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19-10-2018

Macron to meet Zeman and Babiš in Prague next Friday

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, will hold talks at Prague Castle with the Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, next Friday, a spokesperson for the latter said. Mr. Macron had previously been reported as due in Prague at the weekend, when events will be held marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia.

The French president will also meet Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš during his visit.

Prime Minister Babiš has invited a number of international leaders to Prague for the ceremonial reopening of the Czech National Museum on Saturday, the day before the centenary, though their identities have not been revealed.

US Secretary of Defence James Mattis and Slovak President Andrej Kiska are due to attend a Czech Army display at Prague’s Vítkov on October 28.

PM goes back on plan to introduce government ethics code

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has gone back on a plan to introduce a government code of ethics, iRozhlas.cz reported on Friday. The ANO leader told a number of news outlets in the summer that his cabinet would introduce rules on the conduct of government members.

However, the Ministry of Justice has now abandoned the job of drafting a code of ethics for the government and will instead introduce a bill on lobbying.

Mr. Babiš says his ministers don’t require rules “on paper somewhere”. The government is open and transparent and already has values, he told Czech Radio.

Ministry backs canal linking three major rivers

An ambitious project to build a canal linking the Danube, Odra and Labe (Elbe) rivers would make economic sense, according to a study produced by the Ministry of Transport. The construction of the canal would cost up to CZK 582 billion crowns, according to a press release issued by the ministry on Friday.

The project has long been advocated by President Miloš Zeman. However, environmentalists are opposed to it.

Filip resists resignation calls as Communists examine poor election results

The executive committee of the Communist Party met in Prague on Friday to discuss the reasons for the grouping’s poor showing in local and Senate elections this month. The party’s central committee, which is broader, will hold an extraordinary session on Saturday with the same aim.

Leader Vojtěch Filip has faced calls for his resignation over results he said were disappointing and which followed the Communist Party’s worst ever performance in general elections late last year. However, Mr. Filip, who has been chairman for 13 years, refuses to stand down.

Losses from summer drought estimated at CZK 24 billion

Estimated losses from the summer drought this year have topped CZK 24 billion, the website idnes.cz has reported. According to experts, 2018 will be the driest year on record, outdoing 2015, which has been the driest so far. Rainfall levels in October have so far been five times lower than the average. Prices of potatoes, beer and carp are expected to rise due to the drought.

Djokovic and other stars come out to bid farewell to Štěpánek

International and Czech sports stars turned out for an exhibition event at Prague’s O2 Arena on Thursday evening at which tennis player Radek Štěpánek officially ended his career. Current world tennis number two Novak Djokovic and retired legend Andre Agassi attended the sold-out event, while such huge names as Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal sent video greetings.

Also paying tribute to Štěpánek, who stopped playing last November at the age of 38, were football stars Petr Čech and Pavel Nedvěd and ice hockey legend Jaromír Jágr.

Štěpánek’s highest ranking was eighth in the world and he helped the Czech Republic to two Davis Cup triumphs.

Weather forecast

It should be overcast with some bright spells in the Czech Republic on Saturday, with temperatures of up to 17 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are expected to fall to 7 or 8 degrees Celsius in the middle of next week.

19-10-2018