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03-03-2018 15:30 | Ian Willoughby

Slain Slovak journalist remembered in Czech cities

People in Prague, Brno and Ostrava gathered on Friday evening to pay tribute to the Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his girlfriend Martina Kušnírová whose execution-style murders, evidently in connection with his investigate reporting work, have rocked Slovakia.

In Prague a vigil was held at the city’s Slovak Embassy, while in Brno people came together in the centre of the city. Similar gatherings took place in several cities around Europe. Tens of thousands took part in a protest vigil in Bratislava that was described as the biggest such gathering since the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

Police oversight body to investigate arrest of Syrian Kurdish leader

The General Inspectorate of the Security Services looks set to investigate the arrest of Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, Czech Radio reported. A spokesperson for the agency, which oversees the Czech police, said its director Michal Murín had received instructions to do so from Lubomír Metnar, the minister of the interior in resignation.

Mr. Muslim was arrested in Prague last Saturday on an international arrest warrant issued by Turkey. Ankara considers him to be a terrorist and is demanding his extradition. Mr. Muslim was freed by a court in the city on Tuesday pending an extradition hearing.

The Turkish government was incensed by his release, which it described as support for terrorism.

Traffic returns to Prague bridge closed over safety concerns

Prague’s Libeň Bridge reopened to cars and trams on Saturday morning. It had been closed for around a month to all except pedestrians around a month ago over safety concerns. However, a report by the Technical Administration of Communications judged that the bridge, which dates from 1928, could be used.

While the experts said the structure was capable of carrying vehicles of up to 11 tonnes, a limit of 6 tonnes is being imposed.

A footbridge in Prague’s Troja district collapsed in December, injuring four people, two seriously.

Flu epidemic claims 70 lives to date

Seventy people have died so far in a flu epidemic in the Czech Republic, Novinky.cz reported on Saturday. Of that figure 54 were over the age of 60, Dr. Martina Havlíčková of the National Reference Laboratory for Influenza told the news site. Last year 114 lives were lost in a similar epidemic.

A 1.5 percent rise in the incidence of flu has been recorded in the last week, Dr. Havlíčková said. She said the epidemic was likely to last for several more weeks.

People have been advised to avoid large crowds and devote greater attention to basic hygiene practices.

Daytime highs of 15 Celsius possible at end of March

The freezing weather the Czech Republic has experienced in recent days is coming to an end and temperatures could reach up to 15 degrees Celsius at the end of March, according to a regular monthly forecast issued on Saturday by the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute.

In the coming fortnight daytime highs of around 6 degrees Celsius are expected, climbing to around 10 degrees Celsius in the second half of the month. It will still be rather cold at night, forecasters say.

Snowboarding small Crystal Globe for Ledecká

Ester Ledecká has won a small Crystal Globe for best rider of the season in the snowboard parallel giant slalom after coming second in a World Cup event in Turkey’s Kayseri on Saturday. The Czech recently won Olympic gold in the event, as well as picking up a shock gold in the super-G in alpine skiing.

In La Molina, Spain, Ledecká’s compatriot Eva Samková, who took bronze in snowboard cross in Pyeongchang, won her first World Cup event since the Winter Olympics for her second victory in the series this year.

Weather forecast

It should be largely overcast with temperatures of up to 2 degrees Celsius in the Czech Republic on Sunday. Daytime highs should climb to up to 8 degrees Celsius next week.