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ANO members back cooperation with left parties

Members of ANO back some form of cooperation with the Social Democrats and the Communist Party. In an internal party referendum, the majority said they favoured that option. A minority coalition with the Social Democrats backed by the Communists appears to be a possible way forward for ANO, who came first in elections in October but have not yet been able to form a stable government.

Around a third of ANO members said they would prefer a minority government supported by the Communists and Freedom and Direct Democracy.

In the ANO internal referendum 90 percent of 2,800 members polled said party chairman Andrej Babiš, who is facing criminal charges of abusing EU subsidies, should lead the government.

UN Commissioner criticizes Czechia for Roma discrimination

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, has criticised the Czech Republic for alleged discrimination of the Roma minority and segregation of Roma children in schools.

In his speech at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, he called on the Czech government to compensate Roma women who were sterilised in the past without their full consent and to terminate the use of both surgical and chemical castration for sex offenders.

President’s chancellor may be required to pass top-level security clearance

The lower house on Wednesday supported a proposal to increase the security clearance for the president’s chancellor to the highest level. The proposal, put forward by the Mayors and Independents Party, was approved in its first reading despite ANO party and the Communist deputies voting against it.

The proposal comes as reaction to the fact the current chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, has been holding the post despite having failed to pass the top-level security clearance. If the amendment is approved, Mr Mynář would have to get the highest level clearance by the end of the year to remain in the post of a chancellor.

Petition against Communist MP Ondráček delivered to lower house

Organizers of the protests against the Communist MP Zdeněk Ondráček, who was appointed chairman of the lower house committee overseeing the General Inspectorate of the Security Forces, delivered their petition to the lower house on Wednesday.

Mr Ondráček, who beat protesters as a riot squad officer prior to the Velvet Revolution which overthrew the communist regime in 1989, has already announced he would step down from the post following massive protests on Monday in Prague, Brno and other Czech cities.

The organizers of the petition have collected more than 14,000 signatures so far.

President Zeman pays homage to Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk at Lány

President Miloš Zeman laid a wreath at the grave of the first president of Czechoslovakia Tomas Garrigue Masaryk at Lány on Wednesday morning to commemorate the 168th anniversary of his birth.The acting Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and the speaker of the Czech Senate, Milan Štěch have also paid homage to the first Czechoslovak president.

The founder of the Czechoslovak state T. G. Masaryk was born on March 7, 1850 in the South Moravian town of Hodonín and died at the presidential Lány Chateau in 1937.

RAF pilot Emil Boček marks 95th birthday with autobiography

Emil Boček, who the Czech News Agency describe as the last living Czech airman who served in Britain’s RAF during WWII, has launched a new book. The autobiographical Strach jsem si nepřipouštěl (I Didn’t Accept Fear) was published in connection with Major General Boček’s 95th birthday last month.

He served with the RAF’s 312 and 310 squadrons and notched up 26 operational flights. Two years ago he got to fly a Spitfire in the UK, 70 years after he had last done so.

Weather

Thursday is expected to be mostly cloudy with occasional rain or snow showers and daytime highs ranging between -2 and 2 degrees Celsius.