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Czech Senators condemn Russian detention of Ukrainian ships

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the upper house of parliament, the Senate, has condemned Russia’s detention of Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea.

Members of the committee recalled the right of vessels to access the Sea of Azov, to where they were headed on Sunday.

Russia claims the Ukrainian vessels had crossed into its waters, but that is based on its illegal claim to Crimea, which it seized in 2014.

Under a treaty ratified by Ukraine and Russia in 2004 that is still in force, the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait were defined as shared territorial waters.

On Monday, members of the lower house’s Foreign Affairs Committee advocated tougher sanctions against Russia, while the Czech foreign minister has spoken of forcing a reduction in the relatively high number of diplomats at Russia’s Embassy in Prague.

South Korean President wraps up Prague visit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is wrapping up an official visit to the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

He is due to hold talks with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš that will focus on bilateral relations, cultural exchanges and the situation on the Korean peninsula.

On Tuesday, Moon Jae-in met with Koreans living in this country. From Prague, he is heading to Buenos Aires for a Group of Twenty summit.

Police: Gang sold Pervitin worth up to CZK 200 mln in past two years

Czech police say a criminal gang based in Karviná, near the Polish border, over the past two years sold an astounding 163 kilos of crystal meth, known locally as Pervitin.

The street value of the drug could have been between 100 million to 200 million crowns.

Police said last week they arrested seven members of the gang at various locations throughout the country. They had used highly sophisticated methods to avoid their production and distribution networks from being detected.

Jurečka to stand for chairmanship of Christian Democrats in March

Marian Jurečka has announced his intention to run for the post of chairman of the Christian Democrats at a congress in March. The former minister of agriculture informed his party’s members that he would stand in an email, Aktuálně.cz reported.

Mr. Jurečka, who is the Christian Democrats’ first deputy leader, hopes to replace current chairman Pavel Bělobrádek, who had previously said he would not seek re-election. Jan Bartošek and Marek Výborný are also challenging for the leadership of the opposition grouping.

Prague leaders agree to restore dilapidated Libeň Bridge

The new Prague City Council leadership has decided to restore rather than tear down Libeňský most, a dilapidated bridge built in 1928, Prague Lord Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) has announced.

The previous Prague City Council leadership had backed demolishing Libeň Bridge but suspended a final decision following protests from conservationists, architects and engineers, among others.

Libeňský most was blocked to traffic for nearly two months to carry out emergency repairs early this year.

The concrete bridge is the longest one in Prague. It was designed by architects Pavel Janák and František Mencl in the Cubist style and opened to the public on April 29, 1928 for the tenth anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

Czech houses of worship to mark Red Wednesday

The Czech Republic is for the first time celebrating Red Wednesday, a global event whose goal is to remember those who cannot practise their faith freely throughout the world.

In a show of solidarity, a number of churches, synagogues and other religious sites throughout the country will be illuminated in red during the evening. In Prague, these include the St. Nicholas Church on Old Town Square and the Old-New Synagogue in Josefov, the historic Jewish quarter.

A conference on the role of religion in society is also underway in Prague, attended by representatives of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the pontifical foundation that launched the Red Wednesday initiative in support of persecuted Christians.

Plzeň keep European hopes alive with valuable win over CSKA

Viktoria Plzeň have boosted their chances of coming third in their group in football’s Champions League after a 2:1 away win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday evening. The Czech side went behind in Moscow before overturning the deficit with goals from Roman Procházka, who had earlier missed a penalty, and Lukáš Hejda.

With the two qualifying positions in the group won by Real Madrid and Roma, Plzeň are vying with CSKA for third spot and a place in the Europa League after Christmas. With both on equal points, Plzeň welcome Roma on the final match day in a fortnight while CSKA visit Real.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be clear in the north and partly cloudy in the south, with light snowfall or freezing rain likely in southern Moravia the morning. Daytime highs should range between -1 and 3 degrees Celsius.