A meeting of the parliamentary Mandate and Immunity Committee on Tuesday
was cut short after two hours due to the plenum of the Chamber of Deputies,
failing to move forward on a police application for immunity of ANO leader
Andrej Babiš and deputy party leader Jaroslav Faltýnek to be lifted so
they can face fraud charges.
Committee member Helena Válková confirmed no progress had been made, while the newly elected head of the committee, Communist deputy Stanislav Grospič, said the body would return to the issue later in the day.
ANO leader Andrej Babiš has met with President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday
afternoon to present the line-up for his minority government. Babis said
earlier that he had secured candidates for all government posts which would
be filled by members of his ANO party and unaffiliated experts.
iDnes.cz reported that the new government will include ANO ministers in the previous cabinet, such as Robert Pelikán as justice minister and Dan Ťok to again head transport. The two politicians also debated the time-frame for the appointment of a new cabinet. President Zeman said earlier he planned to appoint Andrej Babiš prime minister on December 6th and his minority government in mid-December.
Lawmakers on Tuesday elected Petr Fiala, the head of the Civic Democrats
(the second-largest party in the lower house) as fifth and final deputy
speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
He received 116 votes of 183 MPs present.
Fiala, who failed in the vote last week, was promised backing by the head of ANO’s deputies’ club Jaroslav Faltýnek. Tomio Okamura and the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party came out against.
Around 700 people in the Czech Republic are unaware they are infected with
the HIV virus, a quarter of all who have the disease in the country. The
news was confirmed on Tuesday by the head of the Czech AIDS Help Society
Robert Hejzák. The society is launching a new campaign to encourage people
to get tested or to get timely treatment.
December 1 is World AIDS Day.
Monitoring of the spread of the HIV virus, which can lead to AIDS, began in the former Czechoslovakia in 1985.
The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Jan Silovský, found guilty of
trying to join the terrorist organization Islamic State, in Syria. The news
was confirmed by the 22-year-old’s mother, who said his lawyer would file
a complaint with the Constitutional Court.
The decision by the Supreme Court was taken in September but the written result was sent to the Regional Court in Plzeň only last week. Mr Silovský comes from Spálené Poříčí in the Plzeň area. Last year, he was arrested in Istanbul.
The Czech Army is planning to invest in drones with combat capability by
the year 2020, the Czech News Agency reports. The army is ready to invest
one billion crowns. Currently, the Czech military uses unmanned aerial
vehicles for surveillance only.
At a press conference in Prague on Tuesday, the chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, General Josef Bečvář, confirmed that the army would also buy new ScanEagle drones at the cost of some 200 million crowns. The army is already using the drones, supplied by the US, in Afghanistan.
General Bečvář confirmed that next year would see an increase in the number of Czech soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq if approved by Parliament. As many as 650 soldiers could serve on the missions.
A 22-metre tall spruce felled near Křivoklat, South Bohemia, has gone up
on Prague’s Old Town Square for Christmas. This year’s Christmas tree
on the square grew for 66 years.
It will be decorated and illuminated for the first time on Saturday, December 2, to mark the opening of the Christmas market. Last year, the ceremony was seen by 12,000 people.
The conglomerate Agrofert Holding, formerly owned by ANO leader Andrej
Babiš, is farming 1700 hectares of land which does not belong to it and
which it has not legally rented out, according to Czech Radio’s flagship
news station Radiožurnal. Radiožurnal reported moreover that Agrofert was
receiving EU grants on the land. According to lawyers this is a criminal
When challenged to comment on the situation, Agrofert spokesperson Jan Pavlů did not deny the claim, saying the conglomerate was trying to straighten out the situation by tracing the rightful owners of the land.
Andrej Babiš built up the multi-billion crown farming and chemical conglomerate, but was forced to put it into a trust fund last year following the approval of a strict conflicts of interest law.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka praised the 16 +1 talks between representatives of Central and East European countries and China as a good platform for intensifying trade relations and seeking new investment opportunities. Attending the talks in Budapest on Monday, Prime Minister Sobotka said these efforts had already born fruit in Czech-Chinese relations in the form of increased trade, a boost in tourism and four direct air links between Prague and China. The outgoing Czech prime minister said it was Prague’s ambition to host 16+1 talks in Prague next year.
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