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12-10-2017

Slovak court annuls rulings that Andrej Babiš wrongly appeared as StB agent

The Slovak Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled earlier court decisions ruling that Czech leader of the party ANO was wrongly referred to as an agent of the former communist secret police, the StB.

The court was addressing a complaint from the Nation’s Memory Institute surrounding the past of Babiš. The institute, which manages and interprets the archives from the communist era and before, had objected to an earlier court ruling that ANO leader Babiš did not collaborate with the StB.

Part of the evidence for the former verdict was based on witness statements from former StB agents. Babiš has repeatedly denied accusations that he collaborated with the StB in spite of archive material that suggested he did. The court cast doubt on the previous evidence of StB agents in Babiš’ favour.

Jihlava deputy mayor implicated Stork’s Nest Affair: report

The deputy mayor of Jihlava, ANO’s Jana Mayerová, has been charged by police in connection with the so-called Stork’s Nest Affair, the Czech daily Dnes reported on Thursday.

The paper said the report was based on comments from the mayor herself. The affair focuses on ANO party leader, Andrej Babiš, with suspicions that 50 million crowns in EU funds were misused in the development of a hotel and congress centre linked with Babiš’ party.

The mayor, who has long been ill, says she is considering resignation.

Corruption watchdog scores Czech parties over campaign financing

Corruption watchdog and good government promoter, Transparency International, has released the results of its monitoring of Czech political parties’ openness about their funding and spending ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

Director David Ondráčka said the results broadly showed parties such as The Greens and Pirates as being the most open.

Traditional parties, such as the Social Democrats and Civic Democrats, occupied a mid-ranking position. The Realist party, the SPO party linked to president Miloš Zeman, and Freedom party scored worst.

Elections to the lower house of parliament take place on October 20 and 21.

Czech Senate condemns president’s comments over Crimea

The Czech upper house, the Senate, has condemned head of state Miloš Zeman’s comments to the Council of Europe parliaemntary assembly over Crimea.

It said his words appeared to legitimise the Russian annexation of Crimea. The final resolution said that Zeman should respect the lines of Czech foreign policy. A tougher resolution that the president had damaged the reputation of the Czech Republic was not adopted.

Zeman said that the annexation was now a fait accompli and suggested that Russia might compensate Ukraine through deliveries of natural gas or oil.

Zeman’s spokesman later commented that the president’s comments this week was not meant to legitimise the annexation but were a considered and realistic evaluation of the current situation.

Study fuels Central European campaign against dual quality foodstuffs

A comparison of 21 food products sold in five countries, including the Czech Republic, has showed differences in most of them.

The examination of the contents of food sold in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary was carried out by a Prague university with the results released on Thursday. It found only seven of the products were totally the same. There were small variations for three products. And for 11 products the variations were considerable. In most cases, the quality of food offered in Germany was superior. The latest results are likely to bolster the campaign by Czech and other Central European countries against dual quality foodstuffs being sold in the same packaging across the European Union.

Tax authorities prepare change in rules governing Airbnb

The Czech tax authorities are preparing a change in regulations that will impact those who rent out their properties long-term via Airbnb or similar platforms, iHned.cz reported on Thursday. In a statement, the Financial Administration said such services would be taxed the same as accommodation services or other forms of enterprise, not as rent.

Landlords who earn CZK 1 million or more annually will be required to register as payers of value added tax.

Jágr wins in debut outing for Calgary

The veteran ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr won his first game in the colours of Calgary Flames on Wednesday. His compatriot Michael Frolík notched up one goal and one assist for Calgary in a 4:3 overtime victory at Los Angeles.

At 45 Jágr is the oldest active player in the NHL. He is the second most productive player in the league's history. Wednesday's game was his first appearance in six months.

Weather

The weather on Friday should be cloudy with sunny intervals across most of the country. Top daytime temperatures will range between 15 to 19 degrees Celsius.

12-10-2017