US President-elect Donald J. Trump's ex-wife Ivana Trump has told the New York Post she will talk to her ex-husband about the possibility of serving as the next US ambassador to Prague. In the interview published on Friday, the 67-year-old businesswoman suggested that her fluency in Czech as well as name recognition in the country of her birth, could be strong assets. Ivana Trump was born in the former Czechoslovakia in 1949. The possibility of her serving as ambassador was greeted positively in a tweet by Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman for Czech President Miloš Zeman. The Czech president had backed Mr Trump ahead of his surprise win last Tuesday, when most polls in the US had suggested the presidency would be won by Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton. Clinton won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college.
Czech foreign minister Lubomír Zaorálek has said that the EU should set limits and red lines for its relationship with Turkey, including, for example, the mooted return of the death penalty. The minister was speaking ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers aiming to take stock of relations and developments since the failed army coup in the summer. The Czech minister added though that it was in the interests of both the EU and Turkey to have stable relations and that the immigration deal with the country had stemmed the flow of immigrants through Greece. Monday’s meeting was also due to discuss increased defence cooperation and the so-called Eastern Partnership.
ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš has defended Dan Ťok his nominee as minister of transport from criticism from the biggest government party, the Social Democrats. Ťok was singled out for attack over his management of the ministry by prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka over the weekend. He added that ANO could have used the opportunity of a government reshuffle to change some of their ministers as well. Sobotka was due Monday to meet Ťok and discuss his misgivings. ANO leader Babiš hit back saying that the Social Democrats were characterised by their close relationships with some transport companies, adding that they were keen to grab the transport dossier when the government was formed.
The Czech Ministry of Finance has upped its GDP growth expectations for this to 2.4 percent from the previous 2.2 percent. And the forecast for 2017 has also risen to 2.5 percent from 2.4 percent. The ministry expects a modest budget deficit of 0.2 percent of GDP both this year and next. But the budget should swing into a slight 0.1 percent surplus in 2018 and rise to 0.5 percent of GDP in 2019, according to the latest figures released Monday.
Police said they detained 35 people in connection with the Cannafest fair staged in Prague from Friday to Sunday. The annual fair, attended by 250 firms from 25 countries is mainly a showcase for cannabis and herbal products. Of those detained, 26 were for illegal possession of drugs and seven on suspicion of producing illegal drugs. Another person was detained for rowdy behaviour. Police carried out checks on 700 people attending the fair. Organisers said it was the biggest fair held so far.
Around 36,000 people have disappeared from the Czech Republic’s smallest districts, those with populations below 500, between 2001-2014. Such districts still number around 3,500 with 840,000 people living in them. However, if the trend continues then the Czech countryside could follow the example of Spain, Italy, and Greece and become a virtual museum. Districts often face the problems of an ageing population, most of the educated leave for bigger cities, high unemployment, and poor services. The Ministry of Agriculture has woken up to the problem and is now encouraging business start-ups in such localities with grants.
Record freezing temperatures were registered in parts of the Czech Republic in the early hours of Monday, with the coldest being in Rolava in the region of Karlovy Vary: -17.5 degrees Celsius. Temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius were recorded at 14 measuring stations, Petr Dvořák of the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute confirmed.
The state run forestry company Lesy ČR has seen net profits tumble by around 30 percent to around 4.0 billion crowns this year. Company managers have blamed the steep drop on lower timber prices. They also say they have been forced to fell poor quality trees because of the ever present danger of bark beetle infestation. The state company owns around half the forests in the country. Last year it announced net profit of 5.4 billion crowns with a record 6.8 billion made in 2014.
Tuesday will start cloudy with the possibility of freezing fog in some areas. Rain and possibly snow is likely later in the day with top daytime temperatures reaching 3 degrees Celsius.
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