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27-08-2017

IS and aid on agenda as Sobotka meets Iraqi PM in Baghdad

The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, held talks with his Iraqi counterpart, Haider Al-Abadi, on a visit to Baghdad on Sunday. The two leaders discussed Czech support in the battle against Islamic State, humanitarian aid and possible participation in the post-war renewal of the country in what was the first visit to Iraq by a Czech prime minister since 2011.

Mr. Sobotka told reporters that the Czech Republic was not just a formal member of the international coalition against IS but was very active. He also said that Iraq had been the biggest importer of Czech arms in the last two years.

The Czech Republic supplied CZK 93.6 million in aid to Iraq between 2012 and 2016; this year it has provided CZK 65.5 million.

Zeman rules out possible clemency for Babiš

The Czech president, Miloš Zeman, says he will not pardon Andrej Babiš if the ANO leader is found guilty on charges of subsidy fraud. In an interview for the news site Blesk.cz, Mr. Zeman said Mr. Babiš was no Jiří Kajínek, who had spent 23 years in prison. The president pardoned Mr. Kajínek in May.

Mr. Babiš and a fellow ANO deputy are accused of illicitly acquiring CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for a farm that was in the past owned by the former’s company Agrofert.

Mr. Zeman also said that his preferred outcome of general elections next month would be a coalition of ANO and Social Democrats, and that he would never sink so low as to criticise the prime minister in a foreign publication.

A few days ago PM Bohuslav Sobotka said that the incumbent head of state would not win re-election and that this would lead to an improvement in Czech political culture.

Ads explaining smoking ban to appear in coming months

The Ministry of Health is planning an information campaign this autumn to clarify questions surrounding a ban on smoking in Czech pubs and restaurants that came into effect at the end of May, the Czech News Agency reported.

A three-month period in which hostelries have been given time to adapt to the new legislation concludes on Tuesday. However, problems remain surrounding the interpretation of the ban with regard to beer gardens and outdoor covered areas.

Experts say that the winter months – when going outside may become unpleasant for smokers – will be a real test of the ban.

News site: Lithium mine to be restricted to 23 hectares

Lithium should be mined on an area of around 23 hectares at Horní Slavkov in West Bohemia, according to a binding environmental impact assessment conducted by the Ministry of the Environment, Novinky.cz reported. The site is at a waste pond left behind after the mining of tin in the area.

A proposal to mine an area of over 44 hectares was rejected, as was the idea of extracting lithium in only two parts of the waste pond.

The Czech Republic has an estimated 3 percent of the world’s reserves of lithium, which is used in the production of mobile phones and electric cars.

Sparta defeat intensifies pressure on Stramaccioni

The country’s richest club Sparta Prague were beaten 2:0 away at Brno on Saturday evening, despite the fact that the hosts began the game at the bottom of the table. Both goals came from dead-ball situations. The result leaves Sparta fifth in the table after five rounds.

The result is likely to increase the pressure on Sparta’s Italian manager Andrea Stramaccioni, who last weekend said team – who were knocked out in the qualifying stages of the Europa League – had turned a corner with a win over Slovácko.

Juška breaks own national record in long jump

Radek Juška has set a new Czech record in the long jump for the second time this year. The athlete, who is 24, achieved a new best of 831 centimetres at the Summer Universiade in Taipei on Sunday. That distance was 2 centimetres longer than a jump he made in May.

Juška’s achievement in China was the seventh best jump in the world this year and the second best by a European.

Weather forecast

Monday should be partly cloudy, with temperatures of up to 23 degrees Celsius. The following days are due to see clear skies and daytime highs of up to 28 degrees Celsius.

27-08-2017