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24-10-2018

Andrej Babiš discusses Brexit with Theresa May in London

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš was received in London on Wednesday by his British counterpart, Theresa May.

Topping their agenda was the status of talks on Brexit and various foreign and security policy concerns.

During his visit, Mr Babiš also met London’s mayor, Charles Bowman, and was to attend a concert by the Czech Philharmonic celebrating the upcoming 100th anniversary of the founding of Czechoslovakia.

Vltavská metro bridge faces partial demolition over safety concerns

Part of a bridge linking the Prague districts of Karlín and Holešovice at the Vltavská metro station will be demolished due to disrepair. The section was closed to traffic in early October over safety concerns.

All bridges in the Czech capital have undergone special inspections since pedestrian walkway over the Vltava River collapsed last December, injuring two people.

Earlier this year, the Prague City Council executive committee backed the demolition of the Libeň bridge but but suspended a decision following protests from conservationists and other experts.

Zeman endorses state budget ahead of vote

President Miloš Zeman has endorsed the draft state budget but expressed some reservations, calling out "unnecessary expenditures", chief among them for promoting renewable energy resources.

Zeman’s comments came in a speech before a vote at the lower house of Parliament on the draft budget, which proposes a deficit of 40 billion crowns for both this year and in 2019.

Opposition parties have criticised the ANO-Social Democrat coalition government for promoting deficit spending during a time of economic growth. A vote was not expected until late evening Wednesday or the early hours of Thursday.

Gov’t to disburse CZK 2 bn in compensation to drought-striken farmers

The government on Wednesday agreed to allocate 2 billion crowns towards supporting drought-stricken farms and orchards. In September the Ministry of Agriculture estimated damages to crops at 11 billion crowns.

According to European Union rules, such government support can be granted to private growers only when damages from drought exceed 30% of average annual production.

Zeman to honour Fleet Sheet publisher Erik Best for OKD commentary

President Miloš Zeman will reportedly present a state award to American publisher Erik Best for his critical commentary on the privatisation of the mining company OKD and entrepreneur Zdeněk Bakala, who later gained control over it.

Mr Best is publisher of the daily Fleet Sheet press review and writes a column called the Final Word. He will receive the honour on 28 October, the centenary of Czechoslovakia’s founding, according to Deník N.

OKD, now in bankruptcy, was sold by the state to the company Karbon Invest for a price critics say was far below the market value. Mr. Bakala’s RPG Industries purchased Karbon Invest just a few months later.

In August, a lower house commission investigating the controversial privatisation of OKD asked the police to intervene after Bakala ignored a summons to give testimony.

Plzeň beaten 2:1 by Real Madrid in Champions League

Viktoria Plzeň were beaten 2:1 by title holders Real Madrid in a football Champions League group game in the Spanish capital on Tuesday night. The hosts opened the scoring on 11 minutes and found the net again just after half time. Plzeň responded with a strike by Patrik Hrošovský with 11 minutes remaining to produce a nervy ending for Real, whose manager is under pressure after a string of poor results.

Tuesday’s result leaves Viktoria Plzeň with one point from three games. Their next Champions League match is at home against Real.

Plíšková and Kvitová lose in Singapore, meaning only one can advance

Both Czechs taking part in tennis’s season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore were beaten on Tuesday. Karolína Plíšková lost to Elina Svitolina while Petra Kvitová was defeated by reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki.

The Czech players are in the same group and will face each other on Thursday. Both can theoretically advance to the knockout stage. However, whoever loses that encounter is out and the winner is not guaranteed to progress either.

Weather outlook

Thursday should be partly cloudy to overcast throughout most of the country with occasional rain likely. Daytime highs should be between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.

24-10-2018