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21-11-2017

Czech president meets with Vladimir Putin in Sochi

President Miloš Zeman met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Sochi, beginning the official program of his five-day visit. The two met at Mr Putin’s personal residence, Bocharov Ruchei, often the site of top meetings during state visits.

According to the Czech News Agency, Mr Putin expressed appreciation for Mr Zeman’s interest in deepening economic cooperation between Russia and the Czech Republic, despite differences. On his trip, the Czech president is being accompanied by a business delegation representing more than 130 firms, looking for new opportunities for trade.

President Zeman expressed regret that it had not been possible for “technical, not ideological reasons” to transfer the reliquary bust for the skull of Saint Ludmila to go on display for two days in Russia; St Ludmila is revered in the Russian Orthodox Church.

Police ask for ANO leader to be stripped of parliamentary immunity

Police have requested the lower house of Parliament to strip ANO leader Andrej Babiš and ANO deputy chair Jaroslav Faltýnek of their parliamentary immunity opening the way for criminal prosecution. The two politicians were earlier charged with EU subsidy fraud but their prosecution was halted when their regained their immunity in October’s general elections.

The police request comes less than 24 hours after the newly elected chamber of deputies assembled for its constituting session. It will now be up to the Mandate and Immunity Committee to consider the request and make a recommendation to the assembly which will take a final vote on the matter.

This will inevitably complicate talks on forming a new government. As the winner of the elections Babiš was to have been named prime minister and has been working to put together a minority government.

Babiš: speed of police is evidence “old system is scared”

The head of ANO Andrej Babiš has expressed surprise over the speed and stubbornness with which the police have requested the lower house of Parliament to him and ANO deputy chair Jaroslav Faltýnek to be stripped of their parliamentary immunity. The move would open the door to criminal prosecution for alleged subsidy fraud.

Mr Babiš said the speed with which the police were acting was further evidence the “corrupt system was scared”. MPs from the Civic Democrats, Social Democrats, Pirates, Christian Democrats and TOP 09 are in favour of their immunity to be cancelled. The Freedom and Direct Democracy Party says it wants to read the case file first.

Police close investigation into death of actor Jan Tříska

Police have closed an investigation into the death of actor Jan Tříska after concluding that his fall from Charles Bridge several weeks ago was most likely a tragic accident. The popular Czech actor was in Prague to film a new movie when the tragic accident occurred.

Tříska emigrated to Canada in 1977 after being banned by the communist regime and later moved to the United States where he appeared in 44 Hollywood movies. In the Czech Republic he was best known for the role of a schoolteacher in the Oscar nominated film Elementary School and for his stage performances in Shakespeare’s plays.

Press: Transgas building will not receive cultural heritage status

The Transgas building in Prague, described by some historians as an exceptional example of Brutalist architecture, will not be added to the list of cultural heritage sites, the dailies Hospodářské noviny and Právo report, citing information from the Culture Ministry, which allegedly stopped a preliminary evaluation over the matter.

The news has not officially been confirmed by the ministry as not all relevant parties have been informed in writing; until then, the ministry has declined to comment. Without heritage status, the site can be cleared for demolition to make room for new flats.

Disqualified presidential candidate considering legal action

Josef Toman, disqualified from the presidential race for providing too few signatures (from a minimum 50,000 needed) by the November 7 deadline, says he will take legal action over the matter. The candidate said he had gathered almost 75,000 signatures which he had sent to the Interior Ministry by mail.

On the day he filed, the candidate had just 11 signatures from members of the public; the Interior Ministry said it had not received more. Of the 20 people who filed to run, only nine candidates’ registrations were accepted.

Weather

Wednesday will be mostly cloudy with some sunny periods. Daytime temperatures should reach highs of around 10 degrees Celsius.

21-11-2017