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Turkish ambassador: Situation of Czechs arrested in Turkey serious

The Turkish ambassador to Prague Ahmet Necati Bigalı has said the situation of the two Czechs arrested in Turkey and charged with terrorist activities in the Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit YPG is serious. In an interview for Czech Radio the ambassador said that if the two suspects are members of YPG and have taken part in terrorist activities on Turkish soil they will almost certainly be tried in the country. The ambassador said it could take longer for the trial to start since the Turkish security forces had arrested a large number of terrorists in recent days.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the two nationals in detention are Marketa Vselichova and Miroslav Farkas. Farkas and Vselichova have spoken openly about assisting the Kurdish militia in its fight against IS militants in the past giving the Czech media several interviews on the subject. The Czech Foreign Ministry is trying to secure their extradition to the Czech Republic.

PM will not relinquish party top post

The prime minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka has dismissed the idea that he should relinquish one of his posts in the wake of the party’s defeat in October’s regional and Senate elections. Countering an attack from South Bohemian governor Jiri Zimola, Mr. Sobotka said that he had rejected the idea of separating the posts in the past since such a step would merely create potential conflict and undermine party unity. He said there would be sufficient space at the party’s national conference in March to talk about how the party should boost flagging voter support. Mr. Sobotka also slammed critics in the party for attacking the party leadership via the press, saying this only harmed the party’s interests and played into the hands of its main rival ANO.

EU citizens with temporary residence in CR may get right to vote

Citizens from other EU member states with temporary residence in the Czech Republic may get the right to take part in local and European elections, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Friday. The Interior Ministry has put forward a draft amendment to the election law, in reaction to a court verdict that said EU foreigners should have the right to vote in local and European elections. The Brno Regional Court upheld the complaint of a Slovak man, who argued that he would have the right to vote in these elections in other EU countries. The bill concerns some 118,000 EU foreigners with temporary residence in the Czech Republic.

MPs backtracking on defamation bill

Politicians have started backtracking on a proposal that would make defamation of the president a criminal offense punishable by up to a year in jail, Czech Radio reported on Friday. Several deputies from ANO, the Social Democrats and the Dawn movement, who originally backed the proposal have announced they are withdrawing support for the bill. Deputy Marek Černoch from the Dawn movement said he had reconsidered mainly due to the argument that a prison sentence for defamation was excessive. Others are reported to be wavering and say they will await the outcome of the bill’s first reading in Parliament. The proposal, which was originally supported by 60 MPs, came under fire from all sides. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Social Democrats said it could be abused in political battles while ANO leader Andrej Babiš said it violates the right to freedom of speech.

First-ever Space and Sound concert in Prague

Music lovers will get a rare opportunity to saviour a Space and Sound concert involving three orchestras at Forum Karlín in Prague on Saturday. The audience will hear Karlheinz Stockhausen’s unique Gruppen for three orchestras, the electronic piece Gesang der Jünglinge and John Cage’s Atlas Eclipticalis. The three orchestras are the Janáček Philharmonic Ostrava, the Ostrava band and the Stonava Miners’ Brass Band. At Space and Sound concerts the audience sits right in the middle of the orchestra. It is the first time that such a concert will be performed in Prague.

Sábliková wins 3,000 meters race at Speed Skating World Cup

Three times Olympics winner Martina Sábliková triumphed at the women's 3,000 meters race at the Speed Skating World Cup in Nagano, Japan. She was timed at 4min 03.57sec as she defeated Antoinette de Jong of the Netherlands, who took the silver. Sáblíková also secured the 3,000m title last week during the opening stage of the World Cup in Harbin in China. She is striving for her 11th World Cup victory.

Weather forecast

Saturday should bring overcast skies and rain across most of the country with day temperatures ranging from 5 to 10 degrees Celsius.