Police say they arrested several anticommunist activists who protested against the communist ideology at a Labour Day gathering organised on Sunday by the Communist Party in Prague. Police said the activists disturbed a legal event and had not informed the authorities about their protest. According to organisers, some 10,000 people gathered at Prague's Letna Plain, a traditional venue of Labour Day celebrations before 1989. Around twenty anticommunists protested against the event, among them Milan Paumer who together with the Masin brothers fought his way from Czechoslovakia to West Berlin in 1953.
Police in the second city of Brno prevented a clash between groups of far-left and far-right activists. Around midday on Sunday some thirty anarchists tried to stop a march of about 250 supporters of a nationalist far-right movement but riot police managed to keep the two groups away from each other.
Czech Television, the Czech public service broadcaster, is launching a news channel on Monday. The channel, called CT24, will be available on satellite and cable TV 18 hours a day in its trial operation. Round the clock broadcasting is expected to start in the autumn. The channel will also broadcast online at www.ct24.cz. News will be broadcast every hour, other programmes will focus for example on business, sport and science and technology.
Exactly fifteen years ago, capital punishment was abolished in Czechoslovakia. Almost six months after the fall of communism, on May 2, 1990, deputies of the former Federal Assembly adopted an amendment to the Criminal Code which replaced capital punishment with prison sentences of 15 to 25 years or life sentence. Some 1,200 people had been executed in Czechoslovakia between 1945 and 1989, the majority of them between 1945 and 1947 for crimes committed during the Second World War. The last person executed in Czechoslovakia was a man convicted of triple murder in 1989.
Two Czech cycling enthusiasts, Michal Jon and Lucie Kovarikova, have returned from a three-year cycling tour around the world. The couple set off on May 1, 2002, aiming to visit all continents, including the Antarctic, and followed their planned route successfully to the end. Having pedalled almost 69,000 kilometres, the couple are the first Czechs to have cycled around Greenland, the first Czech cyclists to have ridden into the Antarctic and Lucie Kovarikova became the first Czech woman to cycle around the world.
Czech qualifier Lucie Safarova upset fourth seed Li Na of China 6-7 6-4 6-3 to win the Estoril Open women's claycourt title on Sunday. The 18-year-old player became the 16th Czech or Czechoslovak woman to win a WTA tournament. Martina Navratilova tops the list with 167 titles, followed by Hana Mandlikova who won 27 times and Jana Novotna with 24 wins.
The current warm and sunny weather should continue in the next couple of days, with daytime temperatures reaching highs of 23 degrees Celsius.
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