Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has ordered the release of a Czech national who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for spying and inciting hatred, the AFP agency reported on Sunday. Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour announced the news at a joint press conference with his Czech counterpart Lubomír Zaorálek, who flew to Khartoum earlier on Sunday to negotiate Mr Jašek's release. "President Bashir has pardoned Czech national Petr Jašek because of good relations between Sudan and the Czech Republic," the AFP quoted him saying. According to the spokeswoman of the Czech Foreign Ministry, Irena Valentová, Petr Jašek will arrive in Prague on board of the Czech delegation`s plane at around 11 p.m. on Sunday. The arrival will be followed by a press briefing, she added.
The ANO party of the ruling coalition elected new leadership at a party
congress in Prague over the weekend. Jaroslav Faltýnek, the head of
ANO's deputies club, was re-elected first deputy leader of the party
on Sunday. Other deputies include Defence Minister Martin Stropnnický,
Environment Minister Richard Brabec, governor of the Central Bohemian
region Jaroslav Jermanová and Brno mayor Petr Vokřál. On Saturday,
Finance Minister Andrej Babiš was unanimously re-elected leader of the
party. Mr Babiš was the only candidate to run for the post.
On the second day of its congress, the party also approved an amendment to the its’s statutes, giving greater powers to its leader. Under the new statuses, the party chief can, among others, change the names and the order of candidates on a party list at an election. Speaking on a political debate porgramme on Czech Television in Sunday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and head of Mayors and Independents party Petr Gazdík criticized the move, warning that the party was moving towards authoritarian leadership.
Industry and Trade Minister deputy Lubomír Bokštefl will be dismissed from his office along with minister Jan Mládek, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday in a political debate programme on Czech Television, adding that he wasn’t satisfied with his performance. Mr Sobotka criticized Mr Bokštefl for his comments in an online debate with readers of the news website Aktuálně.cz, when he told one person to “go to Poland” if they wanted Polish rates for mobile data. The Industry and Trade Minister was sacked last week over his failure to support the Czech government’s efforts to cut the excessively high bills Czechs pay for mobile phone services. He has been under fire in recent weeks among others for saying that mobile “roaming” services were for an elite class of people that make up 5 percent of the population. Following the dismissal, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka’s said he would temporarily take over the industry ministry portfolio until he found suitable replacement.
The National Gallery in Prague remains closed to the public. The gallery had to close down all of its buildings on Saturday following a dispute with the security agency guarding the premises. The agency terminated its contract on Friday, claiming that the gallery hasn’t paid for their services. According to the head of the PR and marketing department, Miroslav Krupička, the gallery will try to re-open next week. They will also prolong the validity of the purchased tickets until the end of May.
Temperatures in the Czech Republic should be above-average for the time of year in the next four weeks, according to a regularly monthly weather forecast issued by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute. Next week, temperatures are expected to hover around 10 degrees Celsius. Rainfall levels over the next four weeks should be average for the month of March.
Czech tennis player Lucie Šafářová has advanced to the finals at the WTA tournament in Budapest, after beating Germany`s Carina Witthöft 6:4, 6:3. It is Šafářová`s first singles final since she won Prague Open last year. The one-time world number five will be playing for the eighth title in her career.
The Czech Republic has been marking “masopust” or the traditional Czech carnival which comes before the fasting period of Lent. Processions of people wearing colorful masks and costumes on Saturday marched through a number of villages and towns across the country, celebrating the beginning of Lent, which is traditionally accompanied by a zabijačka or pig-slaughter. One of the biggest event took place in the town of Roztoky u Prahy, with more than two thousand people attending the costumed parade to nearby Únětice.
The National Gallery in Prague has unexpectedly closed down all its premises due to “serious technical and operational reasons”. The information was published on the gallery`s website on Saturday. According to the news site Denik.cz, the move was a result of a terminated contract with the security agency guarding the gallery`s buildings. According to the head of the PR ad marketing department, Miroslav Krupička, the gallery will prolong the validity of the purchased tickets until the end of May. It is not yet clear when the gallery will re-open again.