US actor Casey Affleck is set to be one of the guests at this year’s Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the organisers announced on Monday. He will receive the festival's President's Award and present A Ghost Story, the latest film by David Lowery, with whom he has also collaborated in the past. Affleck won a Best Actor Oscar this year for Manchester By the Sea. The Karlovy Vary film festival begins at the end of June.
The Czech government is to hold a conference on defence and security in cooperation with the European Commission in Prague next month. The cabinet approved the meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters. Among those due to speak are the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg. Mr. Sobotka said the conference was part of the Czech Republic’s efforts concerning the future of the European Union. It will take place at Prague’s Žofín.
České Budějovice has annulled honorary citizenship it awarded in the past to Czechoslovak Communist politician Klement Gottwald and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Councillors in the South Bohemian city voted for the move on Monday. Both Gottwald and Stalin received the honour in 1945. České Budějovice mayor Jiří Svoboda said there had been reasons to recognize them then, prior to their actions of the 1950s. The most recent recipient of honorary citizenship in České Budějovice was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova in 1979.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Social Democrats has rejected ANO’s nominee for the post of minister of finance, Alena Schillerová. Mr. Sobotka said on Monday that Ms. Schillerová, who is currently a deputy finance minister, was not unqualified and would represent the “extended arm” of the present occupant of the post, ANO chief Andrej Babiš. He called on ANO to put forward another candidate. The PM has requested that President Miloš Zeman dismiss Mr. Babiš as finance minister but the head of state is as yet holding out on such a move. The ANO head said on Monday that Mr. Sobotka’s position was making it harder to solve the government crisis. He said his party would put forward another name by Wednesday.
The artistic director of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Karel Och, is to sit on the jury of the prestigious Un certain regard competition at this year’s Cannes film festival, which gets underway in the south of France on Wednesday. The jury will be headed by US actress Uma Thurman. Mr. Och became artistic director of the Central Europe’s top film festival in 2011.
Czech Football Association chairman Miroslav Pelta and deputy education minister Simona Kratochvílová, who have been charged with corruption, are suspected of themselves choosing the members of a commission that decided on almost half a billion crowns in grants. Czech Radio reported on the story on Monday, referring to police documents surrounding the case. Ms. Kratochvílová is suspected of giving the commission members a list of 21 projects, all of which they later approved. Mr. Pelta and Ms. Kratochvílová were arrested earlier this month. The minister of education, Kateřina Valachová, resigned in connection with the affair.
Prague’s Václav Havel Airport began checking passengers’ luggage for traces of explosives on Monday. Airport security staff may now randomly open selected luggage to take smears of the contents that are run through an explosive materials detector. The process will be carried out in a special hall and travellers will learn it has taken place from a tag subsequently attached to their luggage. Passengers have been instructed to use locks that can be opened without their cases being damaged.
President Miloš Zeman has said that he would support deputy finance minister Alena Schillerová's nomination for finance minister if and when the prime minister put her name forward, but leading Social Democrats say her choice would be problematic. Speaking on a TV political debate programme on Sunday, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek pointed out that Schillerová had come out strongly against the investigation of so-called one crown bonds that landed her boss, Andrej Babiš, in trouble; those and other unexplained finances sparked the continuing government crisis and prompted Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to ask for Minister Babiš to be recalled from his post by the head of state. The president is bound by the constitution to comply but delayed the decision until after his return from China. In Beijing, President Zeman said if Ms Schillerová was not the nominee, the government's coalition agreement should be dissolved. The prime minister is to address the situation on Monday.
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