Talks between the ANO party and the Social Democrats on forming a minority
coalition government supported by the Communists have failed.
The talks hit the rocks in the last phase of negotiations late on Thursday when the two sides met to agree on a division of ministerial portfolios.
The Social Democrats decided to end the talks after ANO refused to let them head the interior ministry –a demand that was to help the Social Democrats come to terms with ANO’s insistence on the cabinet being headed by Andrej Babiš who is charged with EU subsidy fraud.
Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček said he would ask the party leadership to confirm the decision for the party to go into the opposition on Friday.
He said responsibility for the stability of the country was now in the hands of the ANO party.
Three of the country’s best-known investigative reporters claim that
there is a coordinated effort on the part of the police to discourage them
from working on sensitive cases relating to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
Jaroslav Kmenta from the magazine Reporter, Janek Kroupa from Czech Radio and Sabina Slonková from the news site Neovlivni.cz say that they were summoned by the police for questioning in connection with alleged leaks from police files on some of the cases they were working on.
The three say they had previously been questioned by the police on this matter and made it clear they would not name their respective sources.
In a joint proclamation issued on Thursday they say that they view these latest summons as an effort to discourage them from pursuing their investigative work.
The police have rejected claims of pressurizing the reporters in question, saying they were bound to investigate leaks from police files.
The Senate committee for expats has requested the government to consider
the repatriation of some 240 ethnic Czechs from Venezuela where they are
suffering from permanent unrest and poverty.
Millions of people in the country are now affected by a shortage of food and medicines. Of the 240 expats who have expressed a desire to return to their old homeland 146 have Czech citizenship.
There are estimated to be around 300 ethnic Czechs living in the country.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the Czech Embassy in Caracas was closed down six years ago and such requests are now dealt with via the Czech consulate in Havana.
The army, police and the judiciary are the most trusted institutions in the
country according to the outcome of a March poll conducted by the CVVM
The army is trusted by 69 percent of Czechs and the police by 66 percent and the judiciary by 56 percent.
The least trustworthy are the press, NGOs and churches, although public trust in the press has risen from 30 to 39 percent as compared to a poll conducted last October.
Some twenty thousand people are expected to take part in the traditional
Prague half-marathon due to be held on Saturday, the organizers of the
event told the ctk news agency.
Drivers have been warned to expect traffic complications along the route. The Čechův and Mánesuv bridges will be closed to traffic between 9.30 and 1pm and some trams and busses will be re-routed. Parking will also be prohibited along the route of the half-marathon.
President Miloš Zeman is on a two-day visit to Slovakia, his first trip
abroad since getting re-elected for a second term in office.
The Czech president's talks with his Slovak counterpart Andrej Kiska focused on bilateral relations, the situation in Slovakia following the murder of a Slovak journalist just over a month ago and the nerve agent row with Russia.
He will later meet with Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini. On his arrival to the one-time sister state the Czech president was greeted by the Czechoslovak national anthem.
Negotiators from the ANO and Social Democrat parties say they have ironed
out all of their fundamental policy differences.
The declaration was made following talks between the two sides on Wednesday aimed at paving the way for a minority ANO and Social Democrat government supported by the communists.
ANO deputy prime minister Richard Brabec said compromises had been found over sick pay for employees during the first three days’ absence and over tax. He did not give details.
The two sides meet again late Thursday where crucial talks over the share out of Cabinet portfolios will be discussed. The outcome of the talks should be put to a special meeting of Social Democrat delegates on Saturday.
Criminal charges have been pressed against four individuals and one company
connected with the suspected disappearance of millions of litres of fuel
stored in Germany as part of the Czech state’s emergency reserves,
according to Czech Radio.
Police suspect fraud in the disappearance of the fuel stocks held at one stage in Germany by the company Viktoriagruppe from 2015. One of those charged is the former owner of the company, Petr Malý.
When the company went bust and Czechs sought the return of the fuel, the significant shortfall was discovered. Police suspect it might never have been delivered to German storage at all. Damages are estimated at 108 million crowns by the state prosecutor.
Former world tennis number one, Serbian Novak Djokovic, has announced his
has split with Czech coach Radek Štěpánek.
Djokovic said the decision was taken after the Miami tournament, where the Serb was knocked out in the second round. Djokovic said that his private relationship with Štěpánek was still great and that he had enjoyed working with him.
Djokovic has been trying to recover his form following a long running elbow injury. Štěpánek joined Djokovic’s team at the end of November last year.
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