Another gathering in support of the victims of this week's terrorist attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and on the Jewish supermarket in Paris takes place in Prague on Saturday. Hundreds of people have gathered outside the French Embassy at Prague's Malá Strana district, carrying flowers and signs saying „Je suis Charlie“ and lighting candles in memory of the victims.
Church representatives have called on the Czech public not to succumb to radicalism, despite feeling anger towards the Islamist terrorists. The head of the Czech Catholic Church Dominik Duka, along with the leader of the Ecumenical Council of Churches Daniel Fejfar, and the head of the Jewish Community Petr Papoušek have expressed their solidarity with the families of the victims of this week's attacks in Paris. They say it is necessary to insist on the basic rules of open society, especially on the liberty of speech, on mutual respect of religions and cultures and on finding ways of mutual coexistence.
Firefighters and rescue workers are searching for a man who dissapeared when rafting on the Ohře River on Saturday. The raft with five men flipped over at a dam at Jakubov in the Karlovy Vary region, dumping them into the swollen river. Four of the rafters made it to the shore with no injuries. The Ohře River is currently under a flood alert due to heavy rainfall and melting snow.
Strong wind has been causing problems around the Czech Republic since Friday afternoon, damaging roofs and blowing down trees. Dozens of incidents required the assistance of fire fighters. Water levels on several rivers started to rise as a result of sudden warming and heavy rainfall. The biggest threat of flooding is focused on the Šumava mountain range in the south-west of the country.
The escalator at Prague's Můstek metro station, which went into reverse operation in November last year, causing a mass fall in which several people were injured, was put back in operation on Friday. The Head of the Prague Transport Authority Jaroslav Ďuriš ruled out the possibility of a similar accident happening in the future. Police is suspecting someone might have been tampering with the escalator intentionally and is currently investigating the incident as a possible case of reckless endangerment.
The Czech biathlete Veronika Vítková won the gold medal in the 7.5 km World Cup sprint event in Germany's Oberhof on Friday. Despite having to run two penalty loops, Vítková finished nine seconds ahead of Italy's Dorothea Wierer. It is the first World Cup victory for the 26-year old athlete. Another Czech Gabriela Soukalová finished in sixth place.
President Miloš Zeman will not dismiss his chancellor Vratislav Mynář over his purchase of a villa in Prague for a suspiciously low price. In an interview for the news site Deník.cz, president Zeman said Mr Mynář gave him a satisfactory answer as to where the money came from. He also added that the villa was in a poor state and needed a costly reconstruction. Mr Mynář purchased the functionalist villa in Pragues's Strašnice district for CZK 5.5 million, which many real-estate experts say is far below its real market value. Several anti-corruption groups this week called on the president to dismiss his chancellor over the suspucious deal.
Czech and Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech has been told that he can leave the London club in the summer, according to reports by British newspapers. Chelsea, which hitherto refused to countenance Čech’s transfer, has now come round to the idea, papers report. Arsenal is widely tipped to be the frontrunner to capture Čech’s services next season with manager Arséne Wenger said to be willing to make a bid of up to seven million pounds. Čech is also said to be keen to stay on in London. A question mark over the Czech goalkeeper’s future at Chelsea emerged at the start of the season when Belgian ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois replaced him as the first choice in Premier League games. Čech has since then made only sporadic first team appearances, mainly in FA Cup encounters for Chelsea.
Czech interior minister Milan Chovanec has said that the country’s security services are on stepped up alert in case some of the attackers who targeted a French satirical magazine try to flee the country. Chovanec said that increased attention is being paid to who comes into the Czech Republic from the area. There are no specific indications of a threat, he added. The latest comments contrast with Chovanec’s reaction immediately following Wednesday’s attack in Paris, when 12 people were killed. He said then that there was no need for stepped up security.
The Czech weather office has warned of high winds of up to 125 kilometres an hour and downpours across most of Bohemia on Saturday. The forecasters have warned that river levels across the country are likely to rise rapidly with the biggest threat of flooding focused on the Úhlava river near Klatovy in the west of the country.
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