The lower house on Thursday overturned President Zeman’s veto of a conflict of interests bill designed to reign in potential conflicts of interests among public officials. The bill would ban ministers from media ownership and would bar companies where ministers have more than a 25-percent stake from receiving state subsidies, taking part in public tenders and accessing investment aid. The legislation is widely seen as targeting finance minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš, whose many business and media interests have long come under fire from opponents and anti-corruption activists.
Nadia Savchenko, the Ukrainian politician and former military pilot, who spent two years in a Russian prison, has arrived in Prague for a three-day visit. She is scheduled to meet with representatives of Czech NGOs at the Václav Havel Library on Wednesday evening and speak at a press conference at Prague’s Lucerna Palace on Thursday. She is also set to meet with a number of deputies and senators. Savchenko served as a pilot in eastern Ukraine when she was captured by pro-Russian separatists in June 2014 and convicted of directing artillery fire which killed two Russian journalists. She was freed two years later as part of a prisoner swap.
A person from North Africa, who is suspected of being linked to an Islamic terrorist organisation, is presently staying in the Czech Republic, President Miloš Zeman said on Wednesday in an interview for Czech Radio. Mr Zeman made the statement in a discussion on the Czech Centre against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats, which he has repeatedly criticised. He also said the centre’s employees were not aware of this information.
Czech prisons are overcrowded and operate at about eight percent above their capacity, the head of the country’s Prison Service Petr Dohnal said on Wednesday during a visit to Pilsen’s Bory prison. The facility in Pilsen currently accommodates around 1,380 people, which is the highest number in the country. Although it has just increased its capacity by 55 beds, it is still overcrowded. At the moment, there are 35 prisons in the Czech Republic with around 22,500 inmates. According to Justice Minister Robert Pelikán they lack around one thousand beds.
Very low temperatures were again recorded in the Czech Republic on Tuesday night. A low of -27.5 degrees Celsius was registered at the Rokytská slať weather station in the Šumava mountains. In most parts of the country night-time temperatures were around -15, a forecaster from the Czech Hydro-Meteorological Institute told the Novinky.cz news site.
The Czech tennis player Barbora Strýcová has reached the semi-finals of the Sydney International in Australia. The 30-year-old made the last four of the competition after overcoming former world number one Caroline Wozniacki 7-5 6-7 6-4 in an epic encounter on Wednesday. If Strýcová wins her next match she will be into the eighth WTA final of her career.
Thursday is expected to be partly cloudy with occasional rain or snow showers. Daytime temperatures will hover between zero and four degrees Celsius.
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