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13-11-2018

Babiš says affair surrounding son’s “kidnapping” aimed at forcing him out of politics

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says a scandal surrounding his son has been created in order to destroy him and force him out of politics. He made the comment in Italy on Tuesday and said the affair was timed to coincide with his foreign trip and this weekend’s anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution.

Seznam Zprávy on Monday carried an interview with Andrej Babiš Jr. in which he said he had been forcibly moved to the Crimea as his father wanted him to “disappear” out of the way of a corruption investigation.

Mr. Babiš says his son is mentally ill and left the Czech Republic voluntarily.

The PM is facing a criminal investigation into allegations he wrongly acquired CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague. He says the case is politically motivated.

Social Democrats want explanation over Babiš son kidnap claim

The Social Democrats, who are in government with ANO, have called on the latter’s leader Andrej Babiš to respond to suggestions his son was kidnapped. The Social Democrats’ deputy chairman Martin Netolický said they would analyse a report on TV station Seznam Zprávy in which Mr. Babiš’s son said he had been forcibly moved to the Crimea as his father wanted him to “disappear” out of the way of a corruption investigation.

The Social Democrats’ leader, Jan Hamáček, said the situation was serious and his party would not rule out any possible scenario as regards future cooperation with ANO.

The deputy leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, Alexandra Udženija, called on Mr. Babiš to resign as prime minister over the matter. Another opposition party, TOP 09, have also called for the PM to step down.

Mr. Babiš says his son is mentally ill and left the Czech Republic voluntarily. The PM is facing a criminal investigation into allegations he wrongly acquired CZK 50 million in EU subsidies for the Stork’s Nest complex near Prague. He says the case is politically motivated.

State attorneys looking into allegation PM’s son was kidnapped

The Supreme State Attorney’s Office said on Tuesday that it had ordered prosecutors in Prague to investigate suspicions that the son of Prime Minister Andrej Babiš may have been kidnapped. A representative of the Supreme State Attorney’s Office said such an investigation would have to entail the questioning of Andrej Babiš Jr., who lives in Switzerland.

Mr. Babiš’s son told reporters from Seznam Zprávy that he had forcibly moved to the Crimea as his father wanted him to “disappear” out of the way of a corruption investigation.

The prime minister denies the allegation and says his son is mentally ill. The police say they are also looking into claims made in the Seznam Zprávy report.

According to doctors’ reports, both Mr. Babiš’s son and his sister suffer from psychiatric problems and are unable to testify in a case in which the PM is accused of wrongly acquiring EU subsidies.

CT: Investigation into ex-Czech FA boss Pelta expanded

The police have broadened an investigation into the Czech Football Association and its former president, Miroslav Pelta, Czech Television reported. The investigation centres on allegations of corruption linked to the allocation of sports subsidies. Czech Television said police are also looking into a fresh suspicion of bribery.

Police allege that Mr. Pelta supplied a free Prague centre apartment to a deputy minister of education and sport, with whom he agreed on the divvying up of sports grants. The ex-FA chief denies any wrongdoing.

Twelve people honoured for civic courage in opposing totalitarian regimes

The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes on Monday handed out awards for civic courage to 12 Czechs and foreign nationals.

Among the personalities honoured are Charter 77 signatory Daňa Horáková who ran a samizdat undercover organization together with Vaclav Havel, Russian journalist and dissident Alexandr Podrabinek who in the 1970s reported about the abuse of psychiatric institutions in Russia and Bulgarians Alexandr Dimitrov, Eduard Genov and Valentin Radev who as students had the courage to protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Among the Nazi resistence fighters honoured was 98-year-old war hero Bernard Papanek who fought at Dunkirk and Tobruk and Helena Steblová who helped resistence fighters during the war and whose whole family was sent to a labour camp as a result.

Plans to remodel Prague’s Karlovo náměstí announced

The authorities in Prague have announced plans to remodel the square Karlovo náměstí, one of the largest green areas in the centre of the city. CZK 230 million has been earmarked for the project, which will involve the building of new walkways and the creation of a café, playground and market area.

Work should begin next year with the sprucing up of old trees and green areas. However, the overall remodelling project will not begin until 2025, after detailed plans have been approved.

Pianist Tomáš Kačo launches debut LP with Prague recital

US-based Czech pianist Tomáš Kačo launched his debut album My Home with a recital at Prague’s Convent of St. Agnes on Monday evening. The concert sold out quickly and a second show at the same venue will take place on Tuesday.

Tomáš Kačo comes from a large Roma family in a small town in Moravia and won a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He now lives in Los Angeles.

Weather forecast

It should be largely overcast in the Czech Republic on Wednesday, with temperatures of up to 10 degrees Celsius. Daytime highs are expected to fall over subsequent days, reaching around 5 degrees Celsius at the start of next week.

13-11-2018