Three Communist MPs in Russia’s Duma have proposed that Soviet-era soldiers who served during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia be afforded war veteran status. The MPs said the aim of “Operation Danube” had been to quell a revolution that the opposition in Czechoslovakia had been preparing with the support of Western states. The USSR led a Warsaw Pact invasion of the country in August 1968 to quell the Prague Spring reform movement, starting a military occupation that was to last more than two decades.
The minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, says he is looking into the conditions under which the Czech state could make loans to the bankrupt mining company OKD. Speaking after talks with OKD representatives in Karviná on Tuesday, Mr. Babiš said that the company would require up to CZK 400 million for operational financing until the end of August. The minister said he would discuss with coalition partners whether the state would lend money to OKD and if so how much. He said any such loan would be an actual loan, not a subsidy.
Three people were killed in an apartment fire in Poděbrady in Central Bohemia on Tuesday. The Czech News Agency reported that they were a man, woman and child. The explosion in the third-floor flat was at first believed to have been caused by an explosion, but fire officers later said that explanation was unlikely. Around 60 people were evacuated from surrounding apartments.
The ombudswoman says her office has found shortcomings in many cases involving state agencies tasked with child protection. Anna Šabatová said on Tuesday that 142 complaints linked to child protection agencies had been received in the last two years; malpractice was discovered in 77 of those cases. Most frequently this involved inaction, insufficient work with families, over-eagerness to take children into care and splitting siblings up.
President Miloš Zeman has signed a law tightening the regulation of the betting industry. The bill gives the Ministry of Finance the power to block selected websites, which critics say represents censorship of the internet. However, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš says his officials will only use their new powers to order internet service providers to block sites offering unauthorised gambling. For their part, internet providers say such actions would be expensive and mean increased charges for their clients.
This year’s Prague Museum Night – which takes place on Saturday – will feature 80 museums and galleries, the organisers said on Tuesday. Though some important institutions such as the National Museum are closed for renovations, the number of participants is up by six on 2015. As every year, the museums and galleries will be open from 7 pm to 1 am and admission will be free; the only exception is the national monuments at Vyšehrad, which will charge a symbolic CZK 1 fee. Free transport between the venues will also be laid on.
The Social Democrats do not for now have to pay lawyer Zdeněk Altner CZK 338 million under a Supreme Court ruling, iDnes.cz reported on Tuesday. The court found in favour of the party, which argued that such a payment before an appeal is heard in the matter would threaten “serious detriment to its rights” and suspended the enforceability of a previous court ruling. It is not possible to appeal Supreme Court verdicts. Earlier this year the Social Democrats were ordered to pay Mr. Altner an outstanding fee and interest in connection with the lawyer’s representation in a case surrounding the party’s headquarters.
The Slovak prime minister, Robert Fico, is set to visit Prague on Wednesday in his first foreign trip since being reappointed in March. Mr. Fico and his Czech counterpart Bohuslav Sobotka are expected to discuss energy and transport issues, as well as plans for joint events in 2018 marking the anniversaries of the foundation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and the Soviet-led invasion of 1968. The two will also attend a summit of Visegrad Four prime ministers. The Slovak leader had been due to come to the Czech capital in April but the trip was postponed for health reasons.
The Czech National Bank intervened on the foreign exchange market to the tune of CZK 11 billion in April in order to combat the growing strength of the Czech crown, according to figures it released on Tuesday. This brings to CZK 530 billion the total amount the central bank has spent on euros since November 2013, when it first intervened in a bid to keep the crown at around 27 to the common European currency. Last month the board of the Czech National Bank said it would probably maintain its weak crown policy until the middle of next year.
The disciplinary panel of the Czech Supreme Administrative Court reprimanded Judge Miloš Zbránek for having posted online two articles grossly insulting migrants as well as the staff of the NGOs helping them. The disciplinary panel complied with a complaint put forward over articles called A Report on Wandering to Germany and a Letter from a Disoriented Runner. The panel ruled that the articles in question were of questionable taste and decency."In some cases, they crossed the boundary," the chairman of the court panel Radovan Havelec said. In the articles, the judge described refugees as self-serving and opportunists.