The Czech government on Monday recognised Juan Guaido as interim president
of Venezuela. The move was announced by the minister of the interior, Jan
Hamáček, who said it had come in response to a proposal from the
country’s foreign minister, Tomáš Petříček.
A number of other European Union states also recognised Mr. Guaido on Monday.
Mr. Guaido declared himself president last month and was recognised by the US and a number of Latin American states. Russia and China back President Nicolas Maduro.
Petra Kvitová is due to give evidence on Tuesday in the trial of a man accused of causing her serious injury. The world tennis number two was attacked in her home in December 2016 and suffered severe injuries to her main playing hand. The alleged perpetrator, 33-year-old Radim Žondra, faces up to 12 years in jail if found guilty. Kvitová has requested that she be allowed to give evidence outside the courtroom, so as not to have to face her suspected assailant. It is not clear when a verdict will be delivered in the case.
The Czech authorities plan to introduce controls on the border with Poland
to ensure bad meat does not enter this country, Novinky.cz reported. The
minister of the interior, Jan Hamáček, told the news site that the police
would carry out checks on Polish trucks in coordination with veterinary
Around 300 kilogrammes of bad Polish beef is known to have been imported into the Czech Republic, despite officials from both countries saying none had crossed their shared border. Several EU states imported beef from a Polish abattoir accused of handing sick cows.
Plzeň state attorney Libor Řeřich was beaten up on the street on Friday
evening, Právo reported. Mr. Řeřich, who is 58, suffered injuries in the
attack and was taken to hospital by ambulance. His alleged assailant was
arrested by the police and was remanded in custody on Monday morning.
The motive for the attack is not clear but a witness told Právo that the perpetrator had referred to Mr. Řeřich’s position.
Forecasters say the western half of the Czech Republic will be hit by
extremely low temperatures on Monday night. They have issued a warning that
temperatures could fall to between -12 and -15 degrees Celsius in six
regions between 10 pm and 8 am on Tuesday.
Small children, the ill and the elderly should stay indoors and those who do venture out have been advised to wrap up well.
Czech Railways increased fares on the country’s busiest routes by tens of
crowns at the beginning of this month, the Czech News Agency reported on
Monday. Fares were also reduced on routes with relatively few passengers,
under an expansion of a dynamic pricing scheme that responds to occupancy
Czech Railways introduced flexible pricing linked to current demand on some lines last year. It is now in place on most long-distance routes.
The Guardian has devoted attention to what it calls the breakthrough
verdict of the Černošice council on the Czech prime minister’s alleged
conflict of interests.
The Guardian notes that the Černošice council is the first Czech institution to declare that the Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, still controls the giant multi-industry group Agrofert, even though he put the conglomerate into trust funds to meet a strict new conflict of interest law.
The daily notes that the verdict, issued on January 21st, could have wider resonance by influencing the outcome of the European Commission’s investigation into Agrofert’s receipt of EU subsidies in recent years. The prime minister has responded with anger to the Černošice ruling, which he described as “politicised” and vowed to challenge it.
The Czech branch of the international watchdog Transparency International filed a complaint both with the European Commission and the Černošice council - a small municipality just outside Prague where Babiš lives - because Czech law states that conflict of interest complaints must be registered with the relevant local authority.
Clean-up operations continue in many parts of the country following heavy
snow-fall over the weekend.
The situation is reported to be worst in Kladno, west of Prague, which declared a state of emergency on Sunday and the Usti and Olomouc regions which saw fresh snow overnight.
Maintenance crews have been out in force to clear up second and third class roads in southern Bohemia which saw 30 cm of fresh snow at the weekend. Fallen trees blocked roads and rail tracks disrupting traffic.
The eastern part of the country is expected to see more snow on Monday.
The government is preparing more significant income tax cuts than
previously planned to make up for the fact that the planned abolition of
the so-called “super-gross” tax wage has been postponed until 2021.
Under a tax reform bill being drafted by the Finance Ministry the income tax Czechs pay could drop from the present 20 to under 19 percent. Finance Minister Alena Schillerova told Czech Television she wanted to link the proposed tax changes with changes to the health insurance system.
On the other hand, the prime minister has stressed the need to cut expenditures in public administration and has requested ministers from his own party to outline their cost-saving plans.
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Screenshot: a hybrid English-friendly Prague art-house cinema where screenings are events