ANO leader and finance minister Andrej Babiš said on Monday that he would refuse to discuss the issue of one crown bonds if raised in a meeting of government leaders. He added that the subject was part of a campaign against him by the senior coalition party, the Social Democrats. The issue was put on the agenda for discussion by party leaders on Monday. Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka has voiced suspicions that Babiš’ purchase of the bonds issued by his own company, Agrofert, was exploited as a tax dodge. His has called for an investigation by tax officials but they have so far failed to oblige.
The Czech competition office has announced that it will launch an investigation into the offer and charges made for data and voice service by telecom companies on the local market. The probe, to take place over the next weeks, will examine whether there is collusion between the big players and possibly abuse of dominant position. Czech telecom companies have recently been under the spotlight, particularly for the high prices of data services compared with neighbouring countries, such as Poland. Stand-in minister of industry and trade, Bohuslav Sobotka, pledged to tackle the problem and has also pushed for increased powers for the sector regulator, the Czech Telecommunication Office.
Karel Štogl, a former diplomat at OSCE, has announced his decision to run in the 2018 presidential elections. According to the news site Neovlivni.cz Štogl will run as an independent and will be launching his campaign in June. Among the candidates for the presidential post are Miloš Zeman who announced last week he would seek re-election, lyricist Michal Horáček, and physician and civic activist Marek Hilšer.
Around 70 Czechs living in Great Britain have asked for Czech citizenship as a result of fears over their status under Brexit, according to the Czech embassy in London. Most of the applications from the Czech emigrants to Britain between 1948 and 1968 and their descendants. They have an automatic right to Czech citizenship if requested even if they do not live there. Many of the applicants apparently fear difficulties over obtaining long term residency in Britain once it is no longer part of the European Union. Britain voted to withdraw from the EU in a referendum last June.
Hoped for savings from the merger of the National Theatre and State Opera failed to emerge, the spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office has warned in its latest report. The merger took place in 2012 and costs initially fell by just under 1.0 percent. Afterwards though they rebounded strongly. Preparations for the merger also cost around 1.4 million crowns. The National Theatre has explained the rise in costs as stemming mostly from increased wages. The watchdog also pointed to dubious drawing on reserves, flawed accounting of foreign trips and expenses, and other accounting errors in the accounts.
Flights between Prague and Berlin have been cancelled as a result of a strike by ground staff at Berlin airports. Six return flights scheduled for Monday and early Tuesday were victims of the strike over wage claims. More cancellations are expected following the announcement that the action would be extended from Tuesday to Wednesday. The action affects flights to and from Berlin’s Tegel and Schönfeld airports.
An increasing number of children are suffering from negative side effects of vaccinations, according to the State Institute for Control of Drugs. The institute says it now gets hundreds of complaints every year, some insignificant, others fairly or very serious. No link has so far been proven between vaccination and autism or epilepsy but an increasing number of parents fear they may be putting their children at risk. Parents who do not get their children vaccinated face complications such as not being able to enrol them in nursery schools.
World tennis number three, Karolína Plíšková, has reached the last 16 of the Indian Wells tournament for the third time in a row. She defeated Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6:4, 7:6. She next faces Swiss player Timea Bacsinszky. The US tournament is sometimes referred to as the Fifth Grand Slam because of its prestige on the tennis circuit.
In football, Sparta Prague’s management duo of Tomáš Požár and David Holoubek have been sacked after a string of poor results. Sparta lost the weekend match against Mladá Boleslav 0: 1, the second loss in the four games since the start of the Spring season. The team were also bundled out of the Europa League by Russian club Rostov with a 4:0 away thrashing and 1:1 draw at home. Club bosses said they had not seen any recovery in the team’s performance or signs that it was coming after the Rostov performances. Sparta will be provisionally managed by Zdeněk Svoboda and Stanislav Hejkal.
The weather on Tuesday is likely to be sunny with maximum daytime temperatures between 9 and 13 degrees Celsius. The morning will still be cold with temperatures down to minus 3 degrees in some places.
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