News Czech officials denounce death sentence for pregnant Sudanese woman
The Czech prime minister has strongly denounced the verdict of a Sudanese court to stone a pregnant woman to death for apostasy. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he considered the sentence unacceptable and had asked Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek to make the Czech stand clear to his Sudanese counterpart Ali Ahmad Karti during their meeting in Prague on Thursday. The Speaker of the lower house of Parliament Jan Hamáček has likewise said he will take a strong stand on the issue when he meets with the Sudanese official. A judge in Khartoum last week sentenced a pregnant 27-year-old woman to death by stoning for the crime of apostasy, and to 100 lashings for adultery. The woman was originally charged with adultery only, but the court added the apostasy charge after she told the judge she had been brought up as a Christian and was not guilty. The case has evoked widespread protests from foreign governments and humanitarian organizations.
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The Czech Bishops´ Conference has offered the government assistance in accepting Christian migrants whose life is at threat. In a statement issued on Saturday the Czech Bishops´ Conference said it was prepared to call on parishes to accept families of Christian refugees, in cooperation with the local authorities. Local charity organisations should also get involved in the process of providing aid to immigrants, the bishops said. At the same time, they pointed out the need to distinguish economic migrants from refugees fleeing from war, hunger and instability.
Meteorologists have issued a heat storm warning for the western parts of the country on Saturday afternoon and evening, predicting torrential rain and hailstones in places. Afternoon heat-storms are expected across the country in the next two days when temperatures should hit 37 degrees Celsius. The tropic heatwave should break mid-week although a long-term forecast for July predicts above average temperatures for the entire month.
A Czech military plane is transporting four Przewalski mares to Mongolia for reintroduction into the wild, part of Prague Zoo’s long-standing programme to save the Mongolian wild horse. The zoo’s spokeswoman said the horses left Prague airport aboard a CASA military plane on Saturday. Przewalski’s horse is a rare subspecies native specifically to Mongolia. It became extinct in the wild 40 years ago and Prague Zoo has played a major role in saving the horse, breeding it and gradually returning it to its natural environment. Between 2011 and 2014 the zoo has sent 15 horses to a nature reserve in the Mongolian steppe where they have started breeding successfully.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec have resolutely condemned the racism and xenophobia displayed at a recent anti-migrant rally in Prague. Prime Minister Sobotka said it was inadmissible to use freedom of speech and assembly to spread intolerance and racial hatred and it was up to the police force to ensure the right of law at such gatherings. Interior Minister Milan Chovanec admitted that the law had been violated on several counts at the Prague demonstration and the police had failed to take action. He said the police force had been reminded of its duty and stressed that such behaviour would not be tolerated in future. Thousands of people have been signing a petition against racism and xenophobia in the wake of the anti-migrant rally in Prague, where the police turned a blind eye to participants carrying dummy gallows for the traitors who opened the country’s doors to migrants.
Two Czech tourists holidaying in the Albanian mountains were brutally murdered and robbed by unknown gunmen, the ctk news agency reports. The thirty-six year old woman and twenty six-year old man are reported to have been gunned down on a mountain road near the town of Skadar on their way to a tent camp. According to the AFP news agency the killers pushed the car with the dead bodies down a ravine to make it appear an accident. Police reportedly found an automatic weapon inside the car suggesting that one of the attackers might have been travelling with the victims.
People are gathering at the Velehrad pilgrimage site for the annual People of Goodwill Days that traditionally accompany the celebrations of the legacy of Ss Cyril and Methodius, missionaries from Thessalonica who brought Christianity to the Czech lands in the 9th century. Although the main celebrations, including a mass served by Cardinal Dominik Duka, will take place on Sunday, many events are taking place today, such as the unveiling of a sculpture to St. Methodius on the occasion of the 1200 th anniversary of his birth and a performance by a Greek choir from Thessalonica. The celebrations annually attract thousands of visitors and this year is not likely to be an exception despite the tropical heatwave that has hit the country.
Thirty people were evacuated from a block of flats in Litvinov on Saturday morning after a gas explosion in one of flats. Although the explosion shattered windows, the flat where it happened was empty and none of the inhabitants were hurt. Seven fire brigades from the vicinity were called to the scene and it took firefighters over two hours to get the fire under control. The municipality has provided temporary housing for the evacuated families.
The 50th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is offering viewers more than fifty screenings at eleven cinemas on Saturday. They selection includes the world premiere of Journey to Rome, a Czech-Polish coproduction, and the world premiere of the Kyrgyz movie Heavenly Nomadic. The highlight of the festival’s second day is the international premiere of the poker road movie Mississippi Grind, presented by actor Ben Mendelsohn with director Ryan Fleck. US actor, Richard Gere, who was presented with the Crystal Globe for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema at the festival’s opening ceremony of Friday night will give a press conference and later attend a screening of Pretty Woman at the festival’s outdoor cinema.
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
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.
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.