The Czech Republic will take up the chairmanship of the ministerial committee of the Council of Europe on May 19. The Council of Europe is the continent’s leading human rights organisation with 47 member states. The Czechs have said that they will put the emphasis during the six month chairmanship on the protection of vulnerable groups, promotion of civil society and support for democracy. Many pointers suggest human and democratic rights are under increased pressure across the continent.
The spokesman to President Zeman, Jiří Ovčáček, has written on Facebook that the Czech head of state has no issue with naming ANO MP Ivan Pilný as the country’s new finance minister over the course of next week. First, the head of state will meet the prime minister’s request for the current finance minister, Andrej Babiš, to be recalled from his post. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka sought Mr Babiš’ removal after he failed to explain questionable financial dealings.
Timely information - as opposed to cement barriers - is the main weapon in the fight against terrorism, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said during a debate in the lower house of Parliament on Friday, a meeting of lawmakers to discuss an intelligence report revelation that funds had been sent from someone in the Czech Republic to the terror organisation ISIS last year. The prime minister said that the country’s counter-intelligence service, BIS, had a clear role in monitoring activities and gauging potential threats. The government is trying to boost the intelligence services in reaction to the security situation globally.
A new tender will be held to find a suitable candidate to head the Czech Centre in Paris, the organisation’s spokeswoman Petra Jungwirthová confirmed; additional tenders have also been announced for the heads of the centres in Sofia, Stockholm, Warsaw and Tel Aviv. A new CEO in charge of all the centres is also being sought, after the previous head was recalled from his post by Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek for refusing to name Jean-Gaspard Páleníček head of the centre in Paris. Czech centres in Vienna and Brussels will be headed by Mojmír Jeřábek and Jitka Pánek Jurková, respectively.
A 27-year-old soldier who seriously injured a fellow serviceman last year will serve one year in prison. A court in Výškov found the soldier guilty of grievous bodily harm and endangering the public under the influence of alcohol, having shot the fellow soldier in a bar. The man will also have to pay the Military Insurance Fund (Vojenská zdravotní pojišťovna) 140,000 crowns in damages. The accused faced up to four years behind bars; the verdict can still be appealed.
A change in conditions has been forecast for Saturday with sunshine giving way to clouds and a possibility of rain. Daytime highs of around 18 degrees Celsius are expected.