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16-03-2019

Minister: Police investigating people expressing approval of Christchurch attack online

In connection with the terrorist attack in New Zealand’s Christchurch, the Czech minister of the interior, Jan Hamáček, says the country’s police force are investigating all instances of people expressing approval on the internet of criminal acts. Mr. Hamáček said on Twitter that officers had begun monitoring such cases on Friday.

Police chief Jan Švejdar said that the force would not tolerate any expressions of agreement with terrorism, extremism or hate speech. Czech police have responded to internet hate speech in the past, including in late 2017, when they dealt with cases of vitriol directed at a photo of a mixed-race group of primary school children.

Forty-nine people were murdered and dozens more were seriously injured in a gun attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday.

Study warns of long-term Prague housing shortage

A new study by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development suggests the Czech capital could face a sizable housing crisis in the future. According to the report, which was quoted by news site iDnes.cz, the city’s population will grow by 160,000 by 2030. To satisfy projected housing demand, 8,000 new apartments would need to be built annually, a representative of the institute said.

However, last year fewer than 5,300 flats were completed and developers say a log-jam relating to zoning and planning permits means the number will only decline further in the next few years.

Civic Democrats chief: Govt marked by marketing and empty words

The chairman of the opposition Civic Democrats, Petr Fiala, has accused the ANO-led cabinet of being a government of marketing and empty words. Speaking at a party policy conference on Saturday, Mr. Fiala also indirectly compared ANO’s leader, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, to Baron Munchausen, a literary character known for the comical exaggeration of his exploits.

During Saturday’s congress the Civic Democrats expelled Václav Klaus Jr. from the party. The son of the former prime minister and president had refused calls to quit the party after he compared Czech MPs approving EU directives to the decisions of the Jewish council, whose members were forced to make selections for transports to concentration camps.

Controversial Volný and other MPs quit Okamura party

Three MPs have quit Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy Party. Lubomír Volný, Marian Bojko and Ivana Nevludová were all elected in the Moravian Silesian Region. Mr. Volný said the move was in protest at the fact that the party had allowed racists and neo-Nazis to enter its ranks. He has rejected a call from Freedom and Direct Democracy to also resign from his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.

Mr. Volný is a controversial figure who in the past called Václav Havel a traitor, criticised the Erasmus scheme for students and offered to “take outside” a dispute with another MP during a lower house session. Soon after he announced that he would challenge Mr. Okamura for the party chairmanships his local branch was dissolved.

Prague authorities attempting to curb pub crawl groups

The authorities in Prague are trying to curb pub crawls that agencies run for tourists in the city, Aktuálně.cz reported. The move is intended to help reduce noise levels in the historic centre, the news site said.

The Prague 1 Town Hall has achieved its first success in this drive by persuading the operators of the large music club Karlovy lázně, which is right by Charles Bridge, to cease working with agencies that organise pub crawls for large groups, district deputy mayor Petr Hejma said.

Mr. Hejma said he hoped other bars and clubs in the downtown area would also get behind the initiative.

Plzeň’s title defence hopes recede further following defeat

Viktoria Plzeň’s hopes of retaining Czech soccer’s league title have receded further. The reigning champions were beaten 2:1 by Teplice on Friday evening, meaning they will be a full nine points behind league leaders Slavia Prague if the latter can beat Příbram on Sunday. There are five more rounds after this weekend.

Meanwhile, Slavia are looking forward to playing Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the Europa League following Friday’s draw. They overcame five-time winners Sevilla on Thursday in a sensational seven-goal match in Prague.

Weather forecast

Sunday should be overcast with bright spells in the Czech Republic, with temperatures of up to 17 degrees Celsius expected. Daytime highs are then likely to fall to around 6 degrees Celsius at the beginning of the week.

16-03-2019