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27-02-2018

Prague court releases Syrian Kurdish leader Muslim

Prague’s Municipal Court has released Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting Mr. Muslim’s Czech lawyer, Miroslav Krutina. The state attorney had recommended that Mr. Muslim be remanded in custody pending an extradition hearing. Mr. Krutina said the court had accepted his client’s pledge to take part in all further court hearings.

Mr. Muslim is a former leader of the PYD party, which Turkey considers a terrorist organisation. He was arrested in Prague on Saturday on a warrant issued by Turkey and Czech officials must decide whether to hand him over to Ankara.

On Monday Turkey’s ambassador to Prague said the release of Mr. Muslim could have a negative impact on Czech-Turkish relations.

Earlier Turkey’s minister of justice, Abdülhamit Gül, said his government would not do a deal with the Czech Republic under which two Czechs in prison in Turkey would be released in exchange for Mr. Muslim.

Czechs Markéta Všelichová and Miroslav Farkas are serving six years in Turkey for supporting the Kurdish militia YPG.

Babiš calls on head of police oversight agency to quit

The prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, has called on the director of the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces, Michal Murín, to resign. Mr. Murín told the news website Aktuálně.cz that Mr. Babiš asked him to step down twice this month, saying he had lost faith in the official. The inspectorate investigates crimes committed by members of the police.

Mr. Murín said the prime minister had told him that if he quit he would avoid being embroiled in a scandal. The head of the inspectorate can be removed on the proposal of the government and after deliberations by the lower house’s security committee.

Though the ANO government is in resignation it has removed made several high profile personnel changes, including the boss of CzechInvest, the heads of two hospitals and the director general of Czech Post.

Uber representatives to meet PM next week

Representatives of Uber are to meet the prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, on Thursday next week, he told reporters on Tuesday. The ANO chief said he had sent a letter to the head of Czech Uber calling on the company to adhere to local legislation or cease offering transportation services.

Taxi drivers in Prague have held a series of protests against Uber, which they consider unfair competition. The minister of transport, Dan Ťok, has promised tougher regulation of Uber and similar services but said no new legislation would be introduced in the near future.

Filip to stand again for Communists after u-turn

The leader of the Communist Party, Vojtěch Filip, says he will stand again for the position of chairman. After the Communists had their worst ever showing in a general election in October, Mr. Filip said he would not run again for the post he has held since 2005.

The party came fifth with less than 8 percent in the last elections. Leaders subsequently called an extraordinary congress in April at which all leadership positions will be up for grabs.

Mr. Filip said that he was the longest serving chairman of any party in the lower house and that making changes could involve risks for the Communists.

Number of retiring doctors to exceed new graduates

The number of doctors retiring from the profession in the Czech Republic could next year exceed the number of fresh medicine graduates, according to the Institute of Health Information and Statistics. However, teaching hospitals are unable to boost student numbers due to a lack of funding and teachers, representatives of such facilities and the education and health ministries said at a news conference in Prague on Tuesday.

Unless changes are made, a third of working doctors will be aged 60 or over by the year 2025, the head of the Institute of Health Information and Statistics, Ladislav Dušek, said. He said that the number of medical students needed to grow by 20 to 25 percent to prevent a shortfall in future.

Interpreter starring Jiří Menzel gets Prague premiere

The Interpreter, a new film starring Jiří Menzel and Austrian actor Peter Simonischek, known for the hit Toni Erdmann, gets its Czech premiere in Prague on Tuesday night. The movie was written and directed by Slovak filmmaker Martin Šulík and focuses on events linked to the Nazi period in Slovakia.

The Interpreter received its world premiere last week at the Berlin International Film Festival, where Mr. Menzel was awarded its Berlinale Kamera on his 80th birthday.

Weather forecast

The cold weather should continue in the Czech Republic, with partly clear skies and daytime temperatures of -6 degrees Celsius expected on Wednesday. Temperatures should climb to around 0 Celsius at the weekend.

27-02-2018