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Intellectuals warn against the rise of populism in Europe

A group of 30 writers, historians and Nobel laureates, including Czech-born writer Milan Kundera, have signed a manifesto warning against the rise of populism in Europe.

The manifesto, published in several newspapers, including The Guardian, says Europe is “coming apart before our eyes” and expresses concern in connection with Brexit and the upcoming European elections.

The authors warn that unless efforts are made to combat a rising tide of populism, the EU elections will be “the most calamitous that we have ever known” opening the way for “explosions of xenophobia and antisemitism”.

The 800-word manifesto was drafted by the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy. Its signatories include novelists Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie, historian Simon Schama and the Nobel prize laureates Svetlana Alexievitch, Herta Müller, Orhan Pamuk and Elfriede Jelinek.

Czech Union of Judges preparing new ethical codex

The Czech Union of Judges is preparing to upgrade its ethical codex in connection with suspicions that President Miloš Zeman had tried to influence the outcome of court rulings in cases that involved the Office of the President or that he felt strongly about.

It has emerged that the president’ s chancellor met with judges on a number of occasions to inform them about the president’s stance on a given court case.

The president of the Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetský, stressed in connection with the scandal that he trusted the independence of Czech courts and the said meetings did not automatically mean that judges were influenced by them.

On the other hand, Rychetský said the matter was serious in that such incidents inevitably undermined public trust in the judiciary.

Institute for Drug Control urging British companies to file for export licence

The State Institute for Drug Control has urged British pharmaceutical companies to file for a new export licence to the Czech Republic, according to its head Irena Storová.

Ms. Storová said that around twenty British companies exporting pharmaceutical products to the Czech Republic had failed to do so, which would present a serious problem post-Brexit and could result in fall-outs on the Czech market.

The issue concerns all EU member states some of which have reportedly made a similar appeal.

Pospíšil to lead TOP 09 in European elections

TOP 09 leader Jiří Pospíšil will lead the party in elections to the European Parliament in May. Pospíšl said the party would be the voice of all pro-EU citizens.

Other priorities include security and environmental issues as well as greater transparency in the process of drawing EU funds.

In the last elections to the European Parliament TOP 09 won four mandates. Elections to the European Parliament are due to be held on May 24-25.

Respected Czech actor Luděk Munzar dies at 85

Luděk Munzar, one of the country’s most respected theatre and film actors, has died at the age of 85.

Munzar was a long-term member of the prestigious National Theatre ensemble and in a career spanning more than half a century he appeared in dozens of television films and series, frequently alongside his wife Jana Hlaváčová.

In 2011 he received a Thalia lifetime achievement award from the Czech Actors' Association.

Kvitová beaten by Osaka at Australian Open

Petra Kvitová was beaten at the Australian Open by 21-year-old Naomi Osaka 6:7 7:5 4:6 on Saturday, dashing her hopes of a third grand slam title.

Petra Kvitová was playing in her first grand slam final since winning her second Wimbledon title in 2014 and only two years after the knife attack at her home that put her career at risk.

“It's a great tournament to be in, it has been a while since I've been in the final. I want to thank my friends and family back home. I want to thank everyone who made it possible to help me come back and play” Kvitová said after the dramatic match.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be overcast around the country with rain showers and day temperatures between 2 and 6 degrees Celsius.