Daily news summary Daily news summary

19-03-2018

Czech foreign minister in Brussels for talks on Russia, Ukraine, Syria, Iran

Czech foreign minister Martin Stropnický took part in a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday, where the United Kingdom was expected to update its partners on the alleged use of Russian military nerve gas in an attack on a former spy in Salisbury.

Ministers were also expected to discuss what stepped up support the could give to Ukraine during its ongoing conflict with separatists in the east of the country supported by Moscow.

The latest developments in Syria were also to be discussed. Korea and Iran also featured on the agenda for discussions.

Government in resignation nears 100 day mark

This Friday will mark 100 days that the minority government of Andrej Babiš has held power in the Czech Republic despite the fact the cabinet failed its confidence vote in January.

It will be some five months since the election.

The prime minister in resignation, how has been leading negotiations in a second attempt to form a viable government, has drawn criticism from the opposition parties, who argue that many of the promises being made by the outgoing cabinet – such as rises in senior pensions or reduced train tickets for students and seniors – cannot be kept with the economy expected to slow.

The opposition has also criticised the government for going ahead with personnel changes at ministries.

Mr Babiš has made clear he is working towards forming a second minority government of ANO and the Social Democrats with tacit support from the Communist Party.

Author and screenwriter Zdeněk Mahler dies at 89

Respected Czech author and screenwriter Zdeněk Mahler, who penned the screenplay for the 2011 film Lidice and other feature productions and wrote dozens of books, died on Saturday at the age of 89. He had been in hospital in Prague's Střešovice; the news of his death was confirmed by his family on Sunday.

Producer Adam Dvořák expressed sadness over the news. Mahler was not only a screenwriter but also a musicologist, publicist and also teacher

FP blog author argues Russian influence in Prague should not be underestimated

An opinion piece by Kristofer Harrison, a former Defence and State Department advisor during the presidency of George W. Bush, has warned that the Trump administration and also US lawmakers have paid too little attention to what the author described as Russia’s “meddling” in Prague.

The piece was published under Foreign Policy’s Elephants in the Room banner, a blog featuring articles by GOP policymakers and others.

In the blog, the author alleges Russian connections have led the Czech Republic to become what he called an “embarrassing pro-Russia mouthpiece”. The author does not spare the Czech head of state and also rebukes US President Donald Trump for not taking the alleged threat seriously.

President Zeman is widely seen as pro-Russian both in the Czech Republic and abroad: he has repeatedly called for Russian sanctions to be lifted in the past and also drew criticism from various groups after saying in a broadcast that the Russian annexation of Crimea was a "fait accompli."

Ski hill operators report plenty of snow

Major ski resort operators in the Czech Republic report more than enough snow on the slopes and expect to stay open until at least Easter and as late as mid-April.

Ski hills saw renewed interest at the weekend with the return of freezing temperatures, although strong winds in areas forced resorts to close some slopes and lifts. René Hroneš from the ski hill Špindlerův Mlýn told the Czech News Agency that 100 km/h winds had forced some trails and lifts to close, admitting that skiing options were limited to only parts of the resort.

NHL: Mrázek stops 25 shots in win against Caps

Czech players for the Philadelphia Flyers made a mark on Sunday in their match-up against the Washington Capitals. Jakub Voráček picked up a goal and an assist while Radko Gudas got two assists to help lift the Flyers over the Caps by a score of 6-3.

Goalie Petr Mrázek, in the news recently for his new Broad Street Bullies mask, turned away 25 of 28 shots.

Weather

Tuesday should be mostly cloudy with a chance of some sunny periods and snow. Daytime temperatures are expected to hover just above zero, around 1 degree Celsius.

19-03-2018