Czech women knocked out in Melbourne doubles quarter-finals
All of the Czech women left in the doubles competition in the Australian Open have been knocked out in the quarter-finals. Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková and her Taiwanese partner Latisha Chan were beaten on Tuesday by the Hungarian-French pairing of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Last year’s winner Lucie Šafářová and her current partner Barbora Strýcová lost to the Chinese-Taiwanese pair of Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai.
The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal against being held in
custody from Yevgeny Nikulin, who is wanted in the US on hacking charges.
Judges ruled that his appeal was unsubstantiated and lodged too late.
Mr. Nikulin was arrested in Prague in 2016. He is accused of hacking the computers of major internet firms such as LinkedIn and Dropbox and could face up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.
A Prague court has ruled that the 30-year-old can be extradited. It is now up to the Czech minister of justice to decide whether he should be handed over to the US or to Russia, where is wanted on a relatively minor charge.
President Miloš Zeman appeared in a television “debate” alone for the
second time on Monday evening. His opponent in the second round of
presidential elections, Jiří Drahoš, declined the invitation to meet the
incumbent on the commercial station TV Barrandov, instead concluding his
public appearances at a concert at the Prague venue Lucerna.
President Zeman, who had consistently refused to participate in such discussions before the first round, had previously taken part in a solo “debate” on a different channel.
On Tuesday he and Mr. Drahoš will hold the first of two debates on the commercial station Prima. They will meet again on Czech Television on Thursday, the evening before the second round begins.
A Czech pensioner has received a 27-year jail term in Hong Kong for drug
smuggling. The man, who is 69 years old, was caught with three kilogrammes
of cocaine in his luggage. He said he was unaware of the substance, which
was apprehended on a flight from South America, and had received the
suitcase as a gift.
Czech Radio reported that the man speaks no foreign languages and is almost deaf.
MEP Petr Ježek has announced that he is breaking ties with ANO, the party
for which he was elected to the European Parliament. Mr. Ježek said that
he had made the move because of ANO’s support for Miloš Zeman in the
Czech presidential race and the party’s cooperation with the Communist
Party and Freedom and Direct Democracy. In a letter to the party’s
leadership he also said he had different ideas from them as regards the
requirements to be prime minister.
Last year another MEP for ANO, Pavel Telička, severed ties with the party, citing a divergence of views. Mr. Ježek’s decision to quit means that only two of four MEPs elected for ANO in 2014 are still associated with the grouping.
Police have charged three Czechs of Palestinian descent with terrorism, the
news site Idnes reported on Tuesday. They are a radical imam who was active
in Prague, and whose activities were monitored by the intelligence service,
his brother and sister-in-law.
The latter two reportedly left for Syria some time ago where they joined a branch of Al-Qaida and took part in its military activities. The where-about of the three are currently unknown.
A Czech court earlier sentenced another Czech, who was arrested on his way to Syria to join IS, to six years in prison.
The ANO party, which won October’s general elections by a broad margin,
has thrown its weight behind leader Andrej Babiš, despite the fact that he
faces charges of EU subsidy fraud. The party leadership said on Monday that
there was broad consensus within the party that Babiš should head the
Meanwhile, President Zeman, whose first term in office ends in March, on Monday confirmed that he would give Mr. Babiš another chance to form a government, regardless of whether he wins a new presidential term.
The president said that if he is re-elected he would give Babiš a longer time to find support for his government in the lower house, if not then he would hasten his appointment as prime minister, in order to prevent his challenger Drahoš from making a different decision.
Education Minister Robert Plaga on Monday handed appointment decrees to 52
new professors of institutions of higher education at Prague’s Charles
University. They are leading personalities in field of natural sciences,
medicine, technology and the arts.
Among the well-known names are film director Helena Treštíiková who has made over 40 documentaries and won numerous awards and cameraman Vladitmír Smutný who has won six Czech Lion Awards for Best Camera.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and his Bulgarian counterpart Bojko Borisov have stressed the need to find a reasonable compromise on migrant issues in the EU. During talks in Sofia on Monday Prime Minister Babiš said he was relying on Bulgaria, which took up the rotating presidency of the European Council at the beginning of the year, to resolve the thorny issue of migrant quotas in a manner acceptable for all member states. Babiš said a mandatory redistribution of migrants was unacceptable and divisive. Prime Minister Borisov said his country’s priorities during the months of the presidency would be security, stability and solidarity. The Czech prime minister likewise expressed support for Bulgaria’s ambition to join Schengen.