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V4 premiers meeting in Prague to discuss European Summit

Prime Ministers of the central European countries comprising the Visegrad Four are in Prague on Friday to discuss Sunday’s extraordinary European Council on Sunday, in Brussels.

Czech PM Andrej Babiš (ANO) said he and his counterparts from Slovakia, Poland and Hungary are particularly concerned as to who the next heads of the European Council, EU Commission, and central bank will be.

Earlier this week, Babiš said it was important that none of the so-called “spitzenkandidats” – leaders of the parties in the European Parliament that did best in elections in May – received majority support.

He argues Jean-Claude Juncker’s successor should not comment on political matters but rather focus on implementing European Council conclusions.

Sunday’s extraordinary meeting in Brussels comes just two days before the constituent meeting of the newly elected European Parliament.

Babiš, Zeman and Hamáček to meet Tuesday over replacing embattled culture minister

President Miloš Zeman is due to discuss naming a new Minister of Culture on Tuesday with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) and Social Democrat Party leader Jan Hamáček.

The current minister, Antonín Staněk, had announced in late May he would step down. He did so under pressure following protests among cultural official and figures.

They had objected to Staněk sacking the heads of the National Gallery in Prague and Museum of Art in Olomouc – without giving a proper explanation for his decision.

Thus far, President Zeman has refused to accept Staněk’s resignation and to appoint the Social Democrats’ candidate, Michal Šmarda.

The president argues Staněk should not be punished for revealing alleged economic malpractice at the Ministry of Culture.

21 tons of salmonella-infected Polish poultry found in Czechia in past month

Czech authorities said on Friday they had detected 14 cases of salmonella-infected poultry from Poland in the past month.

In total, some 21 tons of infected meat were discovered. This includes two cases of Czech-produced meat.

Earlier this year bad Polish beef ended up in 11 countries, including the Czech Republic. In response, authorities here implemented blanket checks on imported Polish beef.

The mandatory controls ended in late March, after Warsaw guaranteed no cattle meat unfit for human consumption would reach the market.

Attempted theft of cables restricts operation of Prague trains

Trains in Prague were operating on a limited schedule on Friday morning following a breakdown of the signalling system.

The Railway Infrastructure Administration said someone had tried to steal cables connected to the system, damaging them in the process.

Trains to and from the Smíchov station were most effected. Some were not operating at all while others faced long delays.

Czech GDP up 2.8 pct in 1Q, driven by external demand, household consumption

The Czech economy grew 2.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, revised data published by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday show.

External demand and household consumption were the main GDP growth factors in the first quarter.

The Czech economy is likely to decelerate from 3 percent last year towards 2.5 percent in 2019 amid weaker foreign demand, analysts say.

Czech household debt at banks rises to CZK 1.684 billion

Czech households' debts to banks and credit unions rose by 10.6 billion crowns to almost 1.684 billion in May, data published by the central bank on Friday show.

In annual terms, debts rose by 106.6 billion crowns. Housing loans account for about three quarters of household debt.

Debts of non-financial corporations rose by more than 3.1 billion to 1.117 billion crowns in May, up 53.6 billion in annual terms.

Plíšková through to semi-final at Eastbourne

Czech tennis player Karolína Plíšková has reached the semi-final of a Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Eastbourne for the third time in her career. The 2017 champion and former World No. 1 needed just 54 minutes to dismiss Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia 6-2, 6-0.

Plíšková will face Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands for a spot in the final.

Weather outlook

Saturday is set to hot and sunny, with average daytime highs of between 27 to 30 degrees Celsius. Sunday should be a real scorcher, with highs of 36 degrees Celsius and no cloud cover.