Czech officials have said they will do everything they can to secure the release of Petr Jašek, a Christian missionary who was arrested in Sudan in 2015 on spying and anti-regime charges. On Sunday, the 52-year-old was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years behind bars. The organisation Release International wrote previously that Mr Jašek and three others had done nothing more than "shown compassion" for a student who had been badly burnt at a demonstration; Jašek helped with funds for his medical bills. The spokeswoman for the Czech Foreign Ministry, Michaela Lagronová, said that securing Mr Jašek's release from prison was an "absolute priority" for the Czech Republic; Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek is expected to travel to Khartoum to meet with his Sudanese counterpart over the matter. More details are to be made public in the coming days.
Members of the Social Democratic Party in South Bohemia failed to nominate Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka for the post of chairman of the party on Saturday, in Hluboka nad Vltavou. The party leader, who is running for re-election to the post at the party congress in March, received backing in 12 previous regional conferences. South Bohemian party members nominated Social Democrat Jeroným Tejc for the post of first deputy leader. The final regional conference will be in the region of Moravia-Silesia. Bohuslav Sobotka's Social Democrats are part of the current government; the party trails fellow coalition member ANO in the polls and is trying to shore up support ahead of this year's parliamentary elections.
Air pollution in the Moravia-Silesia region improved only somewhat over the weekend, as the amount of dust particles in the air still exceeded the legal limit. Experts measured emissions at 153 micrograms per cubic metre between five and six in the morning on Sunday, roughly three-times higher than allowed. But the concentration of particles, hour by hour, improved in places; an exception was Frýdek-Mistek where conditions remained poor. Chronically ill people, children and the elderly are advised to stay indoors and keep windows closed in such circumstances.
Rodinný film, a feature by Slovenian-born filmmaker and FAMU graduate Olmo Omerzu took the Czech Film Critics' Award for Best Film at a gala event at Prague's Archa Theatre on Saturday night. He also won for Best Screenplay, which he co-wrote with Nebojsa Pop-Tasic. In 2012, the director was awarded as Best Newcomer (or Discovery of the Year). Rodinný film tells the story of what happens when parents set out out on a yacht journey and their children, left at home, are left to their own devices.
Organisers on Sunday unveiled a modern metal sculpture in Hradec Králové of the late architect Alexander Pur, who died in 2011. The work depicts the architect as a cyclist, near sites he helped renovate including the Klicpera Theatre or Beseda Theatre. Pur would have been 70 this year. The sculpture in his memory, located at the town's Malé náměstí, is by Tomáš Mišík.
Spanish figure skater Javier Fernandez won his fifth straight European Championship being held in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Saturday night although he finished well below his personal best. His total score was 266.80 (compared to his personal record of 314.93). Even so he finished 28 points ahead of Russia's Maxim Kovtun, second. New Russian champion Mikhail Kolyada finished third (after also suffering a fall).
Monday should be mostly cloudy with brief sunny periods in places. Daytimes temperatures will hover just above 0 degrees Celsius.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
Film about tragic fate of great Czech actress highlights communist atrocities in the 1950s