Some 5,000 people joined in the March for Life through the centre of Prague on Saturday. The demonstrators held up banners reading Children Bring Hope and Scrap the abortion law. The march was attended among others by Cardinal Dominik Duka and a number of Roman Catholic priests. As the demonstrators made their way through Prague they passed several groups of activists who came out to voice support for the right to abortion. Police was out in force to regulate traffic and prevent skirmishes. No incidents were reported. The number of abortions in the Czech Republic has been steadily decreasing. In 2016 doctors performed over 20,000 abortions.
Veteran Tatra cars from around the country set off on a Veteran Ride from Prague to Marseille on Saturday marking 70 years to the day since the country’s famous travelers Miroslav Zikmund a Jiří Hanzelka set off on their first trip to Africa. The National Museum of Technology organized a special event for the public screening a film about the legendary travelling duo and showing authentic objects from their many journeys. They visited 83 countries with their famous Tatra 87, made over 150 documentary films and wrote over 20 books about their adventures. Jiří Hanzelka died in 2003, Miroslav Zikmund celebrated his 98th birthday in February.
Several dozen people joined in a March for Science through the centre of Prague on Saturday. The Prague event was a protest against the trend of politicizing scientific research such as in the case of global warming or genetic engineering. The march from Prague’s Wenceslas Square to Narodní trída, where the Czech Academy of Sciences is located, was followed by a lecture on the challenges and problems faced by scientists in the present day. Marches for science took place in a number of European capitals on Saturday.
The center-right Civic Democratic Party outlined its election program for October's general election and selected election leaders for individual regions at a conference in Prague on Saturday. Party leader Petr Fiala highlighted the party's intention to lower taxes and boost wage growth. The Civic Democrats have vowed to seek an exemption from euro adoption, promised to overturn the smoking ban due to go into effect at the end of May and scrap the law on electronic tax registers. According to the most recent polls the party would get 7.5 percent of the vote.
Police say they have charged 21 people in connection with a drugs scandal at a prison house near Pribram in south Bohemia. According to a police spokeswoman over 100 officers took part in a raid on the prison earlier this week, confiscating a vast amount of drugs, tablets and needles. The convicts reportedly bribed the guards to allow them mobiles and turn a blind eye to the fact that drugs were regularly smuggled into the prison in food and personal belongings.
The average temperature in Prague has grown by approximately ten degrees Celsius since 1960 the news site Lidovky.cz reports, citing statistics published by the Prague City Council. The council is debating a long-term strategy to fight climate change in the Czech capital. The measures to be adopted include more greenery, more community gardens and garden colonies in the suburbs as well as the use of materials that would deflect heat rather than absorbing it. There are concerns that the rise in average temperatures is having a negative effect on the health of seniors and chronically ill people and causing more accidents on the roads.
The consequences of political developments in Turkey and Ukraine will be at the centre of interest during the Czech Republic’s upcoming chairmanship of the Council of Europe, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said following talks with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland in Prague on Friday. He highlighted particularly human rights violations, aid to displaced families and the fate of children caught up in political and military conflicts.The two officials discussed practical issues of the chairmanship and priorities related to the mandate of the organization, i.e. the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Czech Republic is to preside over the Council of Europe from May until November of this year.
The Czech writer with Bulgarian roots, Bianca Bellová, 47, has received this year's European Union Prize for Literature for her novel Jezero (The Lake), the European Commission (EC) announced. The prize, which carries with it an award of 5000 euros, has been annually bestowed on talented European writers from the EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the EU candidate countries since 2009. It should help them have their books published abroad and address a wider pubic. Bellova's novel The Lake won also the Czech Magnesia Litera main award for the book of the year recently. Her novel is a post-apocalyptic parable of environmental destruction followed by the destruction of human relations and individual souls.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka is met with Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjörn Jagland during his one-day visit to Prague on Friday. Mr Jagland also held talks with Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek about the upcoming Czech presidency of the Committee of Ministers, the statutory body of the Council of Europe. The Czech Republic is set to take over the chairmanship in November. During his visit to Prague, the Council of Europe secretary was due also to meet with Justice Minister Robert Pelikán and members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house.
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