Daily news summary Daily news summary

18-06-2019

Babiš calls on his MPs not to vote for anti-Semitic candidate in Czech News Agency council election

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has called on his fellow ANO party deputies in the lower house of Parliament not to vote for candidate Michal Semín in the upcoming elections into the Czech News Agency council, Jaroslav Faltýnek, the leader of ANO’s parliamentary club, told journalists on Tuesday.

Mr. Semín, heads the ultra-conservative movement Akce DOST and has been accused of anti-Semitic statements by the Federation of Jewish Communities. The Social Democrats, who are currently in government, said they would be willing to leave the current coalition if he were to receive ANO’s support.

Some ANO deputies are thought to have voted for Mr. Semín in the initial round of voting, due to the fact he received the most votes of all candidates. The second round of elections is expected to take place in July.

Opposition plans no confidence vote for next week

Czech opposition parties say they have enough signatures to call a no-confidence vote against the current government, the leader of the largest parliamentary opposition party, Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats, said at a press conference on Tuesday. The vote is expected to be scheduled for some time next week. The reason for the vote is a preliminary EU audit last month found Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to be in a conflict of interest and suggested the Czech Republic return hundreds of millions of crowns in EU funds. Mr. Fiala stated that the prime minister has been damaging the Czech Republic’s reputation abroad.

Czech appeals court upholds Walderode family claim to assets worth CZK 3 bn

A district court in Hradec Králové on Tuesday acknowledged the right of the family of aristocrat Karel des Fours Walderode to property confiscated on the basis of the Beneš decrees in the post-war period.

Walderode’s widow Johanna Kammerlander has since 1992 been fighting to regain control of family assets in north Bohemia valued at around 3 billion crowns. Following the district court ruling, upholding a preliminary decision of 2017, hearings could take place regarding around 1,400 individual properties.

Due to his German nationality, des Fours Walderode lost his property in 1946 under the Beneš decrees. The family had their Czechoslovak citizenship returned the following year, but the Communists took power before the assets could be returned. After emigrating in 1948, he again lost his citizenship.

State dignitaries honour memory of paratroopers who killed Heydrich 77 years ago

State dignitaries as well as war veterans and hundreds of members of the public gathered at Prague’s Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius on Tuesday. They were marking the 77th anniversary of the heroic last stand of seven paratroopers, who were involved in the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the governor of the occupied Czech lands during WWII.

Speaking at the gathering, Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar said that it was important to remember such acts. Deputy Premier Jan Hamáček and the speaker of the lower house of Parliament Radek Vondráček laid wreaths at the memorial.

In a project which took place earlier in 2019, researches from the Military History Institure found two new areas within the church crypts that show where the paratroopers were trying to dig themselves out of their encirclement by Nazi troops.

Babiš to meet with EC President Juncker this week

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš will meet with the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Thursday, news website iRozhlas reports, citing the spokeswoman of the EC president, Mina Andreeva.

Two weeks ago, the Czech prime minister said he would personally bring up a preliminary EC audit, which found him in a conflict of interest, with Mr. Juncker and ask about its authors, whom he called “incompetent”.

However, Ms. Andreeva did not confirm the meeting would revolve around the audit’s findings, stating instead that the agenda was unspecified and that the two leaders would be preparing for the next European Council meeting.

Half of all Czech spruce trees at risk of beetle infestation this year

This year, up to half of the Czech Republic’s spruce tree population could be infested by bark beetles if the current crisis scenarios end up happening, Environment Minister Richard Brabec said at a meeting of Central Bohemian mayors on Tuesday. The spruce is the country’s most common tree, making up more than half of all woodland in the country. According to Mr. Brabec, 500,000 hectares of forest are now at risk.

The bark beetle has become a serious problem for Czech woodland in recent years, because of the increasingly hotter, dryer climate. Spruce trees are most at risk from bark beetles and the fact that they tend to be planted in large woodland monocultures makes the problem worse, experts say.

David Pastrňák named Czech hockey federation Player of the Year

David Pastrňák, a 23-year-old forward for the Boston Bruins, has been named Czech ice hockey Player of the Year for a third time in a row, in an annual poll.

Pastrňák narrowly edged out Tomáš Hertl of the San Jose Sharks in the poll. Placing third was Jakub Voráček of the Philadelphia Flyers, fourth was David Krejčí of the Boston Bruins, and in fifth Michael Frolík of the Calgary Flames.

In 2017 Pastrňák was the youngest ever recipient of the Golden Hockey Stick award, now in its 51st edition. Jaromír Jágr has won the award the most times of any player, with 12 to his name.

Former Prague 1 mayor, other officials face corruption charges over sale of city flats

Criminal charges of corruption have been filed against more than 30 people, mainly Prague 1 officials, over the sale of city-owned flats at below market rates, the news server ListZprávy.cz reported on Tuesday.

Among the accused are former Prague 1 district mayor Oldřich Lomecký and his then deputy Daniel Hodek, who are alleged to have voted to sell off apartments cheaply for personal gain, the news server writes.

According to an expert opinion commissioned by the police, more than 20 city flats were sold below the market price, resulting in lost revenues of some 40 million crowns.

Weather

This week's ongoing spell of sunny weather is expected to end on Wednesday with the onset of rain and occasional storms across much of the country. Temperatures will remain the same hovering around 28 degrees.

18-06-2019