The lower house of Parliament has approved the government’s foreign missions plan. Under the proposal the Czech Republic should reinforce its presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali by 275 soldiers this year. In the second half of 2019 Czech pilots will take their turn protecting the airspace of the Baltic States.
The plan was approved by 140 out of the 170 deputies present. Only the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party voted against.
The vote was preceded by a stormy debate since the Civic Democrats had strong reservations to the fact that the plan was being put forward by a government without a confidence vote.
Steelmaker Třinecké železárny has made a bid to buy its main rival Arcelor Mittal Ostrava. The news was confirmed by the spokeswoman of Třinecké železárny Petra Jurásková.
The idea of a merger between the country’s two biggest steelmakers has received strong support both from Prime Minister Andrej Babis and President Milos Zeman who said the companies should stay in Czech hands.
The Czech government is closely following ArcelorMittal Ostrava’s sale with the main concern to ensure the continuity of steel making and allied activities employing more than 7,000 in a region of relatively high unemployment.
It is not clear how many other bids have been made.
In its first draft of the 2019 state budget the Finance Ministry envisages a deficit of 50 billion crowns, the ctk news agency reported Friday.
The budgetary priorities are increased pensions, higher wages for teachers and higher investments. Deficits of roughly that amount are expected until the year 2021.
All ministries have been promised more funds for next year, with the biggest increase being to the budget of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
Opposition parties have criticized the size of the deficit at a time of economic growth.
The defeated candidate in the second round of presidential elections in January, Jiří Drahoš, is to stand for the Senate with the backing of several political parties, he announced on Friday. The chemist and former head of the Czech Academy of Sciences will have the support of TOP 09, the Christian Democrats, the Mayors and Independents and the Greens when he runs for a Senate post in the Prague 4 constituency in October.
Mr. Drahoš received 48.5 percent of the vote in January’s elections, which were won by the incumbent Miloš Zeman.
Prague’s Mánes Bridge will be the site of weekend celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the Czech-German Fund For the Future.
Over that time the fund has supported more than 10,000 joint and cross-border projects that benefitted good-neighborly relations.
The celebrations on Mánes Bridge will include concerts, outdoor theatre performances, debates, events for children and there will be stalls with Czech and German cuisine.
Mánes Bridge will be closed to traffic as of Friday evening.
The week-long festival of Romany culture Khamoro continued on Friday with a colorful parade through the city center with over 250 Romany musicians and dancers from different countries and regions taking part.
The festival also offers a concert of traditional Roma music at La Fabrika with artists from Russia, Portugal and Romania, a football tournament and a gala concert at the Prague Club SaSaZu on Saturday.
Saturday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain in most parts of the country and day temperatures between 23 and 27 degrees Celsius.
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