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28-02-2018

PM to call meeting of national Security Council over GIBS head

The prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš will call a special meeting of the National Security Council to explain his criticism of the head of the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces, Michal Murín.

Mr Babiš told journalists on Wednesday that he had lost faith in the official and doubted his moral and professional integrity, adding that his concerns were based on documents of the Supreme State Office in Olomouc, which cannot be made public.

The outgoing Prime Minister also plans to attend a meeting of the Security Committee of the lower house on Thursday and debate the case with the Highest State Attorney Pavel Zeman.

Lower house backs proposal to tax church restitutions

The lower house of the Czech parliament on Wednesday supported the Communist Party’s proposal for church restitutions to be taxed, despite protests from the opposition Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and TOP 09. The proposal will now be debated by the budget committee and the committee on constitutional and legal affairs.

The settlement on compensating churches for property seized by the Communists was signed in 2012 after 20 years of negotiations. Under the settlement, the state is paying out 59 billion crowns adjusted for inflation over 30 years.

According to the Communist Party, the state could get back 380 million crowns a year in taxes from church restitutions and 11 billion crowns overall.

ANO and Social Democrats set for coalition talks

The ANO prime minister in resignation, Andrej Babiš, will on Wednesday hold talks on forming a government with representatives of the Social Democrats. ANO leaders will also meet leaders of the Communist Party, who could offer their support to such a minority government. Last week Mr. Babiš described such a set-up as “the only variant on the table”.

The Social Democrats say they want to focus on Wednesday on participation in a minority cabinet and its potential policy programme rather than on personnel issues. At the same time they continue to regard the fact that Mr. Babiš is facing criminal charges of abusing EU subsidies as problematic.

Czech journalist gets police protection after Slovak reporter’s murder

A Czech journalist has been placed under police protection in connection with the case of the Slovak investigative journalist Ján Kuciak, who was assassinated late last week.

According to the weekly Respekt, Pavla Holcová of the Czech Centre for Investigative Journalists, had been cooperating with Ján Kuciak on his last article, which links the Italian mafia to high level political corruption in Slovakia.

Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová were found shot dead in their home on Sunday. Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has offered a one million euro reward for anyone who comes forward with information about their murder.

Václav Čermák named Righteous among the Nations in memoriam

Evangelical priest Václav Čermák has been recognised in memoriam as “Righteous among the Nations”, the highest Israeli tribute to non-Jews who saved the lives of Jews during the Second World War. Israeli ambassador Daniel Maron bestowed the award to Čermák’s daughter at a ceremony in Prague's New Town Hall on Tuesday.

Mr Čermák helped two Jewish families in the wartime Nazi-controlled Slovak state, regardless of the risk it meant for him and his own family.

Altogether 117 Czechs have received the “Righteous among the Nations” tribute, sponsored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

Jágr sustains fresh knee injury

Ice hockey star Jaromír Jágr sustained fresh damage to his knee ligaments and meniscus in a Czech second flight game for Kladno against Havířov on Tuesday evening. The 46-year-old had been kept out of action earlier in the season by a similar injury. Jágr said, however, that there was a chance he would be able to help Kladno in playoffs.

After the game the all-time great said tackles like the one by Marek Sikora that upended him had no place in hockey today. Jágr said the Havířov player should have been penalised, whether or not it was technically a foul.

Weather

Thursday is expected to be mostly sunny with daytime temperatures ranging between -7 and -3 degrees Celsius.

28-02-2018