, energy, culture and the fight against drug abuse. In the area of foreign policy the Czech Republic said it wanted to acquire know-how from Germany on how to combine economic diplomacy and defence of human rights.

Czech contingent back from Khaan Quest in Mongolia

A Czech contingent of around 50 troops has returned from Mongolia where it took part in Khaan Quest an annual multinational exercise co-sponsored by the U.S. military, designed to promote regional peace and security in Northeast Asia. The Czech troops provided survival instruction courses to a Mongolian contingent ahead of its scheduled UN mission to Southern Sudan. According to the Czech ambassador to Mongolia Ivana Grollova the unit received high praise for and has been asked to run similar training courses next year.

Metro C line restricted due to track maintenance

Prague City Transport has announced that a stretch of Prague metro’s C line will be out of operation for a fortnight due to track maintenance. Trains will not be running between Kačerov and Háje stations from Saturday July 4th until July 16th. Passengers have been asked to use replacement buses instead.

Strahov tunnel to close to traffic on Saturday

Prague’s Strahov tunnel, which links the Prague 5 and 6 districts, is due to close to traffic at 8 am on Saturday for a ten day period. During that time road workers will link the tunnel to the newly built Blanka tunnel complex which is due to open to traffic in mid-September. Drivers have been warned to expect heavier traffic and complications with detours during the closure. The tunnel is due to reopen on July 14th at 5 am.

Šafářová reaches fourth round at Wimbledon after victory over Stephens

In the women’s singles at Wimbledon on Friday, 6th seed Lucie Šafářová beat Sloane Stephens 3-6 6-3 6-1 to reach the 4th round at Wimbledon for the second time in her career. “I am extremely happy. Sloane played a tough game but from the second set I was more aggressive and was able to turn the match around,” she told reporters. She will next face US Coco Vandeweghe against whom she has not previously played.

Three Czechs advanced to third round at Wimbledon

Three Czech tennis players advanced to the third round at Wimbledon on Thursday. Defending champion Petra Kvitová eased past Japan’s Kurumi Nara with a straight-sets win of 6:2, 6:0. In the men’s singles, Tomáš Berdych overwhelmed French Nicolas Mahut 6:1, 6:4, 6:4 in just over an hour and a half. The third Czech who made it through to the third round was Kristýna Plíšková, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 3:6, 6:3, 6:4. Three other Czechs, Lukáš Rosol, Jiří Veselý a Denisa Allertová, failed to get past the second round at Wimbledon.

Czech Republic braces for heatwave

Meteorologists have been issuing health warnings with respect to the tropical heatwave that is expected to hit the Czech Republic over the weekend. Temperatures on Sunday and Monday should hit 37 degrees Celsius with the worst conditions expected in the big cities. People have been advised to stay out of the sun and limit physically straining activities as much as possible. The situation is further complicated by the fact that Sunday is a public holiday dedicated to the missionaries Cyril and Methodius who brought Christianity to the Czech lands and hundreds of believers are expected to undertake the annual pilgrimage to Velehrad.