The Czech government headed by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, as well as Czech President Miloš Zeman, have called for the release of a group of seven OSCE observers, including a Czech national, who were ‘seized’ by separatists in eastern Ukraine. The observers were travelling with members of the Ukrainian military; rebels charged that one of the Ukrainians was a spy. Prime Minister Sobotka said the incident had only escalated the situation in Ukraine. Both he and President Zeman insisted the OSCE observers needed to be released and be allowed to go about their work – monitoring developments on the ground.
President Miloš Zeman has told journalists he had no idea a Russian academician – Sergey Komkov – had proposed him as a nominee for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Mr Komkov, the chairman of the All-Russian Fund of Education, praised Mr Zeman for a balanced approach to the situation in Ukraine and for the offer that the Czech Republic could act as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine to try and solve the current crisis. Mr Zeman made the offer at the Eastern Partnership summit held in Prague on Thursday and Friday. Mr Zeman responded to journalists by saying that the peace prize was only awarded for “concrete results”.
One person, a 55-year-old Czech national, was detained by the police following a raid at the headquarters of the Islamic Foundation – a cultural centre near Wenceslas Square in Prague, on the suspicion of the illegal publishing and distribution of a book inciting racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. On Saturday, a day after the raid, he was formally charged. Around 20 people were brought in for questioning; the foreigners police launched extradition proceedings against several of them, ČTK reported, citing the spokesman for the anti-organised crime squad.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has issued a recommendation warning travelers to Mexico to avoid dangerous areas, namely eight states where drug-related violence continues to run high. According to the ministry, special care had to be taken even in Mexico City, where, it said, security was not comparable to that of European cities. The ministry is providing additional information about travel in Mexico at its website. Seven years ago former president Felipe Calderón intensified law enforcement operations against the Mexican drug cartels, often leading to retaliatory violence and murder: more than 80,000 people lost their lives.
The coming week will see mostly rainy weather, meteorologists report, with temperatures reaching around 17 degrees Celsius, not uncommon for the end of April. Rainfall will be higher than average until the end of May. Temperatures in roughly-mid May are expected to be around 20 or 21 degrees Celsius.
Hockey club Zlín won the Extraliga title on Friday, defeating rivals Kometa Brno 5:3. It is the first time in 10 years that Zlín clinched the title. The newly-crowned champions only allowed Brno one win in the best-of-seven series.
Prague hockey club Lev Praha lost 2:1 on Friday against Magnitogorsk in the KHL’s Gagarin Cup finals. The team was beaten in overtime – its second straight loss – putting Magnitogorsk a win away from the cup. The club leads the best-of-seven series 3:2. The next match takes place in Prague on Monday; Lev will have to win to force a deciding Game 7 back in Russia. No non-Russian team has ever won the Gagarin Cup.