The White House has officially confirmed the visit of Czech Prime Minister
Andrej Babiš to Washington. President Donald Trump and his wife Melania
will receive Mr Babiš in the White House on March 7.
The invitation came on the first day of a visit to Washington by Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Tomáš Petříček, who is due to discuss bilateral and global issues with the U.S. secretaries of state and defence, and President Trump’s national security advisor.
Cybersecurity issues – not least concerning those the Trump Administration says are presented by using products of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and allowing implementing 5G infrastructure – are high on the Czech agenda.
Billionaire Daniel Křetínský’s Czech Media Invest (CMI) has sold the
Polish radio station group Eurozet it bought last year from French concern
Lagardère in a move that has angered Poland’s ruling Law and Justice
PiS called the sale of Eurozet a threat to the pluralism of Polish media amid reports that one of the buyers, the Czech company SFS Ventures, is linked to or funded by Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, who supports Polish opposition media.
SFS Ventures bought a 60 percent share. Polish media group Agora, whose assets include the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, bought the remaining 40 percent share in Eurozet. The majority owner of SFS Ventures is Sourcefabric Ventures, a leading developer of open source tools for news media.
The Czech Republic will require all beef imported from Poland to undergo
special inspections as of on Thursday following the discovery of some 700
kg of meat containing traces of the Salmonella bacteria.
Authorities are now working to determine whether any infected meat has been sold to consumers. Five shipments destined for domestic consumption were found at Frost Logistics in Central Bohemia. A sixth was to be shipped to Slovakia.
Salmonella causes acute intestinal infection. Symptoms include fever, aching muscles and nausea.
Pirate Party caucus head Jakub Michálek has proposed legalising
prostitution. He said doing so would reduce health and safety risks for sex
workers while fighting the grey economy.
Currently, the Czech Republic neither fully recognises nor explicitly bans prostitution. The Communists and Christian Democrats are likely to oppose the move, Mr Michálek said. But he is convinced it can move forward with the support of other parties.
An estimated 13,000 female prostitutes work in the Czech Republic, according to data released this month by the NGO Rozkoš bez rizika, which provides counselling for sex-workers. About half are single mothers, it said.
Foreign film crews spent more than 1,000 days shooting at Czech locations
and studios last year, spending 5 billion crowns, the Czech Film Commission
says in its annual report. Series accounted for about two-thirds of overall
The Czech Republic in 2016 tweaked its incentives scheme to attract more foreign producers. It now offers a 20 percent rebate on qualifying Czech spend and up to a 10 percent rebate on qualifying international spend.
The Commission said that 2018 was one of the strongest years in terms of the number of foreign projects filmed here and amount spent. In total, 40 foreign TV series and films were shot.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) visited the Yad Vashem Memorial to
victims of the Holocaust in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the second day of his
ongoing visit to Israel.
He is also due to visit a lookout tower designed by Czech architect Martin Rajniš and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Tel Aviv, following a working lunch with entrepreneurs and scientists.
On Tuesday, Mr Babiš met his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu. On his agenda were bilateral trade, cybersecurity and water resource management issues.
The percentage of university graduates has been steadily rising in the
Czech Republic, especially among women.
By the age of 35, approximately 40 percent of women and 27 percent of men have earned a university degree.
Only among senior citizens do more men than women have higher education, the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ) said.
The average monthly salary in the Czech automotive industry rose by 8.7
percent last year to 40,865 crowns, or 31 percent above the national
The number of employees in the sector increased by 3.8 percent to 133,000, according to the Automobile Industry Association (AutoSAP).
Production of passenger cars in the Czech Republic increased by 1.7 percent last year to a record of 1.437 million cars. It has grown for five years in a row.
Farmers have applied for a total of 2.25 billion crowns in compensation for
last year’s severe drought, the State Agricultural Intervention Fund
(SZIF) said in a press release. The state has thus far earmarked 2 billion
crowns for this purpose.
The government announced in February a new water management plan aimed at preventing drought from becoming a recurring long-term problem.
Minister of Environment Richard Brabec (ANO) noted that municipalities needed external drinking water supplies in February, an unheard of situation signalling the days of “water prosperity” are over.
The upper house of Parliament is likely to reject a proposal to tax
financial compensation awarded to churches in lieu of property that could
not be returned in restitution.
The body’s constitutional and legal committee has recommended that Senators veto the proposal. The full Senate is due to discuss the draft, proposed by the Communists, next Wednesday.
The Communists have conditioned their tolerance of the minority government on its passing. Critics say the tax is unconstitutional.