The head of military intelligence, Jan Beroun, has strongly denied speculations about his agents surveilling the house of Interior Minister Milan Chovanec. He told the Czech television that he was ready to prove it in front of the Chamber of Deputies’ Permanent Control Committee on Military Intelligence. The news website SeznamZpravy.cz reported on Wednesday that a military intelligence officer was arrested while taking photographs in the vicinity of a villa belonging to the Ministry of the Interior in Prague last week, The building in the Dejvice district is used by the Social Democrat Interior Minister Milan Chovanec. The minister of the defence, Martin Stropnický of ANO, described speculation as absurd.
Austria’s chancellor Christian Kern wants a major cut in EU subsidies for EU member states that refuse to accept refugees. "If countries continue to avoid solving the migration issue, or drop taxes at the cost of their neighbours, they shouldn't receive billions from Brussels in the future," Mr Kern told the German daily Die Welt. He made the statement just day before an EU leaders summit in Brussels, which is also going to deal with the migrant crisis. The measure would hit especially the V4 countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
The government has approved an amendment to the law on electronic communications that should benefit ordinary mobile phone users and boost the powers of the national regulator, the Czech Telecommunications Office, government spokesman Martin Ayrer announced on his Twitter account on Wednesday. Political parties on Friday agreed to put the proposed rules on a legislative fast track, cutting the time taken for the changes to be discussed in parliamentary committees to 20 days from the usual 60. They also agreed that the proposed law would be the first issue on the agenda for April’s meeting of the lower house of Parliament. The proposed changes should get through all procedural stages ahead of elections to the lower house due in October.
The Czech Republic doesn’t belong among progressive and cultivated EU states when it comes to ensuring equality of men and women, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said on Wednesday at a conference “22 % towards Equality”. As regards equal salaries, the Czech Republic is low down the EU ladder, Mr Zaorálek said, adding that he was ashamed of the situation. According to Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová, women make on average 22 percent less than men, which is around 6,700 crown less in monthly salaries.
British film and television producer Duncan Kenworthy, best known for producing the comedy Love Actually will be among the guests of this year’s Febiofest international film festival, the organisers announced on Wednesday. Other guests include Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen and Serbian actor Lazar Ristovski, who starred in the lead role in Emil Kusturica’s Underground. Czech US-based actor Jan Tříska will receive the Kristián Award for Contribution to Cinema. The 24th edition of Febiofest will take place between March 23 and 31.
The government on Wednesday approved long-awaited draft legislation on social housing, which aims to make emergency, social, and cheap housing available to those with below average incomes, the government’s spokesman Martin Ayrer said. The bill will have to be approved by Parliament and signed by the president before parliamentary elections in October. If it comes into effect, the first applicants could submit their applications for social housing as of mid-2018.
The Czech audiobook market has continued to grow for the fourth year in a row. Sales of audiobooks increased in 2016 by 37 percent on the previous year to nearly 112 million crowns, according to a new analysis by the Audiobook Publishers Association published on Wednesday. The range of books available on the market has increased by around fifty percent to 172 new titles. Over one quarter of all the audiobooks sold last year were purchased in the digital form. The largest share of the market is divided between three major audiobook publishers: Czech Radio’s own label Radioservis, Supraphon, and Tympanum. According to the survey, the bestselling audiobook last year was Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, read by popular Czech actor Jaroslav Dušek, followed by a collection of 15 plays by the Jára Cimrman theatre.
The Prague restaurant Eska has newly received the Michelin guide’s Bib Gourmand ranking, which is awarded to places with “exceptional good food at moderate prices”. Eska is part of the Ambiente restaurant group and is located in the capital's Karlín district. Three restaurants in the city, Alcron, La Degustation and Field, held on to their highly prestigious Michelin stars in the latest edition of the world-renowned guide.
The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, met with the Czech Republic’s richest man, PPF investment group owner Petr Kellner, at Prague Castle on Tuesday. The president’s spokesman, Jiří Ovčáček, said the two had discussed economic relations with Russia, China and the US. PPF does business in all three countries. Mr. Ovčáček said Mr. Zeman was going to visit all of them this year, though his plans to go to Russia were not previously known. Mr. Kellner visited China with the Czech head of state in 2014 and was present when the latter held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
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Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott
In memoriam: Karel Gott, the ‘Bohemian nightingale’