Demonstrations against Prime Minister Andrej Babiš took place in Prague,
Brno and over a dozen other towns and cities in the country on Monday
Several thousand people gathered on Wenceslas Square to call for Babiš’ resignation and protest against the fact that a politician who faces criminal charges has been tasked with forming a government.
The Slovak-born prime minister, who is trying to form a new coalition after his present government failed to win a confidence vote in January, has also fought in vain to be cleared of a charge of having cooperated with the communist-era secret police.
The organizers of the protest say they aim to collect a million signatures under a petition against Babiš heading the Czech government.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has criticized the slow pace of digitalization
in state administration, saying that the task had been neglected by past
governments and a major effort was needed to press ahead with it.
Speaking at a conference on digitalization in Hradec Kralové, Mr. Babiš said his government considered digitalization one of its top priorities and something that would significantly improve the lives of Czech citizens.
The two-day conference is attended by over 2,000 experts on reform of the public sector and e-government. One of the main topics discussed on Monday was data protection and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
The Czech foreign trade surplus dropped in February year-on-year by 2.9
billion to 18 billion crowns, according to the Czech Statistics Office.
Exports dropped by 1.2 percent year-on-year and imports were down 0.2 percent.
The fall is attributed primarily to a drop in car exports and electronics. The German economy has followed a similar trend.
The Prague-based Institute of Health Information and Data has released
figures documenting a
drop in the number of Czechs hospitalized with health problems linked to
smoking as a result of the anti-smoking bill introduced in May of last
The comparative study covers the period between June and November of 2016 and 2017 when smoking in pubs and restaurants was strictly banned.
According to the data released there were 13.1 percent fewer heart attacks and 16 percent less patients hospitalized with heart problems over that period in 2017. There were 7,200 fewer people hospitalized altogether.
The lower house is due to start debating a proposal to soften the strict ban on smoking at its session on Tuesday.
Seventy-six thousand volunteers joined in the “Let’s Clean Up Czech
Republic“ project at the weekend, collecting over 1,000 tons of garbage
around the country.
The project has been hugely successful in mobilising volunteers from different age groups and backgrounds and helping to develop ecological and social responsibility.
The organizers say 65 local follow-up events have been organized in the coming weeks.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who suffered a setback in his efforts to form
a new government last week, has said he would respect it if someone else
from his ANO party were commissioned with the task.
In an interview for the daily Lidové noviny, Mr. Babiš said that the decision was now in the hands of the president, but he trusted that Mr. Zeman would keep his word and give him until the end of June to try to form a new government.
The Social Democrats walked out of the talks on forming a minority government with ANO late last week due to a disagreement over a division of posts in the government and the fact that in Andrej Babiš the country would have a prime minister charged with EU subsidy fraud.
ANO, the Social Democrats and the Communists, who had negotiated to support the new government, have all requested to meet with the president.
Viktoria Plzeň have seen their lead in Czech football’s top flight
shrink after an embarrassing defeat to Bohemians 1905. The West Bohemians
went down 5:2 to the Prague side in the capital on Sunday, a result that
leaves them just seven points clear of second-placed Slavia Prague, who had
earlier beaten Brno 1:0.
Plzeň had appeared to have the title sown up going into the winter break after opening up a large gap at the top. However, since then they have only one game in seven outings. There are seven rounds remaining.
The renowned horror director Juraj Herz died on Sunday at the age of 83,
the Czech News Agency reported. The Slovak-born director, who moved to
Prague in the late 1950s, was perhaps best-known for 1968’s The Cremator,
a macabre, internationally acclaimed cult film based on a novel by Ladislav
Herz’s Petrol Lamps was entered in the Cannes film festival in 1972 and other important titles in his filmography include Morgiana and Ferat Vampire. His last movie was Habermann in 2010.
A major agricultural machinery trade fair got underway in Brno in Sunday.
Techagro is the third biggest event of its kind in Europe and is held every
two years. The current edition features 720 companies from 37 countries.
Organisers say they expect over 100,000 visitors for the trade fair, which continues until Thursday.
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