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23-01-2018

MEP Ježek breaks ties with ANO over Zeman, other differences

MEP Petr Ježek has announced that he is breaking ties with ANO, the party for which he was elected to the European Parliament. Mr. Ježek said that he had made the move because of ANO’s support for Miloš Zeman in the Czech presidential race and the party’s cooperation with the Communist Party and Freedom and Direct Democracy. In a letter to the party’s leadership he also said he had different ideas from them as regards the requirements to be prime minister.

Last year another MEP for ANO, Pavel Telička, severed ties with the party, citing a divergence of views. Mr. Ježek’s decision to quit means that only two of four MEPs elected for ANO in 2014 are still associated with the grouping.

Zeman and Drahoš set for first debate

President Miloš Zeman appeared in a television “debate” alone for the second time on Monday evening. His opponent in the second round of presidential elections, Jiří Drahoš, declined the invitation to meet the incumbent on the commercial station TV Barrandov, instead concluding his public appearances at a concert at the Prague venue Lucerna.

President Zeman, who had consistently refused to participate in such discussions before the first round, had previously taken part in a solo “debate” on a different channel.

On Tuesday he and Mr. Drahoš will hold the first of two debates on the commercial station Prima. They will meet again on Czech Television on Thursday, the evening before the second round begins.

Czech pensioner gets 27 years in Hong Kong for drug smuggling

A Czech pensioner has received a 27-year jail term in Hong Kong for drug smuggling. The man, who is 69 years old, was caught with three kilogrammes of cocaine in his luggage. He said he was unaware of the substance, which was apprehended on a flight from South America, and had received the suitcase as a gift.

Czech Radio reported that the man speaks no foreign languages and is almost deaf.

Constitutional Court rejects appeal against custody from alleged hacker Nikulin

The Czech Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal against being held in custody from Yevgeny Nikulin, who is wanted in the US on hacking charges. Judges ruled that his appeal was unsubstantiated and lodged too late.

Mr. Nikulin was arrested in Prague in 2016. He is accused of hacking the computers of major internet firms such as LinkedIn and Dropbox and could face up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.

A Prague court has ruled that the 30-year-old can be extradited. It is now up to the Czech minister of justice to decide whether he should be handed over to the US or to Russia, where is wanted on a relatively minor charge.

Police charge three Czechs with terrorism

Police have charged three Czechs of Palestinian descent with terrorism, the news site Idnes reported on Tuesday. They are a radical imam who was active in Prague, and whose activities were monitored by the intelligence service, his brother and sister-in-law.

The latter two reportedly left for Syria some time ago where they joined a branch of Al-Qaida and took part in its military activities. The where-about of the three are currently unknown.

A Czech court earlier sentenced another Czech, who was arrested on his way to Syria to join IS, to six years in prison.

Czech women knocked out in Melbourne doubles quarter-finals

Czech women knocked out in Melbourne doubles quarter-finals

All of the Czech women left in the doubles competition in the Australian Open have been knocked out in the quarter-finals. Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková and her Taiwanese partner Latisha Chan were beaten on Tuesday by the Hungarian-French pairing of Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic. Last year’s winner Lucie Šafářová and her current partner Barbora Strýcová lost to the Chinese-Taiwanese pair of Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 4 degrees Celsius expected. Similar temperatures, and snow, are forecast for the end of the week.

23-01-2018