Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has welcomed Emmanuel Macron’s as yet unofficial victory in the first round of the French presidential election. Macron’s victory is good news for France, for the European Union and for the Czech Republic, Mr. Sobotka tweeted on Sunday after exit polls indicated that the centrist candidate would contest the second round of the election with far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
A car belonging to the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine exploded after driving over a mine in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic in the east of the country. An American doctor is reported to have been killed, and a Czech and German member of the team were injured. Both are reported to be stable. The Czech was driving the car at the time of the incident. Both the Ukrainian military and separatist forces were reportedly observing a ceasefire at the time. Separatists claim the OSCE car had strayed from its route. The incident is being investigated.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has said he has asked the police to clarify the scare surrounding the Blue Whale “suicide game” that is being linked to dozens of teen deaths in Russia. The game is believed to be the work of an online social media group which is encouraging people to kill themselves. The Czech police warned people about it earlier this week. Minister Chovanec said he had given the police a fortnight to provide evidence that the game really presented a danger and was not merely a marketing trick. If the danger is real then the public should get more information, if not then the warning amounts to scaremongering, Chovanec said. The matter is being investigated by the Czech Centre Against Organized Crime.
The former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Jiří Drahoš will start collecting signatures in support of his presidential candidacy on Monday, the ctk news agency reported. President Miloš Zeman, who announced on Friday that his wife Ivana would personally head his presidential campaign, will start collecting signatures on the same day. Entrepreneur Michal Horáček is already doing so. According to Czech law, candidates running as independents have to collect 50,000 signatures in support of their candidacy. In a new amendment to the law supporters have to provide their full name and ID number in order to make their signature verifiable.
Over two and a half thousand French citizens residing in the Czech Republic have registered to vote in the French presidential election. Voting is taking place at the French consulate in Prague amid tight security. Voters will be able to cast their ballot until 7 pm on Sunday. The French presidential election is getting exceptional attention in the Czech media, with the outcome of the vote linked to the future of the European Union.
The Czech Republic tied against the US on the first day of the Fed Cup semifinals in Florida. Seventeen- year-old Marketa Vondroušova lost to Coco Vandewegh 1:6, 4:6, but Katerina Siniaková evened the score with a 6:3, 6:3 win over Shelby Rogers. The top-ranked and three-time defending champions Czech Republic are defending the title without their best players. Petra Kvitová, Karolína Plíšková, Barbora Strýcová and Lucie Šafářová are absent for health reasons or a demanding program.
Czech heavyweight judoka Lukáš Krpálek won the bronze in the 100+ category at the European Championship in Warsaw on Saturday. Krpálek is a former world champion (2014), former European champion (2014) and current Olympic Champion (2016) in the U100 category. He is the most successful judoka in Czech and Czechoslovak history, and was named Czech Judoka of the Year eight times between 2008 and 2015.
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.
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.
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