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Unions say ArcelorMittal Ostrava divestment to take place by start of 2019

The Czech Republic’s biggest steelmaker, Arcelor Mittal Ostrava, will have to be in the hands of a new owner by January 1, 2019, under conditions to be set down by the European Commission.

Unions at the steel plant made the announcement following talks with prime minister Andrej Babiš and members of the government who are visiting the city. The divestment is part of a package which the multinational steelmaker has offered in a bid to win Commission support for its takeover of Italian steelmaker Ilva.

An announcement from Brussels competition authorities on those conditions is due to be made officially at the end of May.

Prague council executive backs demolition of Libeň bridge

Prague City council’s executive committee has decided to support the demolition of Libeň bridge, a 1928 construction with Cubist elements.

In its place a new bridge would be built.

The latest decision appears to be another nail in the coffin of the historic bridge, which many argue should be saved.

The bridge is in a dangerous state and had to be closed to most traffic for seven weeks this year. The executive’s decision has to be agreed by the full council which meets on Thursday.

Prague cycle body challenges bike ban in city centre

The cyclists’ organisation Auto*Mat has lodged a court complaint against Prague 1 district council’s move to introduce a daytime ban on bikes in large parts of the centre of the city.

The ban, between 10 am and 5 pm daily, is due to come into force on Thursday. The organisation already called for changes to the new rules but these were all rejected by the council.

Cyclists say the ban is exaggerated and illegal, arguing that their previous complaints were not dealt with properly.

Czech surgeons attach toe to woman’s hand

Plastic surgeons at Olomouc university hospital say they have performed a unique operation in the country when they transferred a toe to replace part of a woman’s finger.

The operation was carried out over 11 hours using micro procedures.

The 54-year-old woman lost most of her finger when she was walking in the countryside and was attacked by a pit bull dog. The woman is expected to regain full use of her hand.

Foreign owned companies in Czech Republic climb to 86,000

The number of foreign-owned companies in the Czech Republic has climbed to 86,000, according to the Czech Credit Bureau.

The number has increased by 49 percent over the last seven years, it added. Most of those foreign companies are Russian-owned though their number has declined slightly.

Most foreign capital flowing into the Czech Republic comes from Germany.

Czech economic confidence climbs in April

Overall confidence in the Czech economy climbed by 0.4 percentage points in April after March’s fall, the Czech Statistical Office announced on Tuesday.

The composite index climbed to 100.1 points. The biggest jump in confidence came from the business sector, particularly manufacturing industry.

Among consumers, confidence was down. Compared with April last year, the confidence indicators are higher across the board.

Czech police detain group of foreigners after vicious attack on waiter

Czech police have detained seven foreigners suspected of carrying out a brutal attack on a waiter over the weekend.

The injured man was taken to hospital in a serious condition and has undergone an operation on his head. The group was detained at Prague airport after some passengers recognised them following widespread media coverage of the attack.

The attack in the centre of Prague was reportedly sparked after the waiter told them they were not allowed to bring in alcohol to consume on the premises.

Police later said the detained were Dutch and that five out of seven of them had been charged.

Stanley Cup playoffs: Leafs force Game 7, Plekanec scores empty-netter

Czech forward Tomáš Plekanec scored in his first goal for the Maple Leafs in the Stanley Cup playoffs on Monday, helping the Leafs knot their best-of-seven series against the Boston Bruins at 3-3.

His goal was an empty-netter with just over a minute left in the third period to put the game beyond reach for the visiting team.

Anderson made 32 stops in the 3-1 win. The deciding Game 7 is in Boston.

The match on Monday was overshadowed by a deadly van attack in the city of Toronto hours before: 10 people were killed and 15 injured when a suspect, who was later apprehended, drove into pedestrians on the city’s Yonge Street.

Ahead of the game, a moment of silence was held in tribute to the victims.

Czech New Wave classic Diamonds of the Night to be screened at Cannes

Director Jan Němec’s Czech New Wave classic Démanty noci (Diamonds of the Night), about two boys who escape a Nazi transport to a concentration camp during WWII, will be screened at this year’s Cannes film festival.

The film, which starred Ladislav Jánsky and Antonín Kumbera, will be shown in the festival’s Classics section, along with the Italian neorealist masterpiece Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves), 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Apartment, Grease, The Big Blue and Driving Miss Daisy.

The news was confirmed by the head of the National Film Archive Michal Bregant.

Weather

Wednesday is expected to be cloudy with sunny intervals across most of the country. Rain is likely in the far west of Bohemia. Top daytime temperatures will range between 20 and 26 degrees Celsius.